How We Select Music & Costumes

We are thrilled to start sharing our selections for recital music and costumes with families at the studio this week! Parents and dancers, when you see the music and costumes selected by your instructors, know that they have been chosen with care and vetted through our studio’s Artistic Standards, modeled from our YPAD (Youth Protection Advocates in Dance) Certification. At The Pointe, we are proud to guarantee that our artistic choices – music, choreography, and costumes – are always age-appropriate. Parents can be confident that their students will have thoughtfully chosen music to rehearse to, exciting and appropriate movement taught in class, and artistic costumes selected for performance that suit the choreography and are developmentally appropriate for their child.

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!

This process begins long before we are ready to share our plans with our families! By August, 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.

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 the 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 bridesmaids!

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 routine.

  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 the 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 80+ 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 who 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 who produce and advertise hypersexualized costumes for kids.  Miss Vanessa has networks of dance studio owners and teachers that she works with – so we only order from companies with great reputations for quality and accuracy.
  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.
    • All teachers submit their costume choices to the studio
      • Miss Vanessa personally double-checks each costume and song to make sure they adhere to YPAD guidelines, and to be sure we don’t have duplicate costumes in the same show.
  4. How do we order?
    • Dancers are sized with a combination of measurement and trying on a size sample from the manufacturers we order from. This takes place throughout October, and parents are welcome to bring their dancer in and help our costume sizing team select the best size for their dancers.
    • Next, we reveal costumes during Costume Week (October 24-30).  We post on Facebook and show all of the students and parents during class.  It is SO FUN to see a class get excited about their recital routine!
    • 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 super early, but we’ve learned through experience that this timeline works.
  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.
    • In May, we traditionally have a day 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 at the front desk and behind the scenes to make it all happen!