12 Steps To Having A Great Recital And/Or Performance

Have you ever been stressed out backstage watching everyone running back and forth getting ready for their next dance? Do you wish you could be more prepared so you could perform your dance with ease? Throughout my many years of dance recitals and performances, I have found some important steps to take to ensure I, and now you, can have a great recital or performance.

Ask your teacher(s) about costumes.

At the beginning or end of class ask your teacher for clarifications on your costume for that class. It would also be good if the whole class is there so everyone is on the same page. I have even known a couple teachers to not even know this information until the last minute. This way, everyone knows what costume accessories, hairstyle, and makeup you are doing for that dance. 

Bring a cover-up.

If you get hungry or want a drink, have something to wear over your costume (like a bathrobe or a big, button-up, long-sleeve shirt) so if you spill something, your costume is still in great condition.

Double check before you leave.

Make sure you have all your dance shoes, tights, costumes, accessories, bobby pins, hairspray, makeup, and anything else you need for your dances.

Triple check before you leave.

I know I just said this, but I cannot stress it enough. The amount of times I have seen a dancer forget a pair of dance shoes, bring the wrong tights, or forget a costume accessory has been one too many.

Check the recital/performance sheet.

Typically found on the door of the dressing room, these sheets give you the order of dances. This way, you will know if any last minute changes were made and when each of your dances are happening.

How long is your quick change?

If you have more than one dance, figure out how much time you have to change between dances. As a good rule of thumb, most dances at recitals and performances are between 2:30 to 3:00 minutes long. Talk to your studio director or manager as to how many songs they believe is a “quick-change.”

How big is your quick change?

Are you just switching costumes and/or accessories? Do you have to change your makeup? Will you need to change your hair? Make sure you know how involved your quick change is to know how long it will take. Some places may have a place where you can put a quick change costume, which can be very useful if your quick change is 5 minutes or less.

Keep everything organized.

It would suck if you had 1-2 songs to quick change and all your stuff was disorganized. Make sure you know where all your costume pieces, hair accessories, bobby pins, hairspray, and dance shoes are so you’re not running back and forth changing between costumes.

Go over your dance.

If you get bored or you and your dance group need something to do, go over your dance. From all the performances I have seen, someone ends up forgetting choreography or forgetting formation. So make sure everyone in your group is on the same page for the dance. This would also be a great time to go over any last minute changes if someone was absent last rehearsal. 

Make sure everyone looks the same.

Everyone in your dance group should have on the same costume, accessories, tights, dance shoes, makeup and hair. If someone forgot an accessory, no one wears the accessory. If someone has the wrong hair and/or makeup, help them fix it. No one wants to look like the odd ball on stage.

Everyone is stressed out.

Everyone is just as stressed as you are. Okay, that was not very relaxing to hear, but it is true. Even if you have everything prepared, you will probably still be stressed. But it is nice to know everyone is in the same boat you are.


Take a deep breath and shake all the jitters out. If you mess up the choreography, keep smiling (or whatever facial expression you have for your dance), dancing, and play it off. All of your stuff is organized, you know your dances, and you are prepared to quick change. Have a fun recital and/or performance!

I hope these tips and tricks help you to have a less stressful performance or recital experience!

By A.J. (Intern)

Mar 10, 2021

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