How Long Is Too Long? The Case For Multiple Recital Performances

Photo courtesy of Tori Rogoski

There are two factors when it comes to deciding if you need to add a show: running length and audience capacity.

1 1/2 hours; 3 shows Though Tori Rogoski of Dance Education Center in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, has a comparatively small studio—175 students—she refuses to breach the hour-and-a-half limit on her three recital shows. "It's very important that grandma and grandpa and your aunt and uncle get to see you dance—and that they get to spend time with you afterward," she says. Growing up, Rogoski danced in recitals that lasted three and a half hours, which meant she only got to see her audience guests for a few moments after the show was over.

2 hours; 3–4 shows, depending on enrollment "I'm adamant about this: two hours. That's the most anybody can stand," says Carole Royal of Royal Dance Works in Phoenix. Recreational students perform their dances once, in one show. Competition kids have their own show for the numbers they've competed all year long. Repeat performances are limited to her opening number, the senior competitive company's small- and large-group numbers and that year's "distinguished dancers" (chosen by Royal earlier in the year) routines.

2 1/2 hours; 4 shows Joe Naftal of Dance Connection, Islip, New York, knows his studio's recital length is a little too long, but because it takes place in a big theater and the shows don't sell out, he can't yet justify adding on another one to reduce the overall running time. He does try to get any siblings in the same show, to give parents a break, and one show is entirely composed of 2-year-old class performances. Recreational students are only in one show.

Teaching Tips
A 2019 Dancewave training. Photo by Effy Grey, courtesy Dancewave

By now, most dance educators hopefully understand that they have a responsibility to address racism in the studio. But knowing that you need to be actively cultivating racial equity isn't the same thing as knowing how to do so.

Of course, there's no easy answer, and no perfect approach. As social justice advocate David King emphasized at a recent interactive webinar, "Cultivating Racial Equity in the Classroom," this work is never-ending. The event, hosted by Dancewave (which just launched a new racial-equity curriculum) was a good starting point, though, and offered some helpful takeaways for dance educators committed to racial justice.

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Higher Ed
The author, Robyn Watson. Photo courtesy Watson

Recently, I posted a thread of tweets elucidating the lack of respect for tap dance in college dance programs, and arguing that it should be a requirement for dance majors.

According to, out of the 30 top-ranked college dance programs in the U.S., tap dance is offered at 19 of them, but only one school requires majors to take more than a beginner course—Oklahoma City University. Many prestigious dance programs, like the ones at NYU Tisch School of the Arts and SUNY Purchase, don't offer a single course in tap dance.

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Teaching Tips
Getty Images

After months of lockdowns and virtual learning, many studios across the country are opening their doors and returning to in-person classes. Teachers and students alike have likely been chomping at the bit in anticipation of the return of dance-class normalcy that doesn't require a reliable internet connection or converting your living room into a dance space.

But along with the back-to-school excitement, dancers might be feeling rusty from being away from the studio for so long. A loss of flexibility, strength and stamina is to be expected, not to mention emotional fatigue from all of the uncertainty and reacclimating to social activities.

So as much as everyone wants to get back to normal—teachers and studio owners included—erring on the side of caution with your dancers' training will be the most beneficial approach in the long run.

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