Preparing For Performance

backstage dancer


Winter break is over and it is late February. This is the time that we dance teachers focus on what is going to be presented on that stage this Spring. Call it Revue, Recital or Dance Concert. It is all the same. Those beautiful dancers that you have been preparing with all that dance technique are going to show what you have taught them. …..And this is what we teachers have going through our heads this time of year.

The most essential thought that goes through my mind is, “Did I give them enough technique to make their stage presence meet my expectations?” Will they give it all they have on that big stage?” “Will they entertain the audience?”

But what is going through a dance student’s head? What are their concerns? When you come down to it, preparedness is not only what is taught in the classroom. The technique learned and choreography remembered is the most important part, but are they ready for the stage otherwise. The next few posts will be on preparing for your performance, not only techniquewise but the other essentials that bring you to that big stage……

Today’s post will be about what to bring the day of the show and how to get those important things ready to take. I like to think about preparing for that big day on the stage like preparing to go to the hospital to have a baby! Well sort of…..

Start preparing a Tote bucket with a lid, to take to the theatre with you every time you perform. This bucket, which I simply call a Dance Bucket, should be always ready. Whether it is for the Revue/Recital/Concert, competition, or just a talent show at your school. A tote bucket is perfect to store all those essentials, for a dancer who is always ready. It will keep you stress free when you need to think of other things, like your choreography. When not in performance season it can be stored away, with all your performance needs inside and ready at a moment’s notice.

Your Dance Bucket, should include hair accessories….. among them; a brush, comb, hair elastics, bobby pins, hair pins, clips and hairnets. Also, hair spray and hair gel products to slick the hair back and otherwise hold it in shape. Stray and loose hairs are sloppy on a dancer who is performing. Hair should be totally confined to the scalp, and without these items, that cannot be done. Start to “feed” your Dance Bucket with these things now so you can forget about them.

Other handy items for your Dance Bucket are safety pins, a needle and several spools of thread in different colors. You never know when your costume needs repair or just a slight “lift”. Or even the elastic or ribbons on your ballet/pointe shoes may need to be re-sewed on. In an emergency you don’t want to go running around the dressing room searching for these items.

In terms of costuming, you should have at least two sets of each color tights that are required for your costumes. A perfect pair to wear for performance AND your back-up pair in case of unexpected events such as a snag, hole or run, and/or dirt or smudges. Also included with performance wear, is your body liner and dance bra. Are they in good shape? Do they fit you properly? Now is the time to make sure that they do. Check them, and order new ones now if necessary. When you get them, just throw them in your Dance Bucket for that needed day.

Do you have a pair of dance shoes for performance? Are the ones you are wearing going to make it to May or June? For beginner dancers, new shoes on performance day is no big deal, but for an intermediate or advanced dancer, they would want to have a pair of ballet/pointe shoes that are “broken in” but yet presentable for performance. Dancers who are on Pointe sometimes “pancake” their pointe shoes. This practice is done to cover any blemishes on comfortable “broken in” pointe shoes. Pancake make-up, foundation, is applied to the pointe shoes and ribbons for not only covering blemishes on the shoes but also to keep them from being shiny under the stage lights. The softness of the pancake make up also hides the audience’s eye from picking up flaws in the feet. It keeps the feet from being eye catching. The color of foundation should be a close match to your pink tights. This color is for your teacher to decide. So, the next items to be placed in your bucket is performance shoes and if needed your foundation/pancake makeup for your pointe shoes.

Some other popular Dance Bucket items may include – BandAids and antiseptic ointments, bandages and first aid tape, nail clipper, deodorant, tissues, and a hand towel. Younger dancers may want to have something to do or read in the dressing room. Favorite books or a favorite stuffed toy are good suggestions. Card games, like Go Fish or Old Maid will pass the time for young dancers who are only in 1 or 2 dances. Avoid bringing expensive video games and the like, to the stage. These items will only stress you more to keep track of them.

Preparedness is just that….and now is the time to begin……


2 thoughts on “Preparing For Performance

  1. I agree with this one hundred percent and I always have one on hand. I never leave home for dance revue or competition without it. That is what every dance mom should have

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