Holiday Shows Made Easy

Published October 3, 2017 by in All Things Dance, Dance Costumes, Teachers Tip, Wishful Thinking Print

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Holiday Shows Made Easy – A step by step guide to creating and costuming a Holiday Show

Written by contributor Tiffany Henderson with Amanda Scott from Twinkle Star Dance

At the beginning of every season, I sit down and try to imagine new things that I can incorporate into my studio. I take inventory from the previous year about what worked well, what didn’t catch on, what problems I ran into, etc and make a list. From there I circle two I want to implement and then I meet with members of my staff to create an action plan.

Things I’ve circled in past years include:

-Adult Dance Fitness classes

-Teen/Tween level classes

-Mini and Junior Showstars Lyrical classes

-Daddy Daughter Dance

-Storybook Recital

-The Nutcracker

-Dancin’ Holiday Magic Holiday Show

Since we are nearing the end of September, I am going to focus on one of the items I implemented in a previous season that was the most profitable and successful – Dancin’ Holiday Magic. By adding a Holiday Show to my studios, I was able to increase my tuition revenue, costume sales revenue, ticket sales revenue, concessions sales revenue and overall bottom line.

So you want to create a Holiday Show, but aren’t sure where to start? Here are 10 tried and true steps to a successful and profitable Holiday Show:

1. Get your Theatre and backdrop rental… yesterday. The holidays are a busy time and securing a venue if you’re not already “in” for the December dates can be tricky. I suggest calling and booking your venue ASAP. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and use community centers, school auditoriums, etc. for your first year to keep expenses down.

2. Pair your preschool and recreational classes with dances from Twinkle Star Dance. Depending on the size of your theatre you may only be able to accommodate 50 dancers in each show, for example.  On average we sell 4-6 tickets per dancer per show. If you have 10 preschool classes with 10 dancers in each class (for easy math) and your theatre can only seat a maximum capacity of 300; it is more profitable to have 5 dances (50 dancers) in 2 shows so you can sell more tickets.

3. Select costumes from A Wish Come True and set order deadline for parents. Check out the costume and choreography pairings at

4. Email information about your Holiday Show to all dancers invited to participate. Give them details like the Holiday Show date and tentative time, estimated costume price, ticket price, and extra rehearsals or studio picture dates outside of normal class hours. Reassure them that even if they don’t participate this year, they will still learn the choreography in class.

5. Measure and pass out class costume worksheets; email parents following the class with link to order. We utilize a free service called, that any subscriber to Twinkle Star Dance has access to. In short, enables parents to order their costume and select their size while I am able to make a guaranteed markup on each costume.

6. Schedule “Opening Number” and “Snow” rehearsals and fees for intensive dancers. Even though our recreational dancers are the stars of the Holiday Show, we still want to give parents the opportunity to see our intensive dancers perform. I suggest creating a Jazz routine for an Opening Number and Nutcracker Ballet excerpt to close the show. Don’t forget, if dancers have extra rehearsals to charge for the extra class time (and costumes). You can find our suggested Jazz, Snow and Waltz of the Flowers dance costume at Wish.

7. Schedule Daddy Daughter Dance rehearsals and fees for all dancers participating in the shows. Up the ante in your Holiday Show, include a special memory and performance opportunity for you dancers ages 3+. We charge $49 per family for 4 rehearsals. We love Wish’s H355 – White Christmas for a Daddy Daughter Dance.

8. Set ticket sales date and preorder date for Holiday Show volunteers. We usually target a Wednesday morning for our ticket sales date and open up tickets on the previous Tuesday to any parents and families that volunteer to be backstage or donate baked goods, etc. We charge $12.50 per ticket and have assigned seats.

9. Schedule In-Class Dress Rehearsals two-three weeks prior to your performance. Rather than having to pay for an additional rental at your theatre and generate anxiety among your dancers and families, I suggest holding and In-Class Dress Rehearsal during regular scheduled class hours. Have dancers wear their costumes, tights, shoes, makeup and hairstyle. Make sure to go over how to be performance ready and any show reminders (tickets, arrival times, etc).

10. In studio Holiday Show Picture Day – We normally try to schedule this to coincide with In-Class Dress Rehearsals on Saturday or Sunday. Make sure you are requesting anywhere from 10-20% of total sales from your photographer.

*Bonus* Sell Concessions at your Holiday Shows for even more profit. Some examples of concessions we sell out of each year are donated baked goods, hot chocolate, coffee, single roses, trophies, and t-shirts.

About Tiffany Henderson

Tiffany is the successful owner of seven Tiffany’s Dance Academy locations with over 2500 students and enrollment of over 4000. She produces four Nutcracker’s each December, a professional dance performance each year and her 300 performing company dancers participate in 4 convention competitions each season. Oh yeah, she also still teaches 15 hours a week and produces 25 annual recitals during the first two weeks of June. Tiffany is a regular guest speaker at Dance Teacher Summit, DanceLife Conference, Danceteacherweb Conference and contributor to Dance Teacher magazine, and Dance Informa Magazine.

About Twinkle Star Dance

Founded by Tiffany Henderson, owner of seven Tiffany’s Dance Academy locations in California, Twinkle Star Dance is a complete toolkit for studio owners that enables them to “plug” a recreational dance program into their existing studio without increasing their workload. Our mission is to help dance studio owners re-focus their efforts on the backbone of their studio….. the recreation 2-6 year old dancers and the tricky 6-12 year old beginners.

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