stume Alterations:

When you receive your costume, you most likely will need to make alterations to make sure that your child’s costume fits properly and that all parts are secure.

The costume companies send us a costume that is closest to your child’s measurements, but few are exact fits. Even though careful measurements are taken of each student in the fall, we cannot predict how a student might grow by the time of the recital, nor whether the costume companies will size costumes on the small or large side. We intentionally try to order costumes slightly large to allow for growing room; however, even with this, a child can grow more than we predict and the child’s costume can arrive fitting small. It is impossible to expect that the costumes will fit everyone perfectly. Each family should assume that they will need to sew and make alterations on their costumes.

Note on sewing:

Many panic over the thought of this! However, you do not need to be a great seamstress to put your costumes together. Most sewing on costumes is done through a simple technique called “tacking”. Ask us how to do this. Threading the needle is the hardest part. Please remember that we follow the 25-foot rule: What does the costume look like from 25 feet away? In other words, it does not need to be perfect close-up.

We know that there are many people who dread the thought of a threading a needle. We have occasionally been asked (begged) if there is any way that the studio could make sewing alterations for the students. Some studios do offer to make all alterations on costumes for their students; however, they also typically charge $10 to $20 more per costume (on everyone’s costume whether they need the service or not) to cover the additional cost of possible alterations. We have not wanted to charge our families this added amount, especially for something they might not need.

If You Need Sewing Help:

See our list of local tailors.

Caring for your Costume:

Do not iron your costume. Even a cool iron can melt the fabric. Most costumes arrive very wrinkled; hanging them in a steamy bathroom will remove most of the wrinkles.

Do not wear your costume. Please do not let your children wear their costumes until after the performance. We cannot get replacements.

Label all costume parts (tights, shoes, costumes, and headpieces) with your child’s name. Since there will be a number of children backstage with the same costume, costumes can easily get mixed-up or lost.

Keep accessories together. We suggest you keep all your costume parts together. One option is to place the accessories (headpiece, gloves, etc.) in a plastic zip-loc bag, poke a small hole through it, and hang it on the same hangar as the costume.


All students will need to obtain specified tights for the dress rehearsal and the recital. Check the Recital Information Chart in the spring to determine the specific style and color of tights you will need for each number.

Footed, Footless, or Convertible?

Tights are either footed, footless, or convertible. Convertible tights have a slit on the bottom so the tights can be pulled up over foot and worn as either a footed or footless tight. Footed (or convertible) tights are needed for most numbers. Tumbling and Modern students will be dancing in bare feet, so they need either footless or convertible tan tights. If a Tumbling or Modern student has other numbers that require tan footed tights, they should get tan convertible tights, which will work for both.

Tights for Costumes With Jazz Pants:

Several Tap, Jazz, and Hip Hop classes have costumes that have long jazz pants. Parents have asked if they need to buy special tights if their child’s costume has long pants and you can’t see the tights anyway. If the required tight color is tan, you may wear tan colored pantyhose instead of purchasing tan tights as long as the color shade of the pantyhose matches the shade of our required tan tights. If the required tight color is black, or we have indicated “black socks”, you may wear any color of tights or pantyhose under your costume and wear black knee socks on top instead of purchasing black tights.

Tights chart


All students will need to obtain specified footwear for the recital. See the Recital Information Chart to determine what style of shoe you will need – the information will be posted in the spring. Call the studio or ask your teacher if you have a question. Do not buy new shoes unless your old shoes are really filthy or do not fit. Small smudge marks will not be seen on stage. Shoes can be spot cleaned with mild dish soap. Students taking more than one jazz class, more than one tap class, or who are in the Performing Group may need to obtain an additional pair of shoes.

Tap Shoes

See the Recital Information Chart to determine what style of tap shoe you will need.

Students wearing black patent leather tap shoes should remove the shoelaces. A black piece of elastic should be looped and sewn through the eyelets. This will hold the shoes onto your child’s foot and eliminate the need to tie anyone’s shoes. If you cannot find black elastic, use white and color with a black magic marker. If your tap shoes are to be dyed a different color, use white only, not black elastic.

Note: Students doing tap dances in the Kinderdance and the Child 1-5 levels should obtain black patent leather tap shoes. However, several students in the Tap 5 level have started obtaining the higher quality oxford tap flats instead of the usual patent leather tap shoes. This is fine. For all other levels of tap, please refer to the Recital Info Chart for style of shoes. Call the studio or ask your teacher if you have a question.

Jazz Shoes

Please refer to the Recital Info Chart for style of shoes. Call the studio or ask your teacher if you have a question.

Ballet/Pointe Shoes

Ballet shoes must be pink. Clean ballet shoes with dish soap if they are dirty. Make sure the elastic is secure. Cut the strings at the front of the shoe to 1½ inches, knot the strings, and tuck them inside the shoe. Duct tape them to the inside of the shoe. No bows should be showing.

Note: The only ballet shoe we have identified as not acceptable is the Sansha Pink Canvas Ballet Slipper. Canvas slippers in general stand out when worn on stage (they are brighter than leather shoes). We prefer leather shoes.

Pointe Shoes: Students in pointe dances need to secure their ribbons before going on stage. We used to sew the knot on the ribbons to prevent them from untying on stage; however, they have recently introduced pointe shoe ribbon “bandaids”. They are significantly easier to use and take the place of sewing. They can be obtained from the Brandywine Dance Shoppe (or you can use a plain clear bandaid).

Hip Hop – Black Shoes

Hip Hop students need to wear something all black: inexpensive black sneakers, jazz shoes, or hip-hop shoes. Please contact the studio if you have questions or concerns.

Lyrical Shoes

Students should obtain the JZ45 Caramel Sodanca slip on jazz shoe, available at The Brandywine Dance Shoppe.

Dyeing Shoes:

We sometimes dye the students’ shoes to match their costumes. Sometimes the students’ original shoe color does not look good with the costumes they have. We leave the decision to dye or not up to the discretion of the teacher. Classes with shoes to be dyed will be denoted on the Recital Information Chart. Shoes will be collected by the teacher and redistributed after dyeing. Students may wear dyed shoes the following year in classes. In the past, several parents informed us that their children were giving them a hard time about wearing dyed shoes in their classes. If this is the case, please call the studio and we will talk to the student.

Costume Changes:

(See the dress rehearsal page for specific information about costume changes during the dress rehearsal.)

Students may come to the theater wearing their costume unless it is raining.

Please Change Costumes in the Dressing Room.

Students who are in two or more classes may have to change their costumes and tights during the recital. In order to keep track of children during the recital and ensure their safety, all costume changes must be done in the dressing room and not in the bathrooms. Please discuss this with your child in advance.

Modesty Concerns:

If students have a costume change and are concerned about modesty, they should wear a nude colored camisole leotard under their costume. This way, when they take off their costume, they are still covered. These are available at local dance stores, such as the Brandywine Dance Shoppe. Nude camisoles come in a few different skin tones, although the range is somewhat limited; ask at the dance store to help you find a suitable color. They may be able to order one for you if they do not have one on hand.

If students need to change tights, they should underdress or overdress their tights (see below). In addition, several students in the past have brought oversized T-shirts to change under — it is an option.

There should be no reason a student needs to get completely undressed (if they do not want to), and there should be no reason a student needs to leave the dressing room during the show to change a costume. Please contact the studio if you have concerns.

Children should not wear underwear under tights. It can show through and look funny on stage.

Overdressing/Underdressing Tights:

If you are wearing two or more colors of tights in the show, you may need to underdress or overdress your tights (i.e. wear two pairs of tights at the same time). This will assist you in changing costumes when time is short, and help with any modesty concerns. Plan ahead! Check the Recital Information Chart to see if you need more than one color of tights, then check the order of your numbers.

If students need to change tights, they may either wear both pairs of tights for their first number and then take the top pair off for their second number, or wear one pair of tights for the first number and put the second pair of tights on top for their other numbers. Students can wear any color (pink, tan, or black) on top, but can only wear pink or tan underneath, since black will show through. Contact the studio if you have any questions about this.

Quick Changes:

A list will be posted at the studio during costume week stating which students have quick changes at the dress rehearsal and the performance. Students with very fast costume changes will need to place their costumes in the Quick Change Room or the Stage Left Hallway before the show. (As you are facing the stage from the audience, the Quick Change Room is up on the stage to the left. The Stage Left Hallway is on the opposite side.) Quick Change students need to make sure they have their costume in a bag, on a hanger, clearly labeled with the student’s name and which class the costume is for. Put headpieces and shoes in plastic bags and hang them on the hanger. You should also bring a grocery bag with your name on it, to be used to quickly collect costume parts you are taking off. Quick Change students also need to carefully plan what tights they are wearing; underdressing or overdressing tights (see above) will make costume changes easier when time is short. If you feel your child has a quick change and it is not on the posted list, contact the studio.

Other Notes:

•Jewelry – Do not wear jewelry on stage. This includes bracelets (ankle or wrist), earrings, rings, etc. Please leave these items at home.

•Pierced Ears – Do not get your child’s ears pierced before the Dress Rehearsal and Performance. Wait one week.

•Nail Polish – Please do not wear colored nail polish (or toe polish, if dancing in bare feet).

•Underwear – Do not wear underwear under your tights; it shows through. We tell younger children that the costume is like a bathing suit and that the underwear is magically built in.