How to Prepare Your Dance Studio Parents for a Happy Recital

We all know that our recital is the grand finale of our dance year. It’s the championship game of dance. And it’s complicated. Maybe not to you as a dance studio owner or dance teacher. You have done at least one recital per year since you were three years old and have now seen the show at every stage and from every angle. However, as recital planners, we need to put ourselves in the place of the dance studio parents.

Many of your dance studio parents have never been involved in dance. Many have likely never seen a dance recital. They have no point of reference about what to expect, or what is expected of them. It is essential to take time to communicate every aspect of the recital and all that leads up to it clearly with all of your dance studio parents, as well as create a safe and organized environment at your rehearsals and performances, if you want to have a happy recital.

Clear Communication

Lay out some clear communication about your recital starting at the very beginning of your dance season or year. Make the date known to your studio families, even if you only have a tentative date. Publish the date on your website, studio calendar, printed materials like class schedules, student waiver, and newsletters.

When prospective studio parents inquire with your dance studio, let them know if their child’s class will be performing in the recital, when the recital is, and what it will mean for their child. Will they do one dance or more? How much of their class time will be dedicated to preparing for the performance? Are there performance and/ costume fees involved? Is performing required? All these questions can be covered in a quick conversation. Any additional fees that will be collected should always be made clear up front at the time of enrollment.

Recital Bible

At least 8 weeks before your show date, you should provide your dance studio families a clear and concise recital information guide with every detail together in one place. At my studio, we refer to it as the recital bible. It contains show and dress rehearsal dates and times, information about how and when to check your students in at the venue, location of the venue, who is allowed in dressing rooms, picture day details, exactly what is expected for hair and makeup, how to order tickets and other recital merch, audience etiquette policies, and on and on. (Check out this complete Recital Bible Template in our store)

Once your recital bible is ready, proofread, proofread, proofread. Mistakes always seem to sneak in there, but make sure that you check and double check dates, times, address of venue, prices, etc. Then have at least 2 other people proofread as well.

When your recital bible is ready to send out, email it to all of your performance families, post a link to it on your website, then email it one more time the next week with a subject line, “Incase you missed it”.

Pre-Recital Phone Calls

One or two weeks after you publish your recital bible, get some staff members or volunteers to help you call every single family with a performing student. Ask them if they received the recital bible, if they have any questions about it, if they would like to put in an order for tickets or merchandise with you while they have you on the phone. (Note: this call can be a twofer as you can also use it to ask if they need help getting signed up for the coming season if they haven’t already enrolled.)

At the Venue

This is where rookie and experienced dance parents alike can really get stressed out and pass their stress on to you and your staff. Make everything as organized, calm and easy for your families as you can. Have signage outside directing them to the door that they need to enter through. Have a staff person or volunteer located at that door to greet them, check them in, direct them where to go, and answer questions. Have clear signage inside the venue to direct parents and students to their dressing rooms.

Dressing Room Safety

Dropping off your child at the dressing room can be a very scary thing for your studio parents. Make sure that you have created an environment that is safe and calm. Make sure that you have communicated to your studio parents what safety measures you have put in place. What is the student to adult ratio? Who are the adults in the dressing room and how were they vetted? Who will be helping with costume changes? What activities will the students be doing while they are waiting in the dressing room?

Make sure that you train the adults that will be in the dressing rooms thoroughly, whether they are staff or volunteers, on exactly what is expected of them and give them resources to keep the dressing rooms quiet, calm and orderly. Make sure that students that are waiting are engaged in age appropriate activities that will keep them occupied and safe.

A Beautiful Show

No matter where you are in your dance studio journey, put on the most beautiful show that you can. Whether you are in a rural church basement or a metropolitan performing arts megaplex, make it your best recital ever. Show your dance studio families that it’s important to you to provide a beautiful performance opportunity for your students. Use the resources that are available to you to provide as much production quality as you can, and figure out each year how to make it a little better.

Recital Planning Resources

Take time to educate yourself about recital planning and production. Check out the book, Standby In The Wings at

Get help laying out a plan for your recital with small action steps all year, so that you don’t get overwhelmed or let anything fall through the cracks at

Have a happy recital every year.

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