There is no way around it… no matter how much you prepare or how many years you have under your belt, recitals are STRESSFUL. For a new student (and parent) to dance, a recital can be truly overwhelming. When I started the DiscoverDance program 14 years ago, I wanted to introduce my little ones to their first performance experience without the stresses of the usual recital. I created a showcase event that has proven to be little stress with big success. This unique approach not only prepares my little ones for their future recitals, but it offers a shorter performance (which keeps our audience happy) and creates an opportunity for our families to come together and celebrate their dancer.
We used to hold these events at our dance studio,
but as our program grew, we could no
longer accommodate the large crowds. Because
we wanted to keep these showcases simple and
less stressful than our annual summer recitals,
we opted for a space that had a smaller stage
with ample room for chairs and event activities.
A ballroom, school cafeteria/gym equipped with
a stage, or a performing arts space would all work well. We keep the stage and house lights up for the duration of the event, so lighting capabilities is not a concern. If the space does not have a sound system, I highly recommend you invest in a portable speaker. This speaker is also great to use at outdoor events and parades!
We hold two showcases per regular dance season, one mid-season and one at the end of the season. If our 2-4-year-old dancers would like to participate, they have the option to perform in one or both showcases. Both have separate participation fees. In addition to these fees, there is one costume fee.
This costume is a simple dance dress that they will use for both showcases. Male dancers wear a solid colored shirt and pants or shorts. All of our classes wear the same costume. You can certainly have each class wear a different costume and make those choices fancier, but again, we are going for less stress for both our families and the studio staff!
These hour-long themed events include 6-8 dance routines. There is also a craft section, cookies and juice reception, and a character meet and greet. We combine smaller classes and hold two events to accommodate all of our families. We also invite our company to open and close the student showcase and volunteer during the event.
Because there are no costume changes and the performance is kept short, our little ones get a glimpse of backstage life without the stress of being held captive for hours. :) With books, coloring activities, and those awesome company volunteers, backstage is a breeze!
After the performance, dancers are divided by age and taken to one of the three activity stations. This is where the parents join their little ones to enjoy the remainder of the event.
If you have been thinking about having a separate performance opportunity for your little ones, I hope you have found some inspiration here. Stay tuned, because coming up soon I will dive into the details on how we make it all come together. I’ll even be sharing a sample showcase and checklist!