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Surviving the Dance (Recital)…

This past weekend has been a whirlwind of tutus, tights, spandex, hairspray and makeup (the last two thankfully skipped over my girl’s hair and face).

I have seen the same performances twice (well, two and a half if you count the partial dress rehearsal I witnessed on Friday). I have seen and heard a lot during my first dance recital weekend as the parent of a performer.

While I was never a dancer, I was a member of the Drama Club in high school, so I do understand (somewhat) what goes on onstage, backstage and all points in between. But I had never really seen it from the other side of the stage, and I’m now realizing that this may very well be my future, once (or twice) a year; sitting in a crowded auditorium, with lots of other proud parents, excited children and everything in between.

Here, as a public service, I am offering you a guide to surviving the dance (or insert other public performance your child may participate in).

  1. DO: Bring lots of snacks/juice for any children you may have in the audience with you. Children (hopefully) have a hard time yelling or even talking if they have a mouth full of food. I made the mistake of only bringing two granola bars to Saturday’s performance. While she wasn’t bad, Sophia was more fidgety with less snacks. On Sunday I had granola bars, string cheese, cuties, animal crackers, water and juice. I had a happier toddler who sat through the whole 2.5 hours of performances with little to no issues. She even napped!
  2. DON’T: Wave to your kids on stage. They can’t see you with the lights. AND if they can, do you really want them to focus on waving to you or on their performance? I know you are a proud parent. Wave to them at the end, during the curtain call, if you must.
  3. DO: Bring flowers or a small gift to your child after at least one performance. It’s amazing what a small $5 bouquet of flowers from the grocery store can do to make a kid feel special. Our dance company offered flowers for pre-order and for $10 I got Olivia a huge mixed bouquet. The smile on her face made it worth it, and the money went towards the fundraising efforts of the organization. If you don’t like flowers, you can do a cookie bouquet (bake cookies on a lollipop stick and wrap individually in a “bouquet”), a cake-pop bouquet, huge lollipops, etc. (you get the idea). It can be something from the 99 cent store, but showing them you are proud of their efforts will do a world of good.
  4. DON’T: ‘Woohoo’ or shout during the performance. Just…don’t. It’s rude, and nine times out of ten, I’m sure your kid is embarrassed to know their parent is acting like a monkey in the audience. It’s fine to hoop and holler and shout at the end of the number. Just keep it to respectable levels.
  5. DO: Show up on time. Whatever time your child needs to be where they need to be for their performance, be there. Don’t be late.
  6. DON’T: Let your audience-member children stand on their seat to see. I know they are short. You can help them by putting them in your lap and lifting them to your level, or letting them sit on their knees in their seat. Hell, bring a booster seat for them if you have one handy. Allowing them to stand in a chair makes it hard for the other 100 proud parents sitting behind you to see their little sunshines on stage. They paid for their tickets too! ALSO? Teach your child what is and is not acceptable while watching a show (or, in life, really). A 6 year old does not need to slap your face and kick their legs around or push their chair into my knees a nice behaving audience member’s knees.
  7. DO: Applaud every routine. Just because it isn’t your kid up there doesn’t mean they aren’t working just as hard as yours did to make their parents proud and get their routine just right.
  8. DON’T: Point out if your child misses a cue, forgets a prop or messes up. Olivia did everything perfectly on Saturday night, but on Sunday, she was the only girl who forgot to turn around and put her sunglasses on for the final portion of the number. I thought maybe someone had forgotten to place her sunglasses in the right spot for her and I thought: “Oh no, now she’s going to feel weird”! I actually uttered “what happened?” to her later, but she looked at me like I was crazy. This made me realize she had no idea what I was referring to and it didn’t bother her, so I recovered and changed the subject. But I felt like the mom I never wanted to be, the one who scrutinizes the performance. I have learned my lesson. I will never do that again. She was AMAZING and I couldn’t have been prouder. She just wanted to stand out. Prop? Who needs a stinkin’ prop?
  9. DO: Tell your child how proud you are of them. Make a big deal because it is a big deal. They have put a lot of time and effort into learning a routine and have performed in front of a packed audience of loud people.
  10. DO: Enjoy yourself. It’s stressful to get everything together for your child and make sure all of your ducks are in a row, but as soon as you sit down in your seat, try to sit back and enjoy the show. That’s the point, right?

 

10 comments to Surviving the Dance (Recital)…

  • Awww This is perfect! I have taught dance for years, and some parents are just clueless. I always went to my mom first after a performance- I valued her opinion above all others- drove my husband crazy 😛

    [Reply]

    natalie Reply:

    Thanks 🙂 I am sure there are a zillion and one things that you, as a teacher, could tell us parents, but these are those things I noticed. 🙂 I was very proud of my little Tiny Tot! Next year she wants to try Hip-Hop & Ballet. We shall see!

    [Reply]

  • Wait, you had to PAY to see your own daughter’s recital? I thought I saw that wrong on Twitter. I think that’s insane. But your tips are perfect!

    [Reply]

    natalie Reply:

    Yep. We had to pay. $10 for each ticket for each night, per adult. Kids under 10 were $5. I spent $70 on tickets, b/c Bill’s parents came for one night. BUT–this is the cheapest set of dance classes in town, $135 for 15 weeks of classes (once a week). Although, near the end, I thought I was constantly giving them money. $35 for costume, $ for the Memory Book/DVD, etc. etc.

    [Reply]

  • Great tips!! We’re not in dance (yet…) but I think the same goes for sports, etc. Behave yourself, bring food for the littles and use common courtesy…AND HAVE FUN!!! amazing what it feels like when all thsoe things fall into place, in Perfect Land 😉

    [Reply]

    natalie Reply:

    Ahh, if only we lived in Perfect Land…

    I’m sure next year after Olivia starts T-Ball I’ll have LOTS of Sports Parenting tips 😉

    [Reply]

    Kristin @ Meanbean Reply:

    ohhh I could give you sports parenting tips!! We’re in year 3 of sports here 🙂

    [Reply]

  • For McKenna’s dance recital, each child got 4 tickets and any additional ones were $5 each. I thought this was a little odd considering they charged a $15 “recital fee” but it sounds a little less expensive in comparison now. Hope you are doing great!

    [Reply]

    natalie Reply:

    That is a great idea, b/c 8 families (Yes, 8!) did NOT get tickets to see their children. I almost missed the boat b/c I was sick the whole week the tickets went on sale. They had to add chairs and add standing-room so all the parents would be able to see their children perform. So they told us that next year they are adding a performance. How are the tiny 3 & 4 year olds going to do this three nights in a row? CRAZY.

    We’re doing well–it’s always crazy around here, but wonderful. Hope you all are fabulous too! I just started reading your blog–your girls and mine should get together if I come to NC, I bet they would have a grand time.

    [Reply]

  • We would love to get together when you guys are back in this neck of the woods – or if we are in California – whichever comes first!

    I would be SO MAD if I didn’t get to see the recital. I would cut somebody! McKenna’s dance studio only had 1 recital and 1 rehearsal (3.5 hours long) and we were worn out so I can only imagine 3 nights!

    There hasn’t been a lot happening on my blog of late – but hopefully I can pick up the pace going forward.

    [Reply]

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