Congratulations! You’ve signed your kiddo(s) up for the next Dance & Company Summer Production! I bet you’re really excited. And you should be. It’s a fun time, for the kids, the entire family and you. I remember my daughter’s first performance like it was yesterday. It was such a proud moment to see my little girl soaking up the stage in her purple and white tutu, shiny tap shoes, updo and makeup – yes, makeup! Let me be the first to tell you, although it was fun, there were times I was a little flustered. After all it was my first show. Now, having been in three productions, I’m no expert, but I do have some knowledge to drop from one parent to another.
Here are 11 tips learned from experience to help you and your families get to production day as smoothly as possible.
- Attend class regularly. This is a no-brainer, but it’s worth mentioning. The kids are learning choreography, some for the first time ever. It’s important they attend class regularly so they gain some muscle memory to become familiar and more importantly comfortable with the dance moves they’ll be sharing on stage. I recommend saving your absences for emergencies.
- Plug in important dates. Saving the dates from the moment I saw them in the registration packet and posted in the studio was my saving grace. Just make sure you enter them correctly! There is a lot of information to remember; special events and deadlines are much easier to make when they’re written down somewhere on a family calendar or better yet, in your smart phone – with reminders set. Make sure you pay attention to the schedules for Picture Day, Tech Rehearsal, Dress Rehearsal and of course the day of the performance.
- Purchase tickets right when they go on sale. Tickets go on sale around April. If it’s your first go around, you’ll want to get the best seats in the house. Although, to be quite honest, every seat in the Poway Performing Arts Center is a good seat. Anyway, you know what I mean, you want front and center! There are two performances so be sure to pay attention to which one your dancer is performing in. If you’re inviting your family and friends, but haven’t received a firm yay or nay if they’ll be attending, just get your tickets. It’s simple to provide them the link to online ticket sales. Even if you don’t sit together during the show, you can always meet them right after. Focus on making this a special experience for your performer.
- Try on costumes right when you get them. Make sure your dancer’s costume(s) fits. Dance & Company staff works really hard to measure each student and to make sure to find the best fit, but if you think you’ll need a different size, let the staff know RIGHT AWAY! Also, if you find any tears or snags, let the staff know. They’re great about helping with this kind of stuff. Two bonus tips regarding costumes 1) For tutus, hang them upside down to preserve their fullness (you can even spray with starch or a little bit of hairspray); 2) keep them covered and safe.
- Volunteer. I volunteered for our first performance, mainly because I was worried about my daughter getting cold feet or being around a big crowd of unfamiliar faces. The truth is, there was nothing to be worried about, but I am glad I volunteered. It’s nice to see the kids backstage. They’re so brave, so proud and so excited to perform. It’s also another way to get acquainted with other moms and dancers. Sign up early, because I believe spots fill quickly.
- Buy an extra pair of tights. Miss Katie always gives us an option to purchase an extra pair of tights, and I always take her up on the offer. You can never have too many tights on hand. Besides, it’s nice to have a fresh pair as a backup for production. There will always be a use for them. Once the show is over, they can be worn for class!
- Make sure shoes are a good fit. You’re not required to purchase new shoes for the production unless they look completely worn out or they no longer fit. About a month or two before production check your dancer’s shoes and make sure they have enough wiggle room. If you feel they might to break in a new pair, now would be a time to buy them.
- Test makeup and hair dos before picture day. There’s that talk about makeup again! And yes, it is necessary for photos and production unless you want your kiddo(s) to look washed out by the bright lights. It doesn’t have to be a ton, just enough to give them some color. Blush and red lipstick are preferred, but each number will have instructions for what is expected for hair and makeup (released during costume distribution).
If you’re worried about putting makeup on a small child – you are not alone. It’s not easy. I found that practice helps, but when in doubt, have another mom do it. On a serious note, go with your child and pick out a small kit for special occasions such as this. There’s no need to spend a lot of money, drug store quality is just fine. If you’re a wiz with hair, I commend you. If you’re like me, you might have to think ahead and hire a friend to do updos for all events. I think one year, the basic bun saved me. It wasn’t perfect, but it was done.
When wearing makeup and a costume, but you’re not quite ready for your photo op, cover it up with a buttoned up shirt to keep it from getting soiled.
One last thing about makeup and hair, just try it out before picture day and maybe play with it until production. That way you’ll know what to expect. And if you are having a tough time, don’t hesitate to ask for help! You aren’t alone. There are plenty of parents and D&Co staff that are willing and happy to help.
- Buy the DVD. Pay for this baby ahead of time. You can forget about it and then get hit with a nice surprise a few weeks after the show. Plus, you save a few bucks by buying ahead. Make sure you purchase the DVD of the show that your dancer is performing in. If they are performing in both shows, there’s a discount if you purchase both DVD’s.
- Be on time to all events. Picture Day, Tech/Dress rehearsals and most importantly, the Production. There are a lot of performers in the production, and being on time helps everyone get through rehearsals faster and makes everything run smoothly. Be respectful of everyone’s time and arrive at least 30 minutes before your call time, if possible.
- Invite all your friends and family. Your kids have worked so hard to put on an amazing production — why not share it with those you love! The more, the merrier. And your performer will be happy to see how much support they received.
Overall, the key to enjoying this exciting chapter in your child’s life the most is to simply plan ahead. Set expectations for yourself, your performer and the rest of your family. That way, it won’t feel overwhelming or as if there’s always something new to have to remember. One thing I love about Dance & Company is that they provide as much information up front as possible, taking a lot of the guesswork out so we can plan ahead. As overwhelming as it may sound upfront, the only real addition to their weekly classes is Picture Day, and then that week leading up to the Production. If your kids have combined rehearsals scheduled to practice with another class, these will be published in May and will take place in June, so keep an eye out for those.
Good luck and congratulations. We can’t wait to see all the beautiful dancers on stage this summer. For our more seasoned families, what are some other tips you could add? Leave a comment below.
Angela Quisumbing is a dance mom of two! She is the founder and editor of The Pinky Project, a local community family and lifestyle blog where she shares her adventures in parenting. Her kids are in Bopin’ Tots and the ballet jazz combo. She hopes to join them in taking classes soon!