A dance recital is your chance to show off all the hard work you and your dance company have done over the past year. One of the best ways to commemorate this wonderful event is with a well-written, beautifully designed dance recital program. This program has many uses. Audience members enjoy reading programs as a preview of the night’s events.
However, a dance recital program is more than just a “menu” of the evening. It’s a record of your dance team’s accomplishments and part of your portfolio. It’s also a memento for friends and family members. A program gives even the smallest, fledgling dance company a professional image.
Create a Program They’ll Want to Keep
How do you create a program that you’ll be proud to share and that will serve as a lasting keepsake? In this guide, we’ll walk you through the design, layout, and graphics that will help you create a beautiful program. Don’t worry if you’ve never designed anything. With today’s technology, dance program creation is easier than ever.
Planning for Your Dance Recital Program
Are you ready to get started? Here’s an outline of the steps you need to complete a program. Give yourself plenty of time to get this done. It should be an enjoyable project, and rushing to meet a deadline will make it less fun.
- Count on needing 8 to 20 pages.
- Get photographs of your dancers. Make sure you have these ready before you start designing your program.
- Make a rough layout of the program.
- Choose a template and begin designing your pages.
- Write the program sections. Include a history of your dance company, profiles of the dancers, and descriptions of each dance.
- Choose graphics and artwork.
- List your sponsors, and make sure you have all their business cards or logos.
- Continue editing the program until you’re happy with the final layout and design.
- Get your program professionally printed.
What To Include in Your Dance Recital Program
Certain elements are traditional to every dance recital program. When you create yours, be sure to include these sections. You can add others if you like, but these are the basics you should have.
Start with Some History
Open your program with a history of your company. This is your chance to share your dream with your readers. Talk about what inspired you to start a dance company, and add something about your background. If this is your first recital or another significant milestone, mention that.
Your introduction should inform your readers how excited you are about the evening’s program.
Introduce the Team
Write an overview of the directors, choreographers, instructors, and others who made the recital possible. In some programs, this appears as a letter from the director. Be sure to thank the audience in your letter.
List the Dances and the Music
The setlist is one of the most important parts of the program. It’s the list of each dance and the music that goes with it. When you write the setlist, be sure you include:
- Dance title
- Principal dancer
- Other dancers
If your show has an intermission, let your readers know when that will be.
Profile Your Dancers
Set aside a special section to highlight the stars of your show. Your dancers are the heart of the recital, and most people will find this the most relevant and memorable part of the program.
Include a photograph of each dancer. Headshots are excellent if you have a large company. If your company is small, consider using photos that show the dancers in their costumes. Have each dancer strike a favorite pose for the shot.
What’s the best way to get good photographs? In most cases, your camera phone isn’t good enough. Buy or borrow a high-quality digital camera that makes it easy to download photos to your design program. If you have the space for it, add a brief biographical note about each dancer.
Use Templates To Make Designing Easy
Templates make it easy to design all types of publications. If you need help with dance program creation, there are ready-made templates available. These feature point-and-drop ease and premade, customizable templates that turn you into a graphic designer.
Where can you get these templates? Here are some ideas.
- Canva: Canva is a software program that helps you design programs and brochures. Canva comes in a free version that will be more than enough for most of your needs. Each template is customizable and easy to use.
- Etsy: Etsy offers dozens of one-of-a-kind templates. They are available for instant digital download and can be customized to your needs.
Photographs make any publication look good, and your program will come alive with pictures of your dance company at work.
Did you or someone else take pictures during rehearsals or auditions for the recital? You probably have an excellent selection of photographs showing the recital from its beginning to the final production. Include some of these in your program. People always enjoy seeing creative works in progress while they’re viewing the result.
Other photographs might include pictures of the stage, the surrounding community, your biggest sponsors, and even local landmarks.
Images are important when creating brochures, pamphlets, or programs. You can decorate your program with pictures of dancers or any images you find inspiring. The good news is that you can get professional-quality stock photos and illustrations for low or no cost from several sources.
Even better, many of these sites offer royalty-free and copyright-free images that you can use without worrying that you’re violating copyright laws. Some of them request an artist’s credit and nothing more. To add a credit, simply type a line like “Drawing by Jan Smith” under the illustration.
Here are some reliable sources of free, easy-to-use images.
- Unsplash: You can use the images free for anything except to create a similar website.
- Pexels: These images are also free and free to use anywhere.
- Free Images: Choose stock photos and other pictures that you can use free with a few restrictions that are listed.
- Stocksnap.io: This is an excellent source of free photographs.
- PicJumbo: This site offers free images and has a premium photo collection that you must pay to use.
- New Old Stock: Use this site to find vintage and historic photos you can use freely.
Liven It Up with Quotes
Dance has produced many renowned artists, and they’ve expressed their love for their art in inspiring words. Your program will come alive when you insert quotes from famous dancers and others. Use a quote on the opening page or at the top of each section.
Here are some quotes to get you started.
“Every dance is a kind of fever chart, a graph of the heart.” – Martha Graham
“You live as long as you dance.” – Rudolf Nureyev
“I am a person who knows how the arts can change lives because they transformed mine. I was a dancer.” – Jacques d’Amboise
“Dance is music made visible.” – George Balanchine
“There are shortcuts to happiness, and dancing is one of them.” — Vicki Baum
Thank Your Sponsors
Your sponsors have helped make this evening possible. Be sure to thank them in the last section of the program. Including their logos or business cards makes it easy for your readers to find them and use their services.
Get Professional Printing
You’ve done a lot of work on your dance program creation. Don’t ruin it by using a photocopying service to run off copies. Instead, give it a polished look with professional printing. You’ll get the sharpest images and cleanest font when you use a real printing and publishing company.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this guide to designing a dance recital program. At Dazzle Printing, we help you look good in print. To get the price of printing your program, use our printing cost estimator.