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What's in a Recital Dance?

It is so easy and common to let one recital dance run into the next as you watch them back to back in a showcase. More students, more sparkles, more steps. Repeat. But have you ever really thought of what you’re truly watching? I find the performing arts to be such a crazy miracle, and I’ll try to put it into words. What our audience sees is unique to each person, but here are some of the things I see when I’m watching from the wings.  


Students often have to battle their inner voice. “I can’t,” and “I’ll never,” are so common in student’s inner mind games. By the time they get to the end of the season, new steps materialize solely because each dancer has decided to #fight those inner Negative Nellys, and they won!  Now they can say, “I did it!”



That brings me to the performance aspect of dance. I often use this little anecdote… If someone walked up to you in the street and asked you to bounce a basketball, you would be likely to oblige. Sounds like fun.  If the same person came up to you on the same street and asked you to dance, right there in front of them, most would say something like; “No way!” or “You first!” So how do these kids gather up the courage to get on stage with this #watchme mentality? I feel it has a lot to do with the confidence they gain when they #fight! They are so excited to show you what they can do! 



Routines that have one dancer and routines that have 40 dancers alike, all have this amazing and sometimes almost imperceivable #team dynamic. Parents and guardians have helped dancers along their journey all year long, looked after hair and make-up, and supported them with cheers and hugs. Teachers have provided a dance education, choreography, costume design, coaching and support. Costumes are sourced from all over the world, bringing fashion and sparkle from all over to our stage. Theatre staff provide technical assistance, lighting, sound, safety, and expertise. And of course, dancers work together to count together, dance together, tell a story together. 

If you take out any one of these key factors, the dance would not be the same, or even possible!  Each routine is a different #team, one after the other.



As students #fight, get that #watchme mindset and feel the support of their #team, you can’t help but notice their #growth. They’re not the same dancer they were in September. All these experiences have shaped them into the dancer you see onstage. As we attend recitals from one year to the next, we start to remember these faces from year to year, and how they’ve grown not only in height, but as a dancer!



The #stories that these routines tell can mix with the personal #stories of the audience, making live performance a different experience for each audience member. How the dancer tells the story and how the audience receives it is so unique and special.

When I think of all these ingredients of a recital dance, I can’t help but feel overwhelmed with gratitude for the recital experience. I remember my recitals from my childhood and bring that experience to watching our students’ journeys on the stage. It’s a joy to see them up there, and I can’t wait to see what they bring out for us this year! 


Share your recital stories and pictures with us online!  Tag us on Instagram @starpacademy, or Twitter @starpacademy with hashtag: #ItsFuntobeaStar

- Kristin Werner

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