the next generation of Dance as Art

As many studios and schools begin wrapping up the dance year, concerts, recitals and other end of year performances abound.  Here's a quick checklist for you during this hectic time of the year.



Touch base with the administration and make sure that everyone has the same dates / times reserved. When weather has been crazy, sometimes school functions will be booked over outside events and people doing the booking don't always remember to call outside renters.  Remember to check on your performance space, any changing or green room areas, concession areas (if needed), restrooms and parking.

Request any needed riders or certificates of insurance from your insurance agent.  These may include increased liability limits, naming additional insured, special event riders and often insurance on parking / driveway areas.

Meet with the technical crew at the facility.  Do you need to hire in any outside people - lighting designer, stage manager, sound engineer, lighting crew etc?  If you use a combination of facility provided and outside techs or designers, make sure you open channels of communication with both so that everyone has the information that he / she needs to produce a stand out show.
If backdrops are being delivered directly to the facility coordinate with the team there so the package is expected and handled appropriately.

Get the facility policies, in writing if possible, so you have all of their rules and expectations and can share them with your staff, dancers and audience members.  If there are any rules that have exceptions being made to them for your event, get those exceptions in writing.

Check out all of the equipment you will be using - lights, light board, sound system, microphones etc.  Make sure they are in proper working order and inquire about backups.  There is nothing worse then being in the middle of a show and having to scramble for a boombox and microphone because the school's cd player isn't working (even though it did the day before at tech rehearsal).  Bring a cd cleaner along and ask if you can clean the player before starting rehearsal just to hedge your bets.


Hire any needed security personnel.


Provide the tech crew with stage notes so they know entrances, exits, specific lighting cues, costume colors, number of dancers, age of dancers etc.


In House

Make sure all music is properly edited and any fades or tags are added to the master disc.  Make backups and request that your teachers also bring their original versions in case a player is fussy about playing burned discs.  If your music is on an mp3 device, make sure it is on more than 1 device, have a cd backup just in case, and make sure that all music is still properly edited and in the correct order.  Also beware of the shuffle button.


Put up a master roster of student names so that parents can okay the spelling of their child's name before you print the program.


Double check your show order for costume / dancer conflicts.


If students have quick changes, have them start practicing the costume changes and figuring out which tights to layer etc.  Encourage them to work for time to spare since sweat and the pressure of performance often make changing more challenging.  Assign dressers if needed and have the dancer and dresser practice together.


Layout your program, have it proofread by several different people and get it printed.


Have a staff meeting and assign their jobs for the day of the show.


Recruit any additional helpers needed.  Sometimes looking to graduates of the school is easier then having current parents backstage.  If you split your shows, use your older dancers to help with the younger dancers.


Make sure all costumes are in with proper tights and accessories.  All alterations are made and costumes have been danced in to avoid any malfunctions.


Send out an email, letter, etc or have a parents' meeting to go over all of the important information for the performance. 

  • Video taping restrictions (if any)
  • Photography restrictions (if any)
  • Times
  • Food Restrictions
  • Waivers (including permission to be video taped if you have someone taping your shows)
  • Any concessions that will be available
  • Restrictions on backstage access
  • Ticketing etc
  • Expected behavior of dancers and guests
  • Audience etiquette

Provide dress and tech rehearsal schedules.  Make sure information on what is needed and expected at any rehearsals and performances are clearly stated.


Provide dancers with hair / makeup / tights / shoes guidelines.


Pack your theater box

  • Duct tape
  • Anything needed to mark the stage (make sure these are cleared with the facility)
  • Warm up barres
  • Safety pins
  • Glue gun and sticks
  • Bobby pins
  • Hair spray
  • Sewing kit
  • First Aid kit (including instant ice packs)
  • Scotch tape if you have pointe dancers
  • Double sided tape
  • Foam insulation strips (great for hats that don't fit at the last minute)
  • All props
  • Any set decorations
  • Stage notes
  • Staff assignment list
  • Student and staff contact list
  • Extra tights
  • Rosin (if needed and cleared with facility)
  • Cell phone with charged battery
  • Flashlights - preferably with amber or red gel for use backstage
  • Back up music
  • Small pop up tent for quick changes
  • Empty box for lost and found
  • ID badges, aprons etc for backstage helpers

If you start with the items on this list you are on your way to a well planned out show.  If there are additional things that you think of that aren't on this list, please share them with us by leaving a comment.

On with the show!



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