Dance concert season is fast approaching, and the thought of it may have your head spinning. To pull off a successful concert, there are so many details to organise and so many people to keep happy. Here, Steve Sirico and Angela D’Valda Sirico, founders of Dance Teacher Web and directors of D’Valda and Sirico Dance and Music Centre in the U.S., have some vital tips for studio owners to ensure a smooth-running recital.
#1. Planning a theme is a must.
At the very beginning stages of the season, it is helpful to have a specific theme in place, according to Sirico.
“Studio owners should find their own creative theme,” he says. “The key is to find a theme that all the teachers are on board with.”
With a theme in place and a detailed outline to guide you, Sirico says it’s the best way to keep the process moving efficiently.
#2. Organise! Organise! Organise!
Getting and keeping your thoughts together – from performance dates to ticket sales – is crucial within the planning process as well. Sirico highly recommends organizing every course of your concert.
He adds, “From the recital date that you have in place, work your way back when scheduling the events leading up to the show. If you want photos to be taken, what dates will those be on? Will costumes be in on time for those special photos to be taken? Where will your venue be, and can you nail down theatre dates?”
When you keep a detailed calendar for when and where events will happen, it will safeguard studio owners from double-booking or overlapping important deadlines leading up to the performances.
#3. Music makes the world go ‘round.
As a studio owner/dance teacher, it’s vital to have great music choices to compliment the concert theme. Sometimes the music choices made are an outward expression of the teacher, which makes the song choice even more meaningful to the kids.
“I like to let the teachers express themselves and not inhibit their creativity at all, so we give them full control over their music choices,” says Sirico. “Obviously, the music needs to be age-appropriate and suitable for family entertainment, but it’s something we believe is important to give creative license to our team.”
#4. If the costume fits…wear it.
Costuming for concerts can be touch-and-go at times. For the most part, the costumes coming in are ordered earlier in the year and, just like the weather, it’s unpredictable how the product will turn out when it arrives. To avoid a moment of frustration on a costume that doesn’t fit, Sirico offers a couple of practical dos and don’ts.
“Don’t send someone home with a costume that’s not altered,” he says. “Nowadays, the parents of the kids don’t know how to sew, so you want to give them a ready-made product and ultimately avoid any unneeded drama.”
On the other hand, Sirico says, “What you do want is to have costumes altered by a seamstress, so that when you give them to your customer, they’re ready to wear.”
Once the theme, costuming and music have been set, it’s important for studio owners to have special shows for certain age groups lined up, which brings us to Sirico’s next focus and final leg of the journey to concert time.
Imagine the tireless days spent planning for the one special day that dancers look forward to. Performance time can be either stressful or exciting, depending on the approach. Studios can host a variation of ages and levels of dancers, so finding a balance within the show is another key to having happy kids and, sometimes more importantly, happy parents. Sirico offers a surefire way to showcase younger and older students alike.
“We do several shows, so for instance our three- to five-year-olds will have their own special show on a separate date,” Sirico explains. “Our younger kids’ shows are usually at the beginning of the day, and then we have our older kids’ recital later on in the day.”
Although it’s nice for younger kids to have a special show dedicated to them, Sirico suggests that studio owners intersperse some of their more advanced numbers within the show to add some perspective to the parents in attendance.
“It’s good to sprinkle in some of the more advanced students so that the parents can see the natural progression of what the students are going to be learning, but also so they can see how their children will progress throughout the years,” he says.
The challenges of planning and executing a concert are endless, but with the proper approach and attention to detail from the very beginning, the end product is well worth it.
To studio owners, Sirico concludes, “You want your concert to end on a high note but also a positive note. Make sure the customer service is superior.”
By Monique George of Dance Informa.
Photo (top): A recital at D’Valda and Sirico Dance and Music Centre. Photo by Jaqi Medlock.