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melissa745

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Reply with quote  #1 
I posted on my FB wall yesterday about our recital. A friend mentioned that at their studio, the moms don't do the costume changes for their own kids, but volunteer moms do all the backstage stuff. No running back and forth for anyone.

Sure, the backstage moms miss the show, but then they get to sit for the next one while another set of volunteers works the backstage.

For the life of me, I cannot understand how this would work.

Each of our recitals had 50 numbers in it, with only a couple doing both shows. So we have at least 80 dances that are unique. And it isn't like all the 8 year olds are in dance A, B, and C. One might be in A and C, while another might be in A, B, C, D, and G!

Do your shows involve you working backstage to do all the costume changes? I mean, obviously teenagers need far less help, but even then they need help with quick changes.

Honestly, I'm not trying to prove one way is better than another...just trying to understand how different studios handle the backstage chaos of recital.
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Mom2Girls

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Reply with quote  #2 
At the old competition studio, with the ages my kids were at the time and the sheer number of dances they were in, there was no way I could have left them to do it on their own. It was expected that they do it themselves or you help them yourself (or have an aunt/grandma help them.) No class moms. I missed the recital for two years because of it and it kind of sucked.

At the current studio, moms are supposed to sign up for one rehearsal and one show as chaperones. Lists are posted with everyone in that particular dressing room (dressing rooms being grouped by ballet level) and then any other dances they are in are listed as well.

I usually stay down there all week and then stay for one of the 3 shows. We don't do much of anything, though. The kids in the room will ask me to do eyeliner or a french braid if needed, but they mostly just take care of each other. I end up spending more time in dd11's room than dd9's because those are the moms I am closer to, but also because the age group of 11-12 year old girls is more drama-prone and sometimes it's helpful to have adult eyes and ears there to head it off. DD9 is self-sufficient other than make-up.

For quick changes, the girl with a quick change always gets friends to help--moms aren't even allowed in the backstage area so we couldn't help with it if we wanted to. It works out, though. DD11 had a quick change during Nut this year and had four friends simultaneously changing her and handing her pieces and fussing with hair.

I feel comfortable leaving them now to take care of themselves during shows even with multiple numbers (they are 9 and 11).
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tendumom

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Reply with quote  #3 

I think a huge variable is in how the recitals are handled. 

At dd's first studio, no parents helped at all for the youngest dancers, who have their own recital. They had studio employees and younger teens (who also did a production number or two) helping. Most of the little ones did not have changes. A few might have had one change. 

Once dd moved up to the next level, if they needed help with changes, us moms did get up and do it, if needed. I generally got up once or twice in a show. As they get older, they obviously need less help. 

At her current studio, which is much smaller (an audition based ballet school), only volunteers are backstage helpers. There are multiple shows so it is very easy to volunteer to help for one and watch the others, etc.

At my friend's dd's recital, there is only one show. They work it so that even if you are helping backstage, you do not miss the entire show. 

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melissa745

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Reply with quote  #4 
How do the little girls keep track of which costume they need to put on and all the accessories they need to change with it?

As a random mom backstage, I wouldn't know if she's going to do her jazz or her ballet number next, and to look for each and every child would be too time consuming.
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dancermom128

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Reply with quote  #5 
Personally, our studio did have moms backstage helping with their own children. But I do know this is far from the norm. I know of a ton of studios that just have a few volunteers as opposed for a free for all.
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elastigal

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Reply with quote  #6 
At our studio, we had only one show this year (normally there is two but there were too many numbers this year to do two - show was 4 hours long!). For the recreational dancers, they had their own dressing room and their mom/guardian was expected to get them changed/hair done if they were in multiple dances during the intermissions. DD was in 2 plus finale so I had to rush to her at each intermission - her dances were scheduled in different acts. For the comp. team, they had a dressing room closer to backstage and they had team moms manning the dressing room to help dancers with costume/hair/make-up changes - these were moms who had volunteered for this. Other comp. team moms volunteered for the check-in table, balcony duty where dancers watched the show between their dances and for backstage. They've done it this way for years and from what I could see it works really well. The comp. team by recital time had already been to 4-5 competitions so they had their backstage prep down to a science.
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My2DanceLoves

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Reply with quote  #7 
No.  Only the littlest of dancers have their moms help them in the dressing room. They can go sit with their families after they are done dancing until finale.  As they get older, parents are encouraged to leave them in the dressing room with the staff assigned to be helping backstage.  For the dancers that are in Company and on comp team , parents are not allowed in that dressing room.  Makes for a nice time just watching recital. [smile]    My girls have never needed my help with quick changes.  But for recital they are not required to make drastic hair and make up changes. 

One mom who was new to us a few years ago had come from a studio where parents were required to work backstage/in dressing rooms.  She was really excited about just sitting and watching.
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Beccasmom

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Reply with quote  #8 
At our studio, each mom/guardian is responsible for their own child(ren). The comp team girls that have a lot of changes have a separate dressing room that is directly across from the backstage door.

Since my dd is older, she doesn't need me as much but there are still some things she needs help with (like hair accessories and stuff or really quick changes on a sweaty body, lol).

I would not like to leave these things up to some random volunteer, especially when she was younger. Call me a control freak, but I just don't trust someone else to handle these things. And if something goes wrong then I have no one to blame but myself, lol.

Once she's ready for her next number, then i can leave and go back to the auditorium to watch. I do miss a lot of the recital this way (that's what the DVD is for, lol). But still prefer it rather than having backstage moms.
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Klba37

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Reply with quote  #9 

Our 2 recitals don't have all of the company dances in them so the teams are split up to help with the younger kids, take to the stage, bring back and help with more costumes if need to, or wait for parents to come pick them up. It worked great. Company parents also helped out if need to. We watched company show and only went into auditorium if we had someone in a dance we wanted to watch. A lot of us were helping set up food for company kids & families for in between shows.

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dancedaughters

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Reply with quote  #10 
No parents helping at all.  The kids take care of themselves, and there are staff members available to help.  Quick changes are identified ahead of time and those kids change in a special location and there are helpers on hand (staff) for them.  

We have about 30-35 numbers per recital, and the busiest kids might have 7-8 numbers in the same recital.  No hair/makeup changes, just costumes.  The very little kids are usually in only one number so they don't have to change.  By the time they're old enough to be in a few dances, they're generally old enough to dress themselves without help.   
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tappingfeet

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Reply with quote  #11 
Our studio puts up a sign up sheet for volunteers for the recitals.  We have moms volunteering backstage, in the dressing rooms, and as runners between the dressing rooms and backstage.  Certain moms backstage are designated as the "quick change" moms.  All dancers with quick changes have their labeled quick change towels laid down backstage with all their costumes on them.  Moms are assigned to specific kids so when they run off stage, the mom knows to help that student with her quick change.  When you volunteer for that position, you are required to be at the dress rehearsal so you can practice all the quick changes.  

It runs very smoothly and if you aren't volunteering, you can sit back and enjoy the show. Any parents who aren't volunteering are not allowed backstage at all.  


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kellymom

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Reply with quote  #12 
Our studio has 3 recital performances on 3 consecutive nights.  For competition company dancers, each mom is requested to sign up to work one of the 3 shows--you might be helping out w/ your own child's team or another (younger) team that needs more help.  All comp kids do their main team dances at each of the 3 shows (jazz, tap, production, lyrical) but any "special" groups--small groups, hip hop, ballet, contemporary, musical theatre, etc. are assigned to one night.  For example, if all the junior special groups perform on Friday, most of the junior parents would choose to watch Friday night's recital.  Petite, teen, & senior moms would then (in theory) be available to help out backstage. 

Our studio also has other volunteers (alumni college students, teens who have quit dance, older siblings, aunts, etc) who return to help every year.  For the recreational dancers, they try to get moms to volunteer on a night their child does not dance.  They offer an incentive--like free recital tickets or free dance registration for next year.  Somehow it all works out.  Our studio recitals are pretty organized and one of the teachers is the backstage manager--it works like a well-oiled machine.
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meatball77

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Reply with quote  #13 
We have moms who work backstage for quick changes and emergency sewing.  Besides that all the kids just handle their own costumes.  I remember being surprised the first time I went backstage and the little ones were all doing their own hair and makeup.  The older girls would help with lashes but the moms didn't need to do anything.

I don't work backstage.  I'm a teacher and do enough of that myself.  I work in the lobby and pour the wine.  Much better.
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Jacaranda

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Reply with quote  #14 
Our recitals do not have back stage dressers. Parents are expected to be responsible for their own child, until that child is old enough to be responsible for themselves. Most parents team up and will have one dress their child and another for one show and switch it around for the next show.
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Julieg

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Reply with quote  #15 
At our old studio, the recitals would have dances that were loosely tied together by a theme such as the 80's or the four seasons.  This made it so there were very few if any quick changes.  At our new studio, the recital is a production such as Annie or Hairspray and it causes tons of quick changes and a lot of stress.  It's not unusual to have a kid dancing in only part of their character costume because there just wasn't enough time for the quick change.They ask for tons of parent volunteers to help backstage but my daughter prefers that I don't try to help her. Also, I feel like if I've paid upwards of $7,000 a year for dance I should at least get to sit in the audience and watch it.  If other parents haven't managed to get their kids to be self sufficient then that's their problem.  The older girls are sometimes paired with younger kids to help with their quick changes and I've seen older girls get totally chewed out by parents when things didn't go quite like expected getting their child quick changed because the older girl had quick changes or dances of their own to worry about.  I have also seen older girls tipped very well by parents that wanted to sit and watch without having to worry about changing their kid.  
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Ktyyyyyyy

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Reply with quote  #16 
I can't imagine going back and forth from the audience to the dressing room all recital long. DD is in 12 recital dances this year, but we have three shows, and the most she has in any one show is 7 dances. One time when she was younger, dd had 11 dances all in the same show.

We usually have 3 or 4 dressing rooms. The dancers are divided basically by age into the different dressing rooms. There are two mom volunteers per dressing room that help out. If a dance is a fast change, the dancer goes into a fast change room set up on the side of the stage. There are several mom volunteers in there that help with the fast changes. Moms, and dancers as they are old enough just need to be really organized with labeling everything and keeping all pieces for each dance together. I often use the giant ziplock bags, and dd layers them in her bag with the first dance on top, and so on. The girls all help each other out too.
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tappinmom

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Reply with quote  #17 
At our first studio they had parent volunteers backstage but you were responsible for coming back and changing your child between numbers.  I never watched an entire recital because I was always running through this huge venue to get him changed.

When we moved to the new studio he was 9 years old.  One of the first things the SO told me was that only parent volunteers were allowed backstage and my instructions were to sit and watch the show and not worry.  The venue is such that they lock all the doors to backstage once the kids have been dropped off and no one gets in or out until the show is over.  Even then they have to wait at the dressing room door for a volunteer to bring them their child.  This counts for all the dancers from 2 1/2 right up to 18.  The little ones (2 1/2 to about 6)  have 3 parent volunteers in their dressing room and thre has never been a problem.  The older kids get one parent.  We also have many DT who help as well as some of the senior students when they have time but they are usually in so many numbers they can't help a lot.

Once DS got older I volunteered with the little ones and they were very good about setting up their costumes when they got there and knowing where their stuff was when it came time to change.  First year parents are always a little worried but we are all moms and once they see the security set up,  that their child made it on stage for all their numbers and had a great time they loosen up a bit.

Our SO is a big believer in fostering independence and our mini company 6-8 years old does all their own hair and costume changes with minor help from their parent volunteer or their DT.  You would be amazed what these kids can accomplish once you give them the chance.
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Momof3

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Reply with quote  #18 
Our first studio was one in which all parents were expected to take care of getting their own kid(s) changed.  Lots of running back and forth between the dressing room and the audience. Very stressful. And there was only one show, so it wasn't possible to switch off. Since it was our first experience with dance, I didn't know any better - I just figured that was how it was.

Our current studio expects the kids to be relatively self sufficient. One thing that helps is that the hair doesn't change at all. We have a studio hairstyle that all kids wear for all dances. The 3-4 year old dancers only have one dance, so no changes. The youngest dancers with more than one dance are in the 5-6 age range, and they typically have one ballet and one tap. The SO schedules one before intermission and one after, so parents can help with that change if necessary. Anyone aged 7 and up is expected to handle changes with the help of teachers and alumni who return to assist with recital. Parents are asked to arrange and label costumes so that the kids and/or teachers can find what they need easily. Quick changes are arranged ahead of time so kids who need help have it. We finished our second recital a week and a half ago and it has run smoothly both years. My DD7 had 6 changes with at least 3 dances between each. My DD11 had 9 changes with three of them being 1 dance quick changes.  It's amazing what they can handle given proper preparation and encouragement.  Everyone made it on stage in full costume, on time. It has made recitals so much more enjoyable.
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melissa745

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Reply with quote  #19 
I'm impressed that so many of you can do it with just volunteers. I had to help my daughter with all her changes, and I made two mistakes. I left a barrette in her hair and I forgot to tell her to put her earrings in for another. And I knew what I was doing.

Can't imagine the stress of making sure all the details were correct for 30 or 40 dances I'd never seen before.
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Mittenmom3

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Reply with quote  #20 
Old comp studio, we had 4 total shows with room moms assigned to each room no matter the age. We also had 4 quick change moms per show, 2 working each side of the stage. All quick change costumes were hung separately and clearly labeled. Moms staying backstage to help was discouraged. It just got too crowded and too many cooks in the soup.

Current studio -- about 50 numbers per show, 2 shows, same day. It's broken out more by age and number of dances. 8-12 with 3 or more dances in one dressing room, 13 and up with 3+ dances in another room and so forth. We have room moms for the littles. The older girls dress each other. The littles are usually in the 1pm show before intermission so they can leave after they dance. Otherwise, the shows are nearly identical, so we just choose one to watch and the other I will volunteer for the flower table. Many moms backstage helping their dancers if they want.

So, totally different styles. Both worked in their own way.
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heidi459

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Reply with quote  #21 
Quote:
Originally Posted by melissa745
I'm impressed that so many of you can do it with just volunteers. I had to help my daughter with all her changes, and I made two mistakes. I left a barrette in her hair and I forgot to tell her to put her earrings in for another. And I knew what I was doing. Can't imagine the stress of making sure all the details were correct for 30 or 40 dances I'd never seen before.


Fortunately, each volunteer isn't likely to be responsible for knowing the details of every single dance.  At dd's old studio, volunteers were assigned to specific dressing rooms, each of which only held a certain number of classes.  Two adult volunteers per dressing room w/two teen helpers (older dancers).  So the only details they had to be aware of were for those particular dances.  When it comes right down to it I think the key is keeping things simple.   At that same studio for instance, toddlers/preschoolers/kindergarteners took one class w/one dance only.  The early elementary aged set would have two dances with a costume that did double duty (by adding a skirt and/or some other accessory).  And while older kids might take mulitple classes and therefore have multiple dances w/more involved costume changes, by that age they didn't need much help.  Make-up would be the same for everyone.  Hair would remain the same for all but the older kids... who were certainly more than capable of taking care of the simple style changes themselves.  It really is  just a matter of not making things overly complicated.  To be honest, I'm always surprised to hear about all the SOs who make complicated the name of the game.


eta:  no comp dances in dd's old studio's recital though.  If a studio is doing comp dances as recital dances, and making the choice to put them out there like they would at a comp, then I can see why it could be a nightmare.  


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Bonbonmama

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Reply with quote  #22 
No parents backstage, at all. There are alumni volunteers, older dancers helping younger ones (if they are not busy with their own changes) and teachers. Parents drop their dancers off backstage and then leave. [smile] One show only.
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melissa745

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Reply with quote  #23 
Quote:
Originally Posted by heidi459
Quote:
Originally Posted by melissa745
I'm impressed that so many of you can do it with just volunteers. I had to help my daughter with all her changes, and I made two mistakes. I left a barrette in her hair and I forgot to tell her to put her earrings in for another. And I knew what I was doing. Can't imagine the stress of making sure all the details were correct for 30 or 40 dances I'd never seen before.


Fortunately, each volunteer isn't likely to be responsible for knowing the details of every single dance.  At dd's old studio, volunteers were assigned to specific dressing rooms, each of which only held a certain number of classes.  Two adult volunteers per dressing room w/two teen helpers (older dancers).  So the only details they had to be aware of were for those particular dances.  When it comes right down to it I think the key is keeping things simple.   At that same studio for instance, toddlers/preschoolers/kindergarteners took one class w/one dance only.  The early elementary aged set would have two dances with a costume that did double duty (by adding a skirt and/or some other accessory).  And while older kids might take mulitple classes and therefore have multiple dances w/more involved costume changes, by that age they didn't need much help.  Make-up would be the same for everyone.  Hair would remain the same for all but the older kids... who were certainly more than capable of taking care of the simple style changes themselves.  It really is  just a matter of not making things overly complicated.  To be honest, I'm always surprised to hear about all the SOs who make complicated the name of the game.


eta:  no comp dances in dd's old studio's recital though.  If a studio is doing comp dances as recital dances, and making the choice to put them out there like they would at a comp, then I can see why it could be a nightmare.  




What happens if two 8 year olds have different schedules? Or maybe there was only 1 jazz for 8 year olds and you were in it or you weren't. We have probably 4 different Jazz classes for an 8 year old, then probably 6 or 7 ballets they could take. The permutations become quite large!

We do have our comp dances in the recital (which I like because it discourages my family from tagging along at competition). No solid or duos either.

Even our rec classes are held to the same standard at recital. Certain color lipsticks, hair a certain way, specific accessories put on in a specific way. Only the little little ones get cut any slack there. [wink]

It seems we may be in the minority of having moms running back and forth the while time.
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Angel2228

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Reply with quote  #24 
Just helped out at our little kid recital. There were about 10-15 moms backstage helping. SO gave us each sheets with names of the students and their group, the dancers name was stared if they had a quick change and to what dance. We grouped them in order of first dances with their belongings. So when the dance was getting closer, I counted my group, touched up lipsticks, hair sprayed if needed and made sure they were wearing their shoes. Then they lined up at the door three numbers early, the door mom has the studio group pic of them to compare that they have all their accessories, and out they went. Waited for my group to be done, and then took them back to their belongings to put their stuff away. I also ran a lot of bathroom breaks, and broke up crayon arguments. After the show they take their stuff to the outside hall and wait for their name to be called.
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mom2dancingdiva

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Reply with quote  #25 
At our recital only backstage moms are allowed backstage in the dressing rooms. The kids come with hair and makeup done so the BSM only has to change costumes. For each show, each class(es) are assigned to a dressing room and the moms/staff in that room are responsible for those kids. Those moms know what kids have other classes as well and will help dress them for those. The staff and class teacher help with making sure the kids get to the stage.

The older kids don't need as much coordination, just help if there is a quick change.

We are mostly a recreational studio, so the extra moms would probably make the process worse.
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