• JessicaIsDancing

Nutcracker Survival Guide

Updated: Jan 7, 2019

It's the most wonderful time of the year! Some people call this the Holiday Season, but dancers call it Nutcracker Season.

From December 1st until that recital date, it's all hands on deck (or maybe all feet on stage). Your post-nutcracker resume will likely include everything from costume creation to set design.

But, the more projects you take on for the good of the show, the less time you have to take care of yourself -- so follow these tips to glide through your version of the Nutcracker this season!

1. Pack a Dance Emergency Kit

Sewing kit, scissors, and thread

You'll most likely be outside of your normal dance habitat for the show -- this means the theater will not come fully equipped with your usual stash of spare shoes, bandages, hand sanitizer, etc. Make sure you have a bag of everything you and your students may need! For a list of suggestions, check out my post here: [What's in my dance bag?]

2. Establish a Good Studio/Life Balance

Hands completing paperwork

For creative-types, it's hard to leave work at work (especially when work is so fun!) But during performance times, try to establish a set time before or after rehearsals to do your own thing with no dance involved. Take a hot bath, binge your fave holiday movies, or go out for dinner with friends.

3. Have Clear Expectations for Students (and Parents)

Dancer posing onstage in front of clapping audience

While you might be 100% focused on delivering a top-notch performance on recital day, students and parents have other concerns this time of year. Christmas shopping, holiday travel, and Santa are all competing for their attention. So, make your expectations for students easy to understand, and get them out early.

It doesn't hurt to start prepping your dance parents early about the nature of rehearsals: sometimes things go wrong on stage, with costumes, or with lighting. Explain that you will always do your best to keep rehearsals on schedule, but prepare them for the possibility of delays. This way, parents won't be blindsided and you won't have as many kids being pulled out of rehearsal early by frustrated parents.

Here are a few more things to think about: What is your policy on filming practices? On parents and friends watching dress rehearsals? Will you need parent chaperones backstage?

4. Thank Your Students!

red gift, ornaments, and tinsel

Let your students know how much you appreciate their hard work after the show is over. There are lots of cost-effective ways to show your gratitude! Try passing out candy canes, or give out holiday cards with a note to each student about what they did well. (Just keep allergies in mind if giving out snacks!)

What do you do to survive the Holiday Season? Let me know in the comments!


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