Every June we have a week from hell. It culminates in a beautiful pair of dance performances from our daughters, but it’s the longest week of the year.
Our dance school, Kingston School of Dance, puts on an amazing end-of-year dance performance each year. It’s even performed at the Grand Theatre – and the kids love being on the “big stage”! But to get such a great show looking so great requires a LOT of work.
For 5 days before the show there are rehearsals. Some at the dance studio, and some at the theatre. This year my kids needed to be at every one of them. And, of course, they all start at 4 or 5pm. (Plus the full day Sunday one.) So this requires schedule alterations like crazy.
We make it work – and have been for 5 years now. (Has it really been that long???) Now the girls are in more dances so it just keeps getting more exhausting for them. But they love it, and only when they are really tired do they say they don’t want to dance anymore.
As a seasoned Dance Mom I will share some things you can expect during dance performance time of year.
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The kids will cry and be exhausted.
Even if they get to sleep in, or have time to relax during the day, they will still be super tired. Not only are they working their bodies like crazy, they are working their minds as well. Learning a routine, sharing space with other kids for extended periods of time, and listening to the adults try to get this huge undertaking together is mentally exhausting!
You will lose items you desperately need.
This year we misplaced bags of makeup, tights, shoes, and I’m sure other things. We were lucky to find most of what went “missing” (the girls just didn’t get them back into their bags) but you may not. It’s darn expensive when you have to buy new tights twice before the performance actually happens! The only suggestion I have is to label everything. That way there’s a smidge of a chance you’ll get things back afterward. (I’m still not sure how to label tights when some have no tag!)
You may be asked by the school to help out. If you have time I say “do it!” That way you can keep an eye on your own kids and avoid some of the trauma of all your lost and missing items from the previous point. My husband took the entire week off from work so he could help out and take photos. He was even backstage at the theatre during the second performance to help keep the kids entertained and quiet. Our dance school requires a CPIC (police check) before you can volunteer, but then again so does the girl’s school so it’s not really a big deal.
Learn dance hair and makeup.
The very first year Emma started dancing she was in the end-of-year performance. I had to learn how to do a “ballet bun” and I did not get the helpful tips right away. Since I’ve been blogging I found a fellow mom with dance kiddos and she a great post on ballet buns and stage makeup. Using a hair net is the best way to keep that bun up and tight through all the dancing!
This year was the first time Emma was asked to wear makeup and I did it, though they touched it up backstage. I’m not good with makeup for my own face, but doing Emma’s was not as difficult as I had expected. She only needed lipstick, mascara and eye shadow. Mascara application on myself is bad enough, but I got Emma looked after okay, surprisingly!
Get your week sorted with your spouse.
We had to coordinate drop offs and pick ups (not to mention some dinners!) during the week. I’m not one to write things down, but you need some way to ensure you know who is picking up who, what time, and where. I collected Rose at the halfway point most nights because she was only dancing in the first act of the show. That way I could get her home to bed only an hour past her regular bedtime, while Emma was out for at least another hour after that. If you can get coordinated, it’s less stressful – you know what’s expected and you can avoid those last minute texts!
Poll your friends and family and get tickets early.
We bought our tickets the day they went on sale and we got to sit in the second row. Part of this tip is to know the venue as well. Front row is sometimes not the best for watching dance performances and you can be too low if you’re too close to the stage. We had family sit in the front row balcony as well and they got some great photos!
Here in Kingston these performances rarely sell out. If you do wait to get tickets you will still get a seat, and there really are no bad seats in the house – only the ones where the super tall people sit in front of you! My husband is in charge of buying us tickets and he usually has a great memory for these things, so we’ve had good success every year.
You will be so proud (and you might cry) when you see all the hard work pay off.
Your kids have worked their butt off, not only during this week, but for the entire dance season, and it shows. They will be wearing lovely costumes, and maybe, like Emma, will have had their makeup done. You will wonder where your babies went, and when did these kids get so grown up? It’s a great parent moment – and watching the bigger kids dance such beautiful routines gives you a view into the future, perhaps, if your little ones stick with it a while longer.
Do your kids take dance? Or any other extra curriculars that culminate in a fabulous performance? I’d love to hear about it. And if you have any other tips or thoughts about this crazy end-of-season dance performance time I would love you to share them with me in the comments! Happy dancing everyone!