Every year, the students at Hawkins School of Performing Arts work together to share their hard work over the year. Although this week is a lot of fun, it can be disorienting for parents and students. Whether it’s your first year with us or your 13th, here’s our how-to guide to showcase week.
For Dancers, From a Dancer
All of your classes and rehearsals are about to pay off! Let your parents worry about logistics, and you focus on your dancing!
When you get to the theater... Tech week can be hard to navigate, but your teachers will explain a lot of things like when to get there and where to meet. That being said, here are some things that they may not have mentioned:
- Find your friends when you get to the theater. Being with the people in your class will make things go smoothly when trying to get photos taken. If someone is missing 10 minutes after you get there, tell your teacher so they can try to contact them (or contact them yourself if you can).
- Be patient throughout the whole process. Everyone is trying their hardest to get your pictures taken and get you on stage. Enjoy the time and have fun!
- Stay stretched and warm. Nothing is worse than finally getting on stage and realizing your grande battement is a dazzling 45 degrees. Stretch on the sides and do a quick warmup before for safe stretching.
- Make sure you're ready. Come with your hair and makeup done. The mirror space is limited so it’s always safe to come ready to go. There will be time to put your costume on and do some last minute things (lipstick for example) but that is about it.
- Stay hydrated. Water. Lots of it.
- Come prepared. There is always downtime backstage, so have some entertainment. Fully charged electronics (there aren't many outlets), card games, books, and art supplies are good (especially if you are one of our younger dancers).
- Some clean snacks are good but make sure you have something to cover your costume to avoid a catastrophe. Some good snacks are granola bars, bananas, oranges, cheese sticks, fruit snacks, etc. (please remember that we are a nut free studio).
- Have fun! This is a great time to bond with classmates and teachers! The memories you make here you will never forget.
Ashton Titus is a dancer on the Elite Hawkins Contemporary Dance Company. This will be her 10th Showcase with Hawkins.
For Parents, From a Parent
Showcase week is a fun time – the culmination of a year of growth in dance and a chance for everyone to enjoy the hard work of our dancers. That said, it can be stressful and a bit confusing if you haven’t been through one. And our kids pick up on our stress. To make this the fun, easy week it should be, here are a few tips that have served me well:
- Plan ahead. Everything is better with a bit of forethought. To start, make sure you know all the times your dancer needs to be at the theater – for photos, tech rehearsal and actual Showcase performances. Yes, tech rehearsals are during the day during the week, but if you can get the time off, it does help. And it’ s an experience you want to share with your dancer, especially if you’ve not been through a Showcase before. If not, reach out to one of the many dancer families around you. There are so many that are willing to help get dancers where they need to be.
- Rehearse. Have your child run their piece for you at home. Even better, do it in costume, hair and makeup. This is where you’ll learn that you really do need more bobby pins than you’ve ever seen or realize that a costume strap does need to be adjusted. Help your dancer out so that they feel completely comfortable come show time. This is also a good time to go over backstage rules and expectations with your dancer.
- Make a List. At least a week before rehearsal, make a list of everything you need. Things on my list include costume(s), tights (make sure you have the color your teacher has specified), accessories, shoes, hairnets, bobby pins, and the right makeup. I always have backups for tights, hairnets and bobby pins.
- Label EVERYTHING. 15 matching costumes, tights, and shoes in basically the same size in a crammed dressing room have a tendency to look the same.
- Make a Survival Kit. Pack a survival kit ahead of time. A first aid kit, sewing kit, clear nail polish are all helpful to have on hand along with snacks, water and entertainment. Ashton shared some great ideas above.
- Timeliness is Key. Whether it is tech rehearsals or Showcase, be on time. In fact, be early. You don’t want to be that one parent who stresses out the other parents, teachers and dancers because your child is not there for a picture, rehearsal or show. Plan for traffic and mishaps.
- Ok, maybe patience is key. When mishaps do happen, don’t add to that parent’s stress. Try to see how you can help if possible. And when things are running late, take a deep breath. Things rarely run too far behind. While you’re waiting around, pick up programs and tickets, have a snack, or take some photos.
- Take a photo or two. This is the one time when you are allowed to take photos and videos in the theater (but please don't try to snap a group photo during the professional shoot). Yes, you will probably have a teacher in the video but looking back, that sometimes adds to the charm. Professional videos are available for purchase during the show and of course you can schedule professional photos too. And don’t forget to take pictures when they aren’t on stage. Some of the candid moments are the best!
- Watch other rehearsals. Not only will you get to see pieces that aren’t in your particular showcase, your dancers will get a sense of who other teachers are and their styles. Your ballerina may decide they want to give tap a try after seeing a great routine!
- Enjoy the show. If you aren’t assigned to be backstage, know that your kids are in great hands. Some of these backstage parents have been doing this for more than a decade and your children will be well cared for. And let’s face it, they usually pay better attention to someone else anyway!
- Mostly, have fun! Your dancers have worked hard all year and can’t wait to share what they’ve learned!
This week is one of the most fun times of the year. Dancers get the chance to perform for family and friends, and parents get to watch their kids do what they love. If it’s your first showcase, we hope that this guide has given you an idea of what it’s like, and if you are a recital pro, a reminder that this is going to be a lot of fun!
Kori Titus is the Hawkins Booster Club President and has been helping Ashton through 10 Showcases to date.