As we approach recital season we are all busy putting the finishing touches on dances and preparing new students for their first performance. We love to do a 5-week countdown to help clean dances and get your dancers excited. We have created a chart that we display on the mirrors and every class gets to add a stick or a stamp beside their name when we complete each week.
This is such a tradition at our studio that the older kids still love having the 5-week countdown chart. A few years ago I asked the teens if we could go without the sticker chart in their class and the appalled expressions told me that they still get excited about doing their chart!
Week 1: I know my dance!
This week we focus on making sure we can remember our routines. This can sometimes be a challenge for the younger ones. It is a great time to stop demonstrating the dances and let them stumble their way through it on their own. You can perform the dances in small groups, have the dancers perform it one at a time, or perform to the back of the room for an added challenge.
Week 2: Fabulous Feet!
This week we focus on cleaning up our footwork. This is an important week for tap classes but is a great week for other classes as well. Are you making clear sounds? Are you pointing your toes? Is that leg straight or in attitude? I love to start stop and go rehearsals at this point. I start the music and we stop when I see something we need to fix. We spend time correcting the issue and then we start from the top. Hopefully, by the end of the class you will make it from the beginning to the end without stopping the music.
Week 3: Awesome Arms!
It is time to clean our arm positions and port de bras. This is the week that we pay close attention to what our upper body is doing. With younger students it can seem overwhelming trying to remember all the different aspects of their performance. Breaking up the focus each week helps them channel their attention a little more.
Week 4: Super Smile!
or Fantastic Facials if you are cleaning a more serious dance. This week is a fun week to invite other classes in to watch so we can start preparing to perform for an audience. Classes get so excited to see what everyone else is working on and a great way to build camaraderie among your dancers. If you only have one studio you could invite parents in to watch at the end or tell the dancers to bring in their favorite doll or stuffed animal this week to be their audience member (be sure to have extra on hand in case someone forgets to bring theirs). You could gear your whole class around teaching their doll/stuffed animal how to dance.
Week 5: Star Performance!
This week we put it all together and focus on creating a great performance. With younger classes I like to spend time talking about being a good audience member because in the wing we want to be good audience members. I let each student perform their favorite dance move for the class as we all practice being good audience members: no talking, hands to ourselves, clapping at the end of the performance, etc.
This is also the week to go over any other important details.
What do you do if your hairpiece falls off on stage? Leave it
Do we eat in our costumes? No!
What happens if you fall down on stage? Hop up and keep going.
What is the most thing at recital? HAVE FUN!
Here is a fun 5-week countdown chart for you to use in your studio!