Now that wrestling season is over it is time to prepare for the ballet season. My daughter has danced since kindergarten (this is her 4th year). I admit I LOVE ballet and get very excited as we approach recital.
Our recitals are different from the average. Our dancers participate in an actual ballet production. We have full music, professional stage, changing rooms, costumes, stage lights, props and backdrops, and more. And the costumes are ADORABLE!!!
At this point I consider myself a ballet mom veteran. I’ve got the ballet bun down, emergency bag done, costume repairs mastered, runs in tights — check. I had to learn all of this via on the job; surprising no dance mom manuals exist.
To share what I have learned here are 3 Must Do Tips for Ballet Season.
Tip 1 – Create an emergency bag for performances. I cannot this emphasize enough. I have worked backstage doing costume changes. Inevitably a dancer needs to change hair pieces but mom didn’t pack extra bobby pins, or a run in the tights but there is no extra pair, or the makeup gets smudged but no makeup wipes and extra makeup. Don’t assume backstage volunteers have all the emergency items your child may need. Come prepared. This is what the Rockettes recommend — yikes!
Emergency Bag Must Haves:
- Extra tights
- comb and brush
- mini hairspray
- bobby pins and hair pins
- extra hair net – matching dancer’s hair color
- hair elastic ties to match dancer’s hair color
- safety pins
- makeup – lipstick / gloss; foundation; eye shadow; mascara
- makeup wipes
- mini first aid kit with band aids
- mini sewing kit
Tip 2 – Practice the ballet bun (terrific how to video) BEFORE performance day. A wonderful veteran mom gave me a great tip my first year — “use the bun doughnut”. Bun doughnut? What is that? Since our first ballet recital the bun doughnut has gained in popularity. It is amazingly easy to use for all hair types. My daughter has long, fine hair and not very thick. A normal ballet bun is anemic but with the bun doughnut it look full, smooth, and quick! I’ve also helped other dancers with thick hair use the bun doughnut. Such a breeze!
The doughnut is soft and “porous” which allows bobby pins and hair pins to be inserted. This is great because the hair is secured for the entire evening. Doughnuts can be purchased at any hair supply outlet like Sally’s, Ulta, or Claire’s in brown, blonde, and black.
A classic ballet bun tutorial is here — classic ballet bun. I really like some of the tips in this video.
Tip 3 – Pack a backstage activity bag. The age of your dancer will determine what is in the bag. Younger kids will enjoy coloring books, crayons, mazes, hidden picture puzzles, hand games, books, and other quiet activities. Older children will prefer their DS, tablets, phones, books, etc.
As for snack — nothing messy. No fruit drinks, sugar drinks, chocolate — nothing that will stain or damage their costume or backstage areas. I always pack water. The dancers will get hot on the stage from the lights and activity. Those lights are hot! I also send my daughter with “neat” snacks like nuts or granola bars.
Extra Tip – LABEL EVERYTHING. Working backstage during changes is chaos. Dancers are taking costumes off and quickly redressing; leaving attire all over the floor. Label your dancer’s costume, accessories, hair pieces if they are changes, dance bags, extra shoes, anything and everything they bring.
Yes, I worked backstage and I would love my dance moms if they labeled their child’s costumes!