225 Northland Court NE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52402

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News from The Pointe School of Dance

Recital Music & Costumes: How We Choose at The Pointe

This week at the studio, our teachers are revealing their plans for recital routines – the music and costume that will help our instructors’ choreography come to life on stage.  Choosing these items takes time, energy, and dedication from our instructors to make sure their dancers are set up to succeed on stage in June.  If you’re new to dance, or new to The Pointe, we’re pulling back the curtain a little bit to show all of the thoughts and pieces that go into each selection.

Of course, we hope that dancers love every choice we’ve made for their classes – but know that sometimes a costume may not be in their favorite color or the music may be in a style that’s different than what they expect.  At The Pointe, we focus on making our costume and music choices healthy and positive for dancers – so that even if a dancer prefers purple and has a red costume, the experience of learning and performing the recital routine will be overwhelmingly positive.

The process starts even before classes begin in August!  Over the summer, dance teachers are creating music playlists and checking costume websites for new styles.  When classes start, we think about what themes will suit each class and the skills we’d like to showcase.  We try to find music and a concept that inspires us to create great choreography and that we think our students will love.  The best routines come from an inspired and excited choreographer.

Veteran dance families know the planning and preparation for recital well.  Today, we’re happy to shine some light on the process for new families.  Just in time for Costume Week, here’s a glimpse into music and costume selection!

Performing in the dance recital is the culmination of so many things that students learn all year long in dance class.  Even though we won’t start recital choreography until after the holidays, organizational work for recital has been happening behind the scenes for months.  Planning our recitals truly feels like planning 3 weddings on the same day with over 300 brides (and mothers of the bride)!

You’ll see the costumes and music selected for your dancer’s class(es) this week at the studio and on Facebook. (If you don’t already, follow us here so you don’t miss out!)  Here’s how we choose the costumes we select for each class!  Our instructors take great care in choosing the music and costume for each recital piece.

  1. What’s the theme?

    • Instructors vary in their method of determining their recital routines. Maybe they hear music on the radio, check the lyrics and content, then decide that catchy beat is perfect for their tap class.  Sometimes it’s hours of searching on Spotify or iTunes. Most teachers choose their music and theme before selecting their costumes. At The Pointe, our music selection is grounded by our YPAD Certification. We check all lyrics and ensure the messaging in the music is appropriate.
  2. Where do we shop?

    • There are dozens of dance costume companies that advertise to us. As a studio with 70+ recital classes per week and a thriving competitive program, we purchase a LOT of costumes. (Over 1,000 individual costumes per year!)  We choose to support costume companies that have proven to have great quality and stick to their advertised production and shipping timelines. We strive to be good stewards of the costume money we are entrusted with by our families and choose to support costume companies that produce age-appropriate and positive costumes for our kids. We believe in voting with our dollars and supporting the companies who are doing the right thing by putting the integrity and health of dancers above trends. Additionally, we choose not to support costume companies that produce and advertise hypersexualized costumes for kids.  Miss Vanessa has a great network of other dance studio owners and teachers that she works with – and we only order from companies with great reputations for quality and accuracy.
    • After the pandemic, we have fewer reliable costume companies than ever – 2020 and 2021 have been tough for businesses across the board, and some of the costume manufacturers we’ve used for years closed due to the challenges presented by the pandemic.  We aren’t out of the woods, yet, but are so thankful that our small business is still here.
  3. How do we choose?

    • Instructors look for costumes that will enhance their concept and theme onstage.
    • Teachers work within a budget to ensure we can keep costumes as affordable as possible.
    • Each teacher has a one-on-one meeting with our director and operations manager to go over recital plans and double-check the lyrics in each song and the selected costume against our YPAD standards.
    • We make sure we don’t have a song or costume repeated in the same show time, or a song that was used too recently with a similar style and age group.
  4. How do we order?

    • We have veteran dance parent helpers sizing dancers for costumes (if you haven’t come in, please do so ASAP!) by the front desk.
      • Dancers are measured for girth and try on sample sizes for the manufacturers their class(es) will use so we are confident we’re ordering the right size for each dancer.
    • After measuring, we organize our orders, double-check everything, and place our orders in early November.
  5. When do they come in?

    • Costumes are ordered in early November. Some may ship in only a few weeks!  Others that are manufactured overseas or made-to-order will take up to 5 months to come in.  We know ordering costumes in November for a June recital sounds crazy, but we’ve learned through experience that this timeline works.
    • This year, more than ever, we know about the supply chain issues going on and expect to see later arrival dates than normal.  Because of this, we’re ordering any dancer in-between sizes the larger size – we don’t anticipate the ability to exchange costumes.  It’s very simple to adjust a costume that’s a little too large, but it’s near impossible to adjust a costume that’s too-small.  We’ll have some suggestions for quick and easy alterations, and some help for those who need it, after costumes come in.
  6. What happens after they arrive?

    • We print labels for every costume, triple-check that everything is correct, sort by class, and individually label each costume.  Next, we distribute during class.  Dancers try on their costumes to make sure everything fits before they take it home!  Dancers will bring home costumes hung up nicely in a garment bag.  This helps families keep them safe at home until it’s time for recital pictures.
    • Traditionally, w have a day or two where veteran dance parents with alterations experience help any dancers who need it.  We hope to bring this back this spring!

When we start to receive costumes later this year, we’ll update the blog with tips on caring for and keeping costumes organized.  Costuming over 70 classes is a big undertaking. We are fortunate to have amazing instructors choosing beautiful costumes and gifted organizers on our team to make it all happen!


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