Teaching Tips

Recital Magic: BalletRox

From "Boston—Our City." Photo by Rachel Hassinger, courtesy of BalletRox

Your year-end recital is your studio's pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Not only is it the time for your dancers to celebrate what they've accomplished during the year, it's your opportunity to demonstrate to parents firsthand the value of a dance education. A successful recital can also grant your school an influential role in the local community. Whether a prominent conservatory or a small-town studio, and whether your dancers win competitions or take classes once a week, your year-end recital is the chance for your dancers—and your program—to shine.


BalletRox

Valerie Maio

Jamaica Plain, MA

BalletRox is a nonprofit program that serves 100 low-income students in their after-school community dance program. Students pay minimal to no tuition.

Pro tip: "We want good venues and good costumes even if they come to us a little differently, but what's most important is the quality dance instruction we provide. We want our performances to be youth-driven, and for our dancers to learn the same set of skills they would at any other studio. Whether it's the most expensive costume or it's donated, the dancers are learning collaboration, perseverance, choreography and technique."

On themes: "Our most successful theme was 'Boston—Our City.' We are a youth-development organization, meaning the kids are very involved in sharing input and choreographing some of the numbers. It's important to us that the dancers research the subject of their pieces (like, say, the history of Fenway Park) before they create them. This theme allowed students to showcase parts of the city they love and represent."

Venue: "Our winter recital is performed in-house at the community center we share space at. In the spring we perform at the The English High School. It might not be fancy, but it really works for us."

Logistics: "We have five teachers, and a few interns, who are studying expressive therapies and creative movement at Northeastern University. It's all hands on deck. During our winter show, the students prepare scripts that introduce their piece to the audience."

Media production: "One of our board members has a nice camera and captures images of the performance. I also take some pictures on my iPhone backstage, and a community member films the show straight-on from the audience."

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