Ask Rhee Gold | Keeping your recital short and sweet

Advice for dance teachers

Q: Dear Rhee,

I just finished my 27th recital and should be thrilled, but I know my clients were upset. The show was almost four hours long. It’s time for a change, but I need some advice about how others do it. As it is now, my show consists of all the recreational classes, plus the company’s competition numbers and soloists. Is there a way to separate them? If I do, will the parents have to buy more than one ticket?

It also seems strange to rent an auditorium more than once each season—wouldn’t that be expensive? I need to figure this out because I know a four-hour recital is not good for business. Thanks in advance for your thoughts. —Sheri


A: Dear Sheri,

There is no question that a four-hour show is too long. Here are some ideas about how you can break up your show while minimizing expenses for yourself and your clientele.

Consider a recital that features your studio’s preschoolers and recreational students. Sprinkle in competition numbers—no more than six or eight—so that non-team students and parents can see what is possible when students work hard at dance.

If you shine a light on your recreational kids in a show that’s two hours or less, your studio parents will start telling you your recital is like a Broadway show!

Now let’s talk about your soloists. You could hold a spring soloist showcase in a smaller auditorium or intimate setting. Research community venues such as your local Knights of Columbus hall—the cost will be less than a theater rental, and you can charge less for tickets. Your dancers will enjoy appearing before family and friends in a relaxed presentation that is a special event just for them.

To further showcase your competition kids, perhaps you could arrange a benefit performance that would allow your students to help others by dancing. With your team’s input, select an organization that everyone is enthusiastic about helping. Because this is a benefit, don’t be shy about asking your community to help. You might be able to negotiate a rental discount on a venue. Suggest that parents who pitch in through fundraising and running the show don’t need to buy tickets. This is an opportunity to build camaraderie and goodwill within your competitive program.

Another option is to break up your recital into two shows that each run two hours in length—simply divide the performances you are currently running in half.

These are just some ideas—be creative and jump into it with gusto. After 27 years it’s probably time for a fresh beginning. I guarantee that you will be glad you made a change. Good luck. —Rhee