Smile, Sparkle, Shine – It’s the Dance Recital Season!

by Danielle Hernandez on April 10, 2018

Expert Advice to stay sane, peaceful and prepared for the special day in your dance career

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams, Live the life you have imagined" - Henry David Thoreau

With dancing being a performing art, recitals are often considered to be the highlight of a dancer's experience each year. A recital is a time to celebrate a dancer's achievements, their hard work and passion all through the year culminating in one grand performance

As the dance recital season looms in the near future, this quote by the American essayist and poet Thoreau must be the prayer and encouragement on the lips of every dance mom. With all its frenzied preparation and anxiety causing moments, it is an incredible opportunity that harvests a variety of benefits for both the dancers and their families!

5 Benefits of Dance Recital Participation:

  1. Recitals Boost Confidence!

Participating in a recital or performance helps a dancer overcome shyness, fear, anxiety and stage fright. It gives a chance to showcase all of their hard work, dedication, and progress through the year. The result - a remarkable show that is applauded!

  1. Recitals Promote Teamwork!

When dancers work to put on group performance, they learn what teamwork is and how it contributes to a great result. Teamwork and camaraderie are skills needed not only in dance class, but also in school, future careers, and family life.

  1. Recitals Provide Goals!

 Dancers work long stretches of time, often weeks and months preparing for a recital. The end goal in mind, i.e., showing off their dancing prowess to family and friends gives them a tangible goal and the incentive to work hard.

  1. Recitals Build New Skills!

Recitals help build a host of skills - memorization skills, rhythm, technique, teamwork and many more. Students participating in their first recital especially stand to learn the basics of stage direction and associated terminology. 

  1. Recitals Create Memories!

Stepping on the stage for the very first time is a memory that never fades. Specially commissioned costumes become keepsakes and photographs with family members who attended, highlights from childhood.

Backstage Etiquette For Dance Recital Performers

Before we move to the often asked questions about what to wear and how to dress for a dance recital, here is a quick read through on backstage etiquette for dance recital performers. Amidst the tulle and the glitter, the anxiety and the excitement, performers need to adhere to rules set by your studio owners or teachers. These are designed to help the performance run smoothly for you and the others around you.

  1. Do not touch others costumes or props

Meddling with someone else's props or costume pieces could result in misplaced items or worse damaged items. If you would like to help, it is deemed best just to tell the person to whom it belongs or someone in authority. 

  1. Stay in your designated area

Staying in your designated area is vital for multiple reasons - it becomes easy for your teachers or organizers to track you, you don't miss on your entrances and of course for your safety as you are in a location where people know to look for you. 

  1. Bring something to do

While there is plenty of time that will go in getting ready for the recital itself, there are bound to be times when you may need to wait endlessly. To keep noise levels down, and to bust those anxiety related nerves, carry something that will engage you; books, art kits, or games where the volume can be turned off make for popular choices.

  1. Be responsible for yourself and your things

Being independent and responsible are skills a recital teaches you. Laying out your costumes well in advance, knowing how to dress, and knowing the schedule of events and the spot from where you will be making an entrance are basics that you can seek to learn.

  1. Retain your focus

Reserve your energy for your performance onstage and try not to get carried away by the stage fever and energy all around you. The post-recital party is the best time to let hair loose!

  1. Keep quiet in the wings

Sounds from the immediate backstage area can carry to the audience, disrupting the ongoing show on the stage. Refrain from talking or making any other noise and if essential, move away from the wings.

  1. Be responsible for you and you alone

Unless you are in charge of a person or group, do not get involved in bringing discipline or order among others. Bring it to the attention of a teacher or someone in authority to handle the situation. When you get distracted by what others are or are not doing, you could miss your cues, entrances, costume changes, etc.

  1. Stay warm, stay safe

If there is time between numbers, keep your body warm and limber by wearing leg warmers or a hoodie over your next costume. Also, be aware of your surrounding as you move around; for example, backstage areas could have debris such as wood or glass from the previous performance, and it's not advisable to be barefoot.

  1. Be conscious of sight lines

Be aware of sight lines and stay out of the audience's view. A good rule of thumb is that if you can see an audience member, they can see you.

  1. Don't argue

Be courteous and respectful toward those in authority, such as teachers, parents, and others who are helping backstage at a recital. Show the right attitude and try to be helpful by following instructions promptly.

Finally, do remember that everyone backstage at a performance wants the same thing – a great show that runs smoothly and is fun for the audience and participants!

Dance Recital Costumes

Costumes are a significant part of recitals! Every child enjoys dressing up and feeling special in an outfit chosen appropriately for the dance form.  Teachers choose music and costumes throughout the fall months for each class a child is enrolled in. In the weeks preceding the dance recital season, costumes are revealed, and there is a dress rehearsal.

The evolution of a dance recital costume

Costumes come in a varied range and designers are often involved in bringing the desired creation to life. Dazzling colors, lots of sequins, flattering cuts, trendy props all feature in dance recital costumes. Think about what materials will give the desired soft, ethereal look and what fabrics work best together. Consider color palettes that would provide the desired look (color and boldness to pop on stage).

Once the design is finalized it is given to a pattern maker who will create the sewing pattern. The material will then be ordered and a mock-up created- this will help the teacher or studio director to understand if it is feasible stage-worthy creation.

Factors like final cost of the product, based on the difficulty of the sewing required and amounts and costs of materials are usually the deciding factors based on which the design will be tweaked several times before final sign-off. Then the costumes will be sewn and brought to life by the young dancers at their recitals!

Read On For Some Trendy Costume Styles, Arranged By The Dance Form.

Hip-hop - Inspired by athletic and metallic fashion trends, the Hip Hop costume collection offers a wide range of styles from street fashion to chic runway-inspired costumes and separates.

Lyrical - These styles capture a dancers' movement, enhancing their ability to tell a story. The costumes offer intricate lace, various skirt lengths, and beautiful appliqué details.

Ballet - Recital wear includes fashion leotards and beautiful tutus with delicate details and classic designs, with styles and sizes to fit beginners and competitive ballerinas.

Recital costumes for Boys- Boys and men have wonderful options in the new age dance recital outfits. Colorful separates, sequined sleeveless shirts, shiny dance pants, cute bow ties and button-up shirts are some trendy recital outfit options. The choice of the outfit usually compliments a partner's look. 

In conclusion, dance costumes are fragile, so less movement and friction means more glitter on the costume than off the costume! Have a separate garment bag or area where the costume won't be continually brushing up against other articles of clothing.

Dance Recital Makeup

When preparing for a dance recital, there are hundreds of details that must be accomplished and nailing the perfect look goes beyond just the outfit and matching shoes. We are talking stage makeup, of course, and the concept of stage makeup is tricky and often counterintuitive to new performers.  With dancers being a significant distance away from the audience, keep these in mind and apply bold, eye-catching dance recital makeup!

  1. Clean Those Tools

For the best makeup effect, you need great tools and in their best condition. So wash your brushes, sponges and other tools at least a day before the recital, so your foundation, shadow, etc., comes out just perfectly.

  1. Use the 3-Step Eyeshadow Method

In any dance performance, eyes are the feature that speaks volumes. Using the three-eyeshadow method, you will achieve a spectacular effect and bring your dance alive.  These three products are usually used to achieve this look - a highlighter, your main color, and a dark complementary shade.

  1. Embolden Everyone's Brows

If you have light or sparse eyebrows, filling your eyebrows with a color that is close to your natural hair color will make for the perfect frames to those beautiful eyes from # 2. If there's one step that some performers forget about, it's filling in their brows. Use a slanted precision brush to carefully outline each brow with color or a sharp brow pencil.

  1. Don't be Afraid of Blush

A heavy coat of pink translates into a happy, radiant look on stage, so don't hold back the brush on blush! Start placing the brush on the apple of your cheek – smile to make the area more prominent – then sweep the color out and upward toward your temples.

  1. Blending is Your Best Friend

A cardinal rule of applying makeup is blending- whether you're applying foundation, eyeshadow, blush or lip color, the key to a great look is to blend until you achieve a uniform look that is not splotchy. Blending the colors in the eyeshadow, the lip liner into the lip color and the foundation, of course, will make you look more professional.

Dance Recital Accessories

Enhance your dance recital look by using a wide assortment of accessories. Shimmer tights, nylon tights, fishnet tights, sequin leggings complement fashion leotards. Crystal earrings and hair decorations, floral hairclips, rhinestone buncovers, short spandex gloves, rhinestone bobby pins make for beautiful additions to outfits. Props like hand fans, umbrellas, tiaras, star wands all add allure and beauty to the recital outfits. Boys have an array of options too; bow ties, sparkly t-shirts, top hats and flat caps are some of them. In addition, there are hair and body sprays that can really enliven the stage ready look. The sky is the limit when choosing from today's selection of dancewear accessories! Toting them in a functional yet cute cosmetic case and you will find what you need in an instant.

For all your dance moms out there, fret not. Read the tips below to ensure a calm, fruitful recital season and pack these handy items in a LARGE bag!

  • Baby wipes
  • Q-tips
  • Bobby pins in various sizes and the color of your child’s hair
  • Ponytail holders/Hair Elastics
  • Comb and brush
  • Hairspray
  • Bun making accessory
  • Foundation/base/powder
  • Baby Powder for itchy costume relief
  • Eyeshadow # 2 under dance recital makeup above
  • Mascara
  • Blush
  • Lipstick
  • Makeup brushes
  • Clear nail polish for mending snagged tights
  • Safety pins in a variety of sizes
  • Costume Notes
  • Costumes (in a costume/separate bag) and accessories
  • Recital schedule
  • Non-messy activities that will engage your child
  • Phone or camera to take pics (never during the actual recital itself!)
  • Recital gifts (they come in dance themes!) (carried separately to sustain the element of surprise!)
  • Shoes + dancing shoes

Dance Recital Nutrition

As the D day arrives, food choices for a dancer should be directed towards consuming wholesome nutrition. These are some of the dancers' favorite options for meals and ingredients:

Proteins: Baked salmon (or other fish filets, not breaded!), Grilled chicken breast and Steak

Carbohydrates: Rice (preferably brown), Roasted Italian Potato Salad

Vegetables: Steamed and buttered broccoli, sliced tomato, cucumber, avocado

Breakfast choices: Oatmeal with fruit, Plain Greek yogurt, Whole grain toast with peanut butter, Fruit smoothie

Snack choices: A banana with 1-2 tbsp peanut butter, Hardboiled egg or string cheese with 5-10 whole grain or rice crackers, pre-made bar or oats rolls with fruit, dates, nuts and/or whole grains, popcorn, pumpkin seeds, GF pretzels, and dried fruit trail mix

Energy drinks like Coconut water, dark chocolate almond milk or coconut milk get bonus points!


So the recital performance is done, the girls missed a few steps, or maybe their performance was flawless! However, it went, it is over. As the certificates or trophies or flowers are handed out, applaud wildly and enjoy the festive atmosphere! The memories are priceless, and you can have a double celebration now that the stress is all gone!

If you have enjoyed reading this and have questions or just need some help or inspiration contact us or meet us at the store. We have a host of options in both dancewear and accessories that will give you the peace of mind and confidence to sail smoothly into the dance recital season!


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