25 Things Every Mom Needs for Dance Recital

dance recital items, what to use at a dance recital, recital hair,

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Want to see a fish out of water? Come follow me this week after work as I prepare for and attend rehearsals for my daughter’s dance recital Saturday.

Let me first explain that we had our daughter later in life. Focused on my career, I was 36 and had never changed a diaper when our bundle of joy arrived…and now I’m in charge of preparing her for a dance recital all by myself?  Most friends my age have kids twice my daughter’s age. I didn’t realize we lived so differently during dance recital season. So this, behind-the-scenes, seemingly chaotic event wasn’t even on my radar. I’ve learned it takes a little planning and preparation to make the dance recital less foreign to this mom.

If the other moms didn’t notice, I’ve been studying and observing them…not in creepy, stalky kind of way. But in a…What did you bring in that bag? How do you make a bun with this thing and hair? Oh, bobby pins should match the hair color. How many safety pins can a person have? Are safety pins still being manufactured?…kind of way.

So here’s my list:

25 Items Every Mom Needs for Dance Recital

  1. A large bag for the rest of the items on this list
  2. Baby wipes
  3. Q-tips
  4. Travel-size packet of tissues
  5. Bobby pins (Bring various sizes and in the color of your child’s hair.)
  6. Ponytail holders/Hair elastics
  7. Comb and brush
  8. Hairspray
  9. Bun making accessory (I use the original hairagami. It makes a nice even bun even for an amateur like me. Check out Pinterest for plenty of other options to consider.)
  10. Foundation/base/powder
  11. Baby Powder for itchy costume relief
  12. Eyeshadow in a rainbow of colors you’d never normally wear (Or you might.)
  13. Mascara (Understandably, kids don’t seem to grasp the concept of mascara. You may need those baby wipes and Q-tips mentioned above for this step.)
  14. Blush
  15. Lipstick
  16. Make up brushes
  17. Clear nail polish for mending snagged tights
  18. Safety pins in a variety of sizes (Be a doll and share these without expecting them to be returned.)
  19. Costume Notes (Our dance teacher provides a sheet with costume photos and how accessories are to be worn. It’s also cross referenced with the song. I find this to be genius and very handy.)
  20. Costumes and accessories (“Keep these organized, people.” I say things like this to myself.)
  21. Recital schedule
  22. Non-stain-potential activities to pass the time during the recital (deck of cards, iPad, kindle or games. Kids never seem to be interested in the “let’s all sit motionless” game.)
  23. iPhone, camera or video camera
  24. Recital gifts for post-recital celebration (I don’t put his in my bag, but I wanted to mention it because I would not have known about this. {This is one my “I don’t know what I don’t know” kind of issues for me} Recital gifts are a tradition. Our local florist is great at handling and delivering some festive balloons, flowers or gift arrangements in various price ranges.)
  25. Shoes (Don’t forget the dancing shoes.)

I keep the majority of these items in my bag all year to ease my last minute preparations and maintain my sanity.

What am I missing? If you have any additions to the list, let me know in the comments.

Thank you, Jamie Bennett of Dance Stars, for offering dance in Lake Village. Your ability to teach, lead, organize, create and present a beautiful recital amazes me.

Happy dance recital week!


  1. Lisa says:

    Bwahaha I have forgotten #24 too many times and it’s really unforgivable because piano recitals only have like 3 or 4 things on the list. #parentingfail

    • Delta Moxie says:

      I’m good at forgetting #24, too. Glad I’m not alone in the #parentingfail. Hey, I’d add another item to my list…#26 Wine for Mom. Apparently, there are rules about that so I may partake in that post recital. Hugs, Kellee

  2. Jodee says:

    Ah, I remember it well…like it was just yesterday! We had to make/sew part of the costumes ourselves. Luckily, I can sew thanks to my own mother and aunt, but I usually don’t let anyone know I can for fear of being called upon to do this for others. Sounds like you had a wonderful recital and handled all the details well. I can just see you out there asking questions and figuring it all out…I’m sure you did great! Your post will help others who are too shy to ask for help…nice work…great post!

    • Delta Moxie says:

      Jodee, Moms had to make/sew part of the costumes? Whoooaaa…You are super woman.

      Cheers to all of the moms that had to make/sew dance recital costumes! Thanks for your kind words.

      The dance recital hasn’t happened yet. It’s this Saturday. As for the details, I will do my best to relax and let the dancing happen. There are plenty of bobby pins and safety pins for all. Big hug to you! kellee

  3. Cindy Smith says:

    Brings back memories of when my daughter was in dance. I would add flip flops to the list and a bottle of water.

    • Delta Moxie says:

      Cindy, Hope all is well! Flip flops and a bottle of water are perfect additions to the list. Adding #’s 27. Flip flops & 28. Bottle of water (#26 will be some sort of post recital sip of wine for mom). So glad you commented!

  4. Jodi says:

    Great list! I’ll have this handy for tomorrow and Saturday (dress rehearsal and the REAL DEAL). We attended a dance competition earlier in the year…I’m afraid some of those moms had what they considered 100 things every dance mom should have. You know — all that stuff that fits into their automatic pop-up closet? I was amazed! I’ll be lucky if I get there with 25. Thanks, Kellee! 🙂

  5. Kirsten Adams says:

    Add double-sided tape (or lingerie tape) to your list. Helps with keeping costumes where they should be.

    • Delta Moxie says:

      Kirsten, Excellent suggestion! Everyone, add this to your list… #29. Double-sided tape (or lingerie tape) to your Dance Mom Bag. I’d actually put this item higher up in the list, but we’ll make it #29 for now.

      Thanks for stopping by! Did you already have your dance recital or is it coming up?

  6. Melissa says:

    Thank you for the list! As a dance teacher this was a great “share” on our Facebook page with our recital coming up Saturday! Thanks again!!

    • Delta Moxie says:

      Melissa, I’m so honored you found my list helpful! That makes my smile from ear to ear! Thank you for sharing it and for leaving such a lovely comment. Let me know of you find anything else to add to the list. Have a fantastic recital!!!

  7. Terri Connery says:

    I am the grandmother of 2 little first time ballerinas. On the second night of the recital I was asked to go behind the stage ( 4 hours )to help with the hair, makeup, and costume changes. This is not for the weak or grandmothers. Kudos to all you dance moms. Help, how do I say no next year?

    • Delta Moxie says:

      Terri, isn’t it a whole different world? You are an incredible grandparent for stepping up to the task. Being behind the scenes helps me appreciate the effort of organizing such a production. As far as saying no next year…well, you have a year to choose which role you prefer…backstage assisting or viewing in the audience. Then make your intentions clear. Personally, I have come to enjoy the backstage part. I know…call me crazy. Thanks for stopping by! Bet you had some beautiful ballerinas!

  8. Gina says:

    I too had my baby late, two months shy of 40! So, at 50, I suppose recitals are what is keeping young and energetic (ha!). My 11 yr old is having her 8th dance recital this weekend–dress rehearsal tonight. All of these are great to have on recital day. Additional suggestions are a handmirror, a yoga mat, beach towel or blanket to sit/play on, spray glitter for extra sparkle on-stage, and a hair net to smooth ‘fly-aways’ on your bun. OH- and label EVERYTHING!! Just when you think she’s dressed “Perfectly”, something goes missing just before performance.

    • Delta Moxie says:

      Gina, Yes, recitals and these girls are keeping us young and energetic! Hope your recital was fantastic! Thank you for the additional suggestions. They are perfect!
      +yoga mat, beach towel to sit/play on (to stay clean and snag free)
      +spray glitter (glitter is my favorite color)
      +hair net (I wore these when I was younger and showed horses) great idea!
      +label everything (vital for costume changes!)

      Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your comment! 🙂

  9. Lindsey says:

    I danced as a child and now BOTH of my girls dance and I also help teach so am involved in running our recital. I organize by child and put accessories per costume in a ziplock, poke a hole in the bag and slip it over the hanger hook. I also make a list as to what shoes go with which costume. 16 dances between girls with only 2-3 between each gets crazy! I also bought a pocket sized sewing kit that came in handy and hook and eyes. Probably over prepared but the few small things in the sewing kit came in handy!

    • Delta Moxie says:

      Lindsey, girl, that is a genius suggestion! As moms, we don’t want to lose any of those dance costume accessories! And you help run the recital and teach! Have any other suggestions? I’m working on an update to this. I bet it gets so crazy with that many dances. It does still sound like fun! Thanks for stopping by! Hope your recital was a smashing success!

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