It is recital season and I am here to tell you…
YOU. ARE. NOT. ALONE.
If you are wishing you could crawl into a hole with a bottle of wine and a whole cheese pizza, then you are not alone. I did that yesterday.
Kidding people… I am a responsible adult!
Day in and day out, we live to share our passion for dance. But sharing our passion for dance means we also have to be business people. At recital time that means attempting to be organized and sane all while planning performances for 250 dancers and 800 of their family members. You no longer enjoy daylight or sleep, and at stoplights you are choreographing to showtunes while picking glitter off your stretchy pants. Fortunately, you are not alone. I have a few tips to keep your cool when the going gets tough.
- Make a master list. If your notes are disorganized, you will be too. Sitting down and making a master list is the best way to stay organized. You will be able to see what tasks you can delegate in addition to monitoring task completion. Ideally this is done at the start of the season, but its never too late to take an hour to wrap your head around this giant project you purposely put yourself in charge of.
- Take a break. I basically have a permanent butt imprint in my work chair because of the amount of sitting I do, but that’s not really healthy. I have read a hundred articles about taking regular breaks and none of them tell me that breaks are bad. In fact, breaks – particularly outside – actually make us more productive. So take ten minutes to reset and rejuvenate. Maybe even a power nap if you are a better sleeper than me!
- Set communication boundaries. Our job is to serve our clients, but if we cannot provide them our full attention, we are doing them (and us) a disservice. The time all parents want to ask you ten gazillion questions about the performance is when you are rushing between classes trying to get three year olds to their spots, costumes to the teacher in the next studio, and music from the back office. Have someone designated to answer questions during those busy times or set a policy for how parents should communicate (email? phone? during specified time frames?). My clients hate when I ask to call them back, but I am of no help when I am frantic and my attention is divided. Set some boundaries and be diligent about focusing your attention on communication when the time is right.
- Ask for help. Not like – go to a mental institution – kind of help, although that may be right where you think you are headed. But alas, I am referring to those parents with time on their hands or teachers looking for a few extra hours. Maybe even a temporary virtual assistant. Anyone can buy costumes from a master list of measurements and stuffing programs is not my idea of using time wisely. So do yourself a favor and ask for help.
- Remember the why. Take a minute to write down your why. Why is this important to you? Why do you do it? Whatever your why may be, it is imperative you don’t push it aside because, in the grand scheme of things, that is all that really matters. The typo in the program or the mistake with the lights will be forgettable. You will find joy and success in the midst of the chaos because you have dedicated yourself to serving your why.
That’s all I’ve got, folks! I am wishing you the best of luck this recital season. Take it from someone who is in the middle of the tornado I like to call “Dance Competition Season.” One step forward is movement. It might be slow but you aren’t dead yet!