Thursday, July 3, 2014

Dance Party (We Survived Another Recital Weekend!)

My daughter has taken dance classes since she was four.  If you know her, you will know this is something that we didn't have to push her into at all.  When I asked her (when she was four) if she might want to take dance classes, she responded so enthusiastically that I had to explain to her that we couldn't go right now.  The studio she goes to starts classes every September and culminates the year with a recital.  Let me just tell you, the recital is a big deal.  I was somewhat taken aback that first year when I was given a book with directions for the recital.  I really thought it was a little much.  "Can't we just come to class and see them dance in the classroom?" I thought.  We were told she would perform her ballet routine two nights that first year when she was five.  I also thought this was a bit ridiculous.  Ridiculous, that is, until I was horribly sick with the worse virus I had had in 20 years and couldn't make the first performance.  Then I was very glad there was a second performance!
This was her second recital.  The music was from one of the Tinkerbell movies.

This year was her seventh recital.  She now takes tap, jazz, hip hop, and ballet.  She attends class two times a week.  She has progressed from having one dance in the recital to three at this point.  That means three costumes, three dress rehearsals, and three stage rehearsals.  I've come to realize that this is not excessive.  I wouldn't think anything of so many practices or so much time if she were in a sport like soccer or volleyball.  It's been wonderful to see her progress and grow through the years.  Every year I ask her if she wants to dance again because I don't want to assume this will always be something she wants to do.  But every year, I'm more than a little happy when she says yes, of course.  The truth is, I love dance too, especially ballet.

For the past two years, we've had a dinner for the family members who travel to come up for her performance on whichever day they can come.  This year she was in all four performances, so the recital pretty much dominated the weekend.  I elicited her help in making some decorations for the celebratory "We Survived Another Recital Weekend" dinner. 

We made these snowflake ballerinas...


I found decorations and a template for these on Pinterest.  You can find that here.  We just used pink construction paper.  This was a good project that kept us busy for an evening.  We always use the flowers we give her after the first performance as decoration too. We get her one bunch on opening night and she gets one from the dance studio each night and usually a couple more from a relative or two as the weekend progresses.  They all went together nicely this year.

We also made pompom garland with yarn I already had from some other project. I plan to use this decoration technique a lot.  It's easy, cheap, and good entertainment for my kids.

I love to decorate and plan for parties and have found you don't have to spend a lot of money to do so.  Here are a few other easy, inexpensive things I did that can be used for all different kinds of themes.
1. Use pictures as decorations.
Every year, she gets formal pictures done in each costume.  I put them out in frames along with some from the past years.  I've also used pictures of my kids' first birthdays for birthday parties as well.  When my daughter turned 10, I made a picture timeline of her with all her birthday cakes over the years.  It's my experience that people love to see these.

2. Pick up some colored paper plates, napkins, silverware from Dollar Tree to color coordinate with your theme.  I usually buy paper plates for entertaining anyway, so why not make them color coordinate?


3. Use books as decorations. 
This is an especially easy one for me since I have quite a collection of children's books.  I used T is for Tutu, A Ballet Alphabet by Sonia Rodriguez and Kurt Browning with (beautiful) illustrations by Wilson Ong.

4. Display subway art that goes with your theme.  I got the download for the one below free from Pinterest.  Then I had it printed out at Walgreen's for a couple of bucks.  I've used it for the past two years.  I have a whole file of these for different holidays and occasions.  As I've mentioned before, I love decorating with words.

5. Make utensil holders out of recycled cans and jars by fancying them up with some stickers and embellishments that go with your theme.

6. Use or buy neutral serving pieces.  This allows the food be the decoration.
Over the years, all my serving pieces I've asked for or bought myself  (punch bowl, trifle dish, vegetable trays, cake stands) have been clear glass or white. No matter what color your food is, the pieces go with it.  I keep my pieces in my buffet hutch year round so they're easily accessible. When they're accessible, I'm more likely to use them for smaller get-togethers such as this one, as well as the bigger ones for major holidays and such.   Last year we made these pink lemonade cupcakes that we put on my cake stand tiers. 

To go along with this same picture...

7. Use toys/figurines that your kids already have if they go with the theme.  For the past three years, we've bought my daughter one of these ballerina figurines as a keepsake from her recitals.  This dinner was the perfect occasion to bust them out.  I've also used my son's Mario figures for his birthday party and my daughter's LaLaLoopsy dolls for her birthday party.
8. Keep the food simple. 
When you are having people over after an event, the crockpot is a lifesaver.  I made a simple taco soup before the afternoon show.  It was nice and hot when we got back. I served it with assorted taco toppings and Doritos.  I also made a Texas sheet cake the night before that was dessert.  I'm not sure why this always seems like the perfect dessert for this occasion, but it does!
Chocolate-y deliciousness!  Mmmmmm!

 I love to have an excuse, er reason for a party.  Why not surviving the dance recital weekend?



  1. Great ideas! I do the same with utensils and plates. For my daughter's bday we used stuffed animals as decorations (we call her Claire Bear so there were teddy bears all over-cheap and easy!). I love the subway art idea the snowflake ballerinas!

  2. Adorable! I especially love the ballerina cutouts! I always wanted to be a ballerina when I was young. What a neat idea to have a recital after-party!
    Thanks for linking up!