How to Prepare for a Solo in a Dance Recital

So you have a solo in an upcoming dance recital. Congratulations! Having the chance to show off your skills in front of your friends and family is an awesome opportunity. However, this can also be stressful or high-pressure, and you may find yourself feeling nervous or unprepared. Relax. While acing a solo is no easy task, there are steps you can take to make sure you're totally prepared when it comes time to perform. Continue reading below to find out what they are.


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    Go over your routine. If there are any parts you are struggling with, practice them until you are confident that you can get them right. If you cannot get them right, ask your dance instructor for extra practice. You may also ask to modify certain parts of the dance. If you can, practice to the music in order to achieve perfect timing. Be sure to pay attention to the technical parts of the dance too, not just the routine itself. These parts include posture, turnout, lift etc.
    • Practice daily in the week or two leading up to the recital, and ask your instructor to watch you practice. This will make sure you know the routine by heart and can perform it perfectly.
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    Gather everything you'll need for the recital. The night before your performance, collect everything you need to take with you and put it in the same place. Use your dance bag or another large bag so that it's easy to transport. This way you won't be frantically running around through your house looking for things and causing yourself more stress right before you're supposed to go onstage. Make a checklist: dance shoes, costume, makeup, tights, water, snacks, change of clothes. Consider putting this in a highly visible spot, in your car, or taping a note to your door so you don't forget it.
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    Prepare yourself physically the day of the recital. If the performance is in the afternoon or evening, make sure to eat a good breakfast and lunch, and have a snack an hour or two before you go onstage. Don't overeat, as this can make you feel bloated and slow, but make sure that you provide your body with enough fuel to get you comfortably through the performance.
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    Give yourself plenty of time to warm up. Make sure you arrive at the theater or studio, wherever the performance will be held, well before your performance so that you can thoroughly warm up and stretch before you go onstage. Dancing is a very physical activity and you could pull a muscle or otherwise hurt yourself if you try to perform before you're ready, so make sure you warm up slowly, stretch each muscle group, and get yourself completely ready before you begin dancing.
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    Apply stage make-up. This can include dark eyeliner, eyeshadow to match your costume, blush, and of course bright lipstick. It's okay if it seems heavy, as it is much harder to see from the audience. Proper stage makeup will accentuate your features and make your face and expression stand out, and it can make a difference in the way the audience sees your performance.
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    Put on your costume. Whether your costume is an elaborate dress or simply jeans and a T-shirt, make sure it fits well and allows you total freedom of movement. Try it on and practice your routine with it a couple of days before the performance, so you'll know if you have to make any costume changes. Before the performance, get dressed and warm up in your costume to make sure everything fits as planned. Keep a couple of safety pins on hand in case anything goes wrong.
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    Stay mentally strong. It is always important to be confident in yourself. Don't let the nerves get to you. You know that you can do your routine because you practiced (and practiced, and practiced, and practiced). This is your chance to shine and show people how talented you are. If you mess up just keep on going. The audience doesn't know the routine, and they won't have a clue. The best thing about going up on stage by yourself? Nobody can tell if you're doing it wrong.
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    Try to look like you enjoy dancing. Don't contort your face with the effort of a difficult move. A dancer's job is to perform and make even the most difficult of moves appear effortless and graceful. Take pride in your performance.
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    Have fun! As difficult or stressful as your solo might be, know that you've put a lot of work into it and deserve to enjoy it. Dancing should be fun, so once you're onstage, relax, put all the work and stress behind you, and simply enjoy the dance.


  • Always be sure to stretch and warm up before you dance. Cold muscles are more prone to injury, even after stretching.
  • If you use an inhaler bring it backstage with you just in case you need it.
  • Bring apple juice with you. It has sugar in it and provides more energy than water alone.
  • If the audience scares you, remember that you will most likely never see them again. And the people you will see again won't care if you mess up.
  • Celebrate afterwards! Go get ice cream or eat at a special restaurant to reward yourself for your hard work.


  • Always wear hairspray for obvious reasons.
  • Never hold your breath while dancing. It seems obvious, but when you're focusing on all of your movements you might forget to breath.
  • Wardrobe malfunctions are unfortunate, but prevalent. Consider bringing a small sewing kit to fix problems as they happen.

Sources and Citations

  • Twelve years of personal experience.

Article Info

Categories: Dancing