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What Do I Wear to a Ballet or Dance Recital? (Ideas for Men & Women)

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By Samantha Bellerose, B.Ed, Dip.Dance (Performing Arts)

Your son or daughter, grandchild, niece or nephew started their first dance lessons a few months ago. You are very excited about their progress; they are getting better every day at dancing. Soon they come up to you, a smile beaming across their face with tickets to their recital or dance concert and informative notes from their teacher that cover everything except for one question:

What you wear to a dance or ballet recital or concert will depend on the venue. If it’s at the local hall neat casual clothes are fine, but if the recital is being held at the state theatre then you should really try and dress up a little for the occasion. Remember either way you will probably end up getting your photo taken with your child or whoever you have gone to watch, so you will want to look nice for the camera.

It’s their first dance recital. You are ecstatic; you cannot wait to see your child up there, dancing in front of everyone. And of course, you are going to want to preserve the memory of the event. However, you do not want to see yourself in your comfy loungewear while your child is in costume and all made up in the pictures. You should dress up too, even if it is just in neat casual attire.

Want more information about preparing for a recital? Check out our Ultimate Guide for preparing for your dancers recital

What to Wear?

You can dress casually if the location calls for it and it is commonplace to do so. However, a good way to determine if your clothing choice is ok is to ask yourself if you would wear the same outfit to church or a similar venue.

Not sure what church appropriate means or need some help finding the perfect outfit as you are also helping backstage or just want some ideas? Keep reading as we have a heap of ideas and images, so you can browse the perfect look. We might spark your memory into remembering you have the perfect outfit in your wardrobe or alternatively, if you have absolutely nothing to wear all the clothing images contain links to so you can buy it if you like it too. Our lists are based on the what type of venue you might be attending and also if you are going to be a dress changer or helper backstage.

What to wear to a dance recital at the local hall or dance studio.

What to wear to a dance recital at a state theatre or similar venue.

What to wear to a dance recital if you are a backstage helper.

Darker clothing is always best for backstage helpers because you will probably want to stand side of the stage when your child is performing to be able to watch and you don’t want to be seen by the audience. So you might want to have a dark base such as black pants and a navy blouse or top but then add a more colorful cardigan or jacket to the outfit for wearing after the recital especially if you intend on going out for something to eat to celebrate the occasion.

Although some of the above outfits are worn with heels, you might want to pack these in your bag if helping out backstage. Flat pumps or sneakers will serve you better during the recital as you run around fixing hair and doing zippers and ballet shoe ribbons. We love some of the following options that are top-rated for being super comfy for all the running around you will do!

What NOT to Wear to a Dance or Ballet Recital!

There are a few things you want to might want to avoid wearing and we will explain why in the following. Most of these apply to both males and females!

  • A Hat
  • A suit or tuxedo or evening gown
  • Too much Perfume or Cologne
  • Bright Fluros
  • To much Jewelry
  • Anything too short or tight

For a clearer explanation on why you should not wear any of the above items, take a read of our article

What Else Should I Do or Not Do at a Ballet or Dance Recital?

Can I sit anywhere at a recital, can I bring young kids, can I leave once my dancer has performed?

These are just some questions you might have about attending a dance recital which we cover in our article What you Need to Know About Attending Dance & Ballet Recitals

More on Dressing Up

Going to a recital can be fun and exciting, and you really don’t need to worry too much about what you are wearing.

Your choice may depend on the place you are going to, what other people you are going with are wearing or if you are helping backstage.

At the end of the day if you do not care, then dress in jeans and a t-shirt.

But remember our actions speak louder than words and the dancer you are going to see might remember more the fact that you turned up in your old dirty track pants because they weren’t allowed to hug you in incase they got their costume dirty rather than the fact that you actually showed up and sat through the whole thing!

Related Questions

How long does a ballet or dance recital go for?

Most dance studio’s today try to limit their events to around two hours with an interval in between, as they realize that making them longer than this means that audience numbers tend to dwindle in the following years.

But if the dance school is not organized or has put too many numbers together a recital can go longer than expected.

Do you give flowers or a gift after a dance recital?

No, you don’t have to give flowers or a gift after a dance or ballet recital especially if you have just paid a pricey fee for your ticket.

Your presence and kind words after the performance are generally enough. Giving flowers to performers was and still is a tradition but it is one you don’t need to follow.

Although it needs to be said receiving flowers or a gift is always nice and can make your dancer feel extra special, but they are not expected. For more information read our article Do you need to give a dancer flowers or a gift after a dance recital?


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