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Backstage Survival Guide

Whether it is your first recital or your 500th, it never hurts to be reminded about proper backstage etiquette and behavior.

1. Come prepared

Make a list and check it twice. Do you have all of your costumes? Shoes? Tights? Extra tights? Hair accessories, and make up? Make sure all of your belongings have your name on it because guess what? There are 100 other little ones running with the same exact shoe.

2. Bring healthy snacks & water

Rehearsals and recitals are long and exhausting and guess what? Hungry, dehydrated dancers are not happy dancers. It is just better for all involved if no one is hangry.

3. Bring something to do

Again rehearsals and recitals are long. There can be a lot of down time, especially during rehearsals. Bring something to do. Beware there is typically no WIFI! We have to go with “old school” entertainment. Dancers need to bring something quiet and not messy to entertain them.

4. Be stage ready

Know what the name of your dance is. Who’s your teacher? How do you need to line up to get on stage? If you know this information it will make the dancer will more confident and help things run more smoothly.

5. Don't mess with other people's stuff

If it's not your prop or your costume don't touch it! Simple. Moving something that doesn’t belong to you can lead to it going missing or getting broken, which leads to missing cues or not having the needed prop to perform.

6. Stay where you belong

Dancers need to stay in their designated areas. If you aren’t where you are supposed to be you could miss a cue or cause someone else to miss theirs.

7. Keep quiet in the wings

No talking in the wings! The immediate backstage area is not the place to go over choreography, have a conversation, or ask a question. Sound from backstage can carry surprisingly well to the “house,” or audience. If you are prepared, calm, and focused there should be no reason for talking in the wings. Remember, shhhhhing people is rather loud and easily carries.

8. Stay safe. Stay warm.

It is important to stay safe and injury free backstage. If you know you have some downtime between numbers, wear warm-ups over your next costume (just remember to take them off!), staying active and mobile with full-body movements like noiseless jumping or body swings, and doing some stretching to keep your body warm and limber while you wait.

9. Be aware of sight lines

General rule of thumb is if you can see the audience they can see you. When waiting in the wings, it is a good idea to stand close to the curtain (without moving it) and back from the very edge or completely off the marley. Though it can be tempting to try to see everything happening onstage, stay out of the audience’s line of sight.

10. Don’t argue

Last but not least, it is important to be courteous and respectful toward others, especially during a performance. This includes the teachers, parents, and others who are helping backstage at a recital. If you are instructed to do something or go somewhere, asked to quiet down, or are otherwise asked to respond to a request – just do it! Don’t question, don’t argue, don’t grumble.


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