dance competition

Top 7 Tips for Keeping Dancers Organized Backstage

Any dance parent knows that what goes on behind the scenes is a far cry from what the audience sees on stage. If dancers are not careful, it can be easy for their space to become messy and disorganized.They might lose things or get confused about which costume they need at the right time.

After spending so much time and money on dance lessons and costumes, the last thing you want is for your dancer to rip, tear, or lose their belongings accidentally. You also don’t want them to miss their cues or be stressed during their recital or competition.

With a bit of preparation, you can help your dancer stay organized backstage so they can focus on their performance instead of wondering where their costumes are.

7 Ways Parents Can Help Dancers Stay Organized Backstage

Here are seven things you can do to help your dancer stay organized backstage as they prepare for their following number.

1. Prepare costume changes in advance

Even experienced dancers need to spend some time navigating their costume changes before dress rehearsal. Run dress rehearsals at home that include everything – costume changes, makeup alterations, hair adjustments, etc. Use a stopwatch to time your dancer based on the time they will have during their real-life costume changes.

2. Label everything

When 12 dancers have the same costume, things can get confusing very quickly. Make sure your dancer can easily identify items using a labeling system. Label garment bags, hangars, makeup bags, and anything else that contains things your dancer will need for their performance.

3. Pack for every scenario

In a perfect world, your dancer would move from one routine to another smoothly and without complications. Tights would never snag, hair would always stay in place, and shoes would easily tie every time.

Of course, we live in the real world, where a “perfect” backstage setting doesn’t exist. So, the next best thing is to prepare for every worst-case scenario. Some things to pack in your dance bag include extra hair pins, hairspray, clear nail polish (for snagged tights), extra tights (because sometimes nail polish isn’t enough), and a healthy, non-messy snack.

4. Stay busy (quietly)

Dancers need to stay quiet backstage to allow their fellow dancers the space and time to change costumes without getting in the way. Things can get chaotic backstage when dancers get bored and start goofing off. The best way to avoid this is to bring something quiet to do, such as books, coloring books, an iPad or tablet, or music with headphones.

5. Get ready the day before

It’s easy to say you’ll take care of that “in the morning,” but the morning of a dance competition can be incredibly hectic, especially if you have an early call time.

Minimize stress by getting everything ready the night before. Run through costume changes one last time before packing costumes away, clearly labeled with accompanying accessories.

Create a list, then put items in the car the night before if possible, or leave them next to the door. In the car, run through your list one last time before leaving.

6. Dress strategically

On chilly mornings, dress your dancer in a sweatshirt or jacket with a zipper. This will help keep your dancer warm without risking their hair and makeup. Check with your dance studio to find out whether hair and makeup need to be done before you arrive or if they will be managed backstage. Make plans accordingly.

7. Resist the urge to “pop in”

Unless you are a stage parent, resist the temptation to go backstage and see how your dancer is doing. There are plenty of volunteers who all play an essential role in getting every dancer on stage at the right time. Adding more parents who don’t have a specific role to the mix will only cause confusion for your dancer and everyone else.

And if you are a stage parent, follow the directions you are given. That might mean letting someone else help your dancer with their costume change if you are assigned elsewhere. It’s all part of the dance parent experience!

Bottom Line

Whether you are new to dancing or are an experienced dance parent, these seven tips can help your dancer stay organized backstage during their next recital or competition. Regardless of what happens backstage, make sure to congratulate your dancer after their performance and let them know how proud you are of them for the hard work and dedication they put into their craft.

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