More than Just Tap Shoes and Tutu’s

The Princess has been in dance class since the fall, and as we are winding down for the year, we are getting close to the yearly recital. Since we are dance class virgins, this is also our first recital experience, and I have to say, the whole thing makes me glad beyond belief that The Princess has already elected to return to gymnastics in the fall (as well as making Hubby happy by giving soccer a try). Dance class is scary.

The class itself costs no more than a typical class – I’ve found that all dance schools, all gymnastics classes, in our area, well, they tend to cost the same each month. HOWEVER, her dance class has a dress code. Pink leotard, pink tights, special type of ballet shoe, special type of tap shoe (versus gymnastics – wear what you can move in, no footwear needed). Already, the expenses were adding up from day one. Now, closer to the recital, we had to shell out $75 for a recital costume and t-shirt (yes, I’m aware that spending $75 on a puny leotard and a t-shirt that probably cost the studio $5 is asinine – I can’t even imagine what percent they marked that up at the parents’ expense). There are hundreds of kids in the various dance classes. Hundreds of kids means thousands of parents, grandparents, siblings, friends who need to see the recital… at $12 per ticket.

But before we get to the recital, we have… Recital Pictures. Which will ring up at a pretty $45. Nice.

They have a specified hairstyle for the recital. When the receptionist at the studio showed me pictures, I laughed and said, “Seriously? They want us to make our kids look like little Jon Benet’s?” And she laughed at me, and said, “Yes.”


So, not just hair, they have VERY specific make up requirements. Right down to the color and how we apply it. My little four year old will be wearing more make up for the recital than I will wear all year. I have a big problem sending my kid out looking like some prosti-tot. I just don’t think four year olds need eyeliner – I know that the “stage lights wash them out” – but seriously? They’re dancing. You should be looking at their feet, and not if their eyes are defined.

Which brings me to another fun one – no underwear allowed underneath the leotard. Now, this I sort of understand, IF the costume was just a little leotard. You don’t want the little undies peeking out – BUT The Princess’s costume has a skirt. And to be honest, four years old is a little too early to get in the habit of “going commando”. It really creeps me out that there are people in that studio thinking of this stuff.

Once we’re at the recital, wouldn’t it be nice to video the girls to send to far away relatives that couldn’t be there? Oh, yeah. It would be. BUT (you knew there was a but), YOU CAN’T. No cameras allowed. If you bring in a video camera, they will take the tape/recording device and (this is their words): destroy it. But (once again, there’s a but) you can buy THEIR DVD recording of the show at $25 a pop. Hmmm. Money-making scam, much?

Don’t even get me started on the insane number of rehearsals at inconvenient times where I’m going to have to juggle my life (as well as miss my stepbrother’s wedding) in order to get The Princess there.

This whole thing has me so irritated that I’ve been seriously biting my tongue during class. I’ve been sitting in that waiting room, collecting pieces of paper with rules about this and that, and I think, they are just sucking the joy out of all of this for the parents. This has ceased being fun for me at the moment. All I can think of is getting this damn thing over with. And that stinks – I wanted this to be fun! Come May 25, we are DONE DONE DONE with dance. Thank goodness.

About sarah

Sarah is a book nerd, a music lover, an endorphin junkie, a coffee addict. Oh, and a goof ball. She writes, she tweets, and she sings off key.


  1. weavermom says

    Wish I could not relate.

    I love the idea of dance for my daughter (she will easily be 6 feet tall one day, and if she is like me – will need every ounce of grace she can muster), but I was so relieved that she wanted to try gymnastics instead. For exactly the reason you mentioned – the recitals are such a production and they are on the stage for what? 2 minutes? Thankfully, ours did not have the makeup “rules” or the underwear rule. If they put the lights on them, the underwear will show through, but I can understand your reservation too! 🙂

    My daughter had a fever of 103 on the day of hers, and I was a horrible mom and took her anyway. She wanted to go and we had spent a fortune for her to be there. I sat in the back with her away from the other girls until it was time for the dance, and then we left. Her teacher was angry with me, but I wasn’t about to miss it or make her miss it.

    Hope a tiny bit of the joy comes back when you see her up doing her dance! It is sort of fun to watch (when it’s your kid!) if you can tune out how expensive it was. 🙂

  2. We went through that for years with my daughter, saying the same things that are in your post (You could live in our town!).

    We let her stay in because she loved it and her friends were in it.

    When she was in fifth or sixth grade (I can’t remember) they put the girls in a leotard that was so figure hugging that nothing was left to the imagination. She was embarassed, and I was embarassed for her. I was angry that the teacher would do that to her. My daughter bit her lip and decided to go on with the show. I look back and think…why didn’t I step in, but “everyone else was participating” so I left the decision up to her.

    When she was in seventh or eighth grade, she took dance class all year and when it was time for recital, she and her best friend decided NOT to participate. Again, I left it up to her to decide. The dance instructor said she’d never had anyone opt out before (I wish I could put the tone on it she used). I was proud of my daughter for standing up for the beliefs she had formed.

    Today she’s a strong young woman with strong opinions, much stronger than mine, and she is brave, so brave I worry that she will be penalized for doing what she thinks is right.

    She’s not afraid to stand up for what she thinks is right still today.

    She learned a lot from those dance classes…but it wasn’t necessarily how to dance.

    P.S. My granddaughter is in dance in the same studio, and her mom voiced the same concerns as you did just last week. I didn’t tell her this story. It’s one of those things they have to figure out together.

Speak Your Mind