5-6-7-8: A Guide For Aspiring Dance Moms


So your kids have decided they just love dance.

They are in multiple classes throughout the week ranging from ballet to tap to hip hop. You have spent the year in the waiting room of the dance studio chatting it up with the other mom’s and dad’s who have kids who love dance. You have fund-raised for costumes, downloaded each song that your kids are dancing too, watched for hours and hours and hours while they practice, practice, practice. All of this dedication has lead up to this moment-the End of the Year Dance Recital.

Gracie in Mid Air
Photo Credit: Melissa Belrose

The emails directing that your child be ready for rehearsal at 5:37. Follow that up with a request to have your child present on recital day 1-2 hours prior to showtime in FULL STAGE MAKEUP….What? Visions of Abby Lee dance through your mind and you are overwhelmed with glitter and sequins and for the love of Baryshnikov, do they really think your kid is going to keep there sh** together while they are waiting for their turn?

Let’s all just take a deep breath and remember why we are here. It’s because our child loves dancing, right? (Fingers crossed it’s not because you are vicariously living out your dreams of being a dancer through them!)

So here’s a quick guide to faking it before you make it. How YOU can pretend you know what you are doing in the Era of the Dance Mom:

Bun intact. Applying makeup
Be Prepared!! Photo Credit: Melissa Belros

First-Be prepared. Give your daughter’s hair a little practice round. How long will it take you to twist that knot so hard your child appears to have received some Botox treatment? And then smooth that shellacked head of hair back and pin, pin, pin until your heart is content and her hair is secured! What? She has to change into a Hip Hop costume and have her hair down next? Whoops! You probably should have lightened up on the hair spray. If only you had practiced…Think about the costume changes, when they come and how you will need to help them transform for multiple dances.

Since we are already assembling our “tool boxes”, let’s not forget the makeup. Go ahead and get yourself one of these:

portable storage box filled with dance items
Photo Credit: Melissa Belrose


Insert the following: Hair spray, gel, comb, teasing comb, glitter, scissors, tape, first aid kit, ice pack, static guard, tampons, nail polish remover, safety pins, lint brush, sewing kit, q-tips, eyelash glue, body tape, scotch tape, duct tape, power strip (for all of the tools), straightener, curler, lotion, bobby pins, clear nail polish, tights, make up remover, water, all the dance shoes, band aids, power bars, earrings, Advil, tums, hair accessories for each costume, etc.. So just the basics, really.

Practice using the words, “stop moving” but use a sweet voice that won’t imply that if your little angel doesn’t stop moving some of her hair might be dislodged from her precious little head. You’ll need to say these words about 600 times while you are putting in the bun.


If you have two kids, you can get this one-

Lila with her Dream Duffle
Photo Credit: Rae Martin
Rack for Duffle
Photo Credit: Rae Martin


See that rack for hanging the costumes. Sure you could fit your children inside, but think how prepared you’ll be? And when your children collapse from exhaustion, you can just wheel them on out, because of course it has wheels.

Or you can start a little smaller. Usually, a ballerina needs red lipstick and blush. And learn to do this:

Dilynn with her makeup done
Photo Credit: Rae Martin

Dance wings. You’ll need liquid eyeliner. And be prepared to also do it for all your child’s friends who’s parents have not yet read this guide.

FYI: Boys require a little “stage makeup” too. We went easy on my 4 year old this year-a little blush, but it was recommended that I also put on eyeliner.

Emmet and the Ladies
All Boys Should Dance

Learn the following terms:

Dress Rehearsal-A rehearsal. In costume.

Quick Change-Requiring a change of costume, quickly. Like maybe there is one song in between. Ask for help, but be ready. There is usually an area right next to the stage, but it may not be private so while you are stripping down one costume and pasting on another, assure your child that “nobody can see them” so they don’t get embarrassed. Then praise them while other more experienced dancers are around, “Great job sweetie! Your first quick change!” The other dancers will be impressed by your coolness and your abounding knowledge of stage and dance.

Tulle-It’s not just about knowing what it is but also how to pronounce it. This is pronounced “TOOL”. No, not like a Vermonter, you actually have to say the last consonant. If you want to sound ultra sophisticated, you can pronounce it “Tyool”-like the British.

Bun heads-all the ballerinas. It’s not mean, it’s just true.

Foot Undeez-these literally look like mini underpants. For your feet. They even have thongs.

Rhinestoned Foot Undeez
Undies for your Feet.

Some closing words of advice: have your little princes and princesses go potty before squeezing into those tights and sequins and long before they go onstage…there is nothing like the stress of a last minute emergency!

Confession: I cry at every dance performance. Even when my kids aren’t dancing. It’s the sense of overwhelming pride and joy that is exuded by dancers and parents and teachers. And that is why I’m happy to be a dance mom!

How do you prepare for your child’s big events?

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Hi, I’m Maggie. I have two spunky, hilarious and active children. Zoey was born in 2008 and she is currently in first grade. Emmet was born in 2011 and has a combination of childcare providers. I’m digging this parenting adventure and cross my fingers each day that I’m not screwing my kids up too much. I’ve invested in a good health care plan so I’m prepared to offer counseling to them as they grow. I love cooking. I hate cleaning. And I wonder if I’ll ever feel like a “real” grownup! (I secretly hope not). In 2015, I was diagnosed with Stage IV Breast Cancer. This has made a huge impact on my life, my family and my priorities. It's also made looking on the bright side the focus of my life. Follow more of my musings on my personal blog maggiesbrightside.com!


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