So how did we do it?
1. The dance studio emails the program to the parents in advance of the recital. I printed two copies of it and highlighted which dances the girls were in. I then wrote next to each one the accessories required and if there were any costume change-ups. For example, their tap costume had a red bow with it so I wrote "red bow right side" next to their tap dances so we wouldn't forget. They also had a plaid skirt and a tutu to wear with their tap costume. I wrote down which belonged with which dance. I had a copy of the program in my bag and the girls had a copy backstage.
2. I stored all of their costume accessories (headbands, glove, hip hop hat and bows) in a giant ziploc bag with "Allie, Anna and Emily" written on it.
3. I consolidated all of their costumes so we wouldn't have to drag 8 costume bags around. For example, all 3 ballet costumes went into the same costume bag. All three girls wear the same size costumes and are almost the same exact size for height and weight so it didn't matter who wore which costume.
4. Now this idea came directly from another mom. We used this tripod apparel rack to hang the costumes on backstage. She warned me that heavy items need to be stored on the inside or the racks could snap. This is a very inexpensive short-term solution if you have one recital a year. In this case, we used it twice - once for the rehearsal and then the next day for the recital. I know you can purchase suitcases with apparel racks specifically for dance but those are pricey - especially if you aren't going to be using it multiple times a year. (That's my frugal side talking.) The only negative to using the apparel rack was transporting the costumes and the rack. The girls were carrying their water bottles, dance shoe bags, the food bag, the hair and make-up bag and the accessories. I had to carry the apparel rack and all the costumes, which was a bit cumbersome.
5. Layer tights! The girls had tan tights for tap (Emily also wore hers for hip hop and Allie for jazz) and pink ballet tights. When they had a ballet dance, they simply pulled their pink tights on over their tan tights. This saved time from having to take tights off and then put them on again later. Their very last dance was ballet and they were so hot and sweaty, Allie said it seemed easier to just take the tan tights off and I agreed.
6. The girls wore these camisole leotards under their costumes so we didn't have to worry about where they changed costumes backstage. (Note that no men/boys are allowed in the changing area.) We tried on a few different brands and like Capezio the best. Be warned that most of these, regardless of the brand, run small. Be sure to size up. For everyday clothes, the girls wear size 7/8. We went with a children's size large and I'm expecting that these will fit the girls for 3 years. The straps are clear and can't be seen, and the back scoops down low. You can also adjust the straps to different lengths and positions.
7. Idea for next year! This came from another dance mom. When the girls take their costumes off in a rush, they drop them on the tables and benches. (The backstage area is in the school cafeteria.) I usually have time to grab the costumes and hang them back up but if I want to see the girls dance, I don't always have that time. Solution - use a laundry basket to keep items corralled. I think this is perfect and will definitely be trying it out next year.
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