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10 Tips For Your First Recital!

by | Mar 28, 2016 | Articles, Inspiration, Performance & Companies

‘Tis the season for recitals! It has been your dream to dance on stage, and now you are! (Or will be) There are a number of performance opportunities open to adult ballet students at recreation centers, community colleges, and pre-professional dance schools. If you’re preparing for your prima debut, review these 10 tips to ensure a smooth first performance.

1. Eat light.

peanut butter on white bread

8834075 – peanut butter and peanuts show a classic allergen that affects children and adults

Avoid eating a heavy meal before the performance. This includes eating anything that causes gas, bloating, or sharp spikes in blood sugar. Instead, compose a small meal of complex carbohydrates and lean protein, like a turkey sandwich or peanut butter and apple slices. Try eating your performance meal 2-3 hours before you actually go on stage and limit water intake. In case you need an energy boost, keep some dried fruit in your dance bag, or munch a whole food protein bar.

2. Arrive early.

ballerina early to class, forward fold

This cannot be emphasized enough. It doesn’t matter if your routine is the last performance of the night; arriving early shows respect, helps all relevant staff get a head count, and gives you time to address any problems before the show starts. Also, arriving early gives you a chance to give your body a proper warmup before it jumps into action.

3. Wear leg warmers.

ballet feet in fifth position, legwarmers

Performance venues are tend to be very cold backstage. Unless you’re going through menopause, you will get chilly. Invest in a good pair of leg warmers to wear over your tights. They can be stripped off easily, allowing you to stay toasty right up to the very second you have to go on stage. If you’re cold natured, wear a zip-up hoodie instead of a regular sweater for added warmth. You don’t want to risk messing up your hair from pulling a sweater over your head!

4. Pop a mint.

mint candy for queasy stomach

Feeling a little queasy? Chances are its just butterflies, but in the case you need a little extra help, pop a mint in your mouth. Peppermint oil is known to soothe the stomach.

5. Rehearse with your classmates.

two dancers tying shoes getting ready for rehearsal

When all of your group has arrived and is ready to go, make wise use of your time and rehearse in the hallway. It’s a good opportunity to work out any kinks before you take the stage.

6. Don’t forget your cosmetic case.

close up of dancer face putting on makeup cosmetics

Stage lights tend to wash out your face, making you appear more pale. Create a dramatic look with smoky eyeshadow and red lipstick. Bright red lipstick is the most popular option, but some lipstick is better than none.

7. Avoid underwear.

ballet dancer on white in a nude leotard, underwear

If your costume is dark-colored or black, you may be able to get away with wearing underwear under your tights. If you’re not careful, wearing underwear with designs or patterns can transfer though white and other light-colored leotards. If you don’t want the audience getting a peek of your underoos, consider going commando or show discretion by wearing a nude-colored leotard underneath your costume.

8. No smoking please.

two dancers sitting on a bench, no smoking

Or italian sub for that matter. You’ll want to avoid harsh smells, or risking getting your costume dirty. If you insist on either of these, do so outside, out of and away from your costume. Protect your costume from any odors or food stains by bringing it in a garment bag and getting dressed at the venue.

9. Stock your dance bag.

dancer getting ready next to her dance bag, ballet bag

Make sure you have an extra pair of shoes, tights, bobby pins, supply of rosin, deodorant, feminine care, and a general first aid kit. Covering all your bases will give you a peace of mind. You never know if you’ll need a change of clothes or a bandaid.

10. Practice visualization.

visualization, ballet dancer feet in blue light onstage

I officially give you permission to think the worst. The reality is, what you worry about almost never happens. So, go ahead. Imagine the worst, and get it out of your system. Still have some butterflies? That’s totally normal! Everyone gets nervous before they go on stage, especially if it’s your first recital. This time, visualize a flawless performance. This exercise will increase your confidence and help you manage the jitters.

Break a leg! (Trust me, you won’t.)



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Hi I’m Nikki, The Last Dancer. My whole life has been influenced by dancing and this shop focuses on items that speak to a dancer’s entire lifestyle. If you found yourself here, my hope is that this website offers you inspiration too. The shop contains my own products and the blog is original content.

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