Performance Packets

Performance season can be a tricky time: juggling costumes, makeup, hair, cues, music, etc., can all be very stressful and overwhelming.  I have discovered a tool that has helped me greatly over the years to organize my performances and be successful when things get crazy.  This tool has been to create a packet for every performance with lots of information and everything I need inside.  In this blog post, I’m going to show you how I create them and take you through the process.  Enjoy!

This blog post was requested by a reader when I mentioned these packets in another blog post.  You can submit a request of your own for a blog post or video at

By the way, sorry this post is a bit early!  I accidentally press buttons late at night.  It happens.

My performance packets become a very useful tool to me when things get crazy during performance season.  I like to keep them on hand by putting them in a protected pocket of my dance bag for easy access.  When I’m done using them and the run of that performance is over, I put the packet in my dance binder.  It’s not uncommon to find multiple performance packets in my pocket at one time – my performance schedule has been very crazy as of late.

Now, I will take you through each section of my packet, providing examples from multiple performances for each so you can recreate them yourself.

Section 1: Casting

The first section of my performance packet holds all of the roles I will be dancing in every performance, detailed information about each role, and which performances I will be dancing those roles.

I put it in the format of a table for easy access.  I always make sure to look over the casting section before each performance to make sure I’m dancing the right thing.

Here’s an example during Nutcracker of my three roles and when I perform each:

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 9.25.17 AM.png

As you can see above, I include my number, cast, act, role, and performances I will be dancing that role.  Things get very hectic during Nutcracker, so this system is quite useful!

Below is another example of the casting section, this time for my performance of Snow White.  I’ve included this to show you the differences when I’m understudying a role.

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 9.26.58 AM.png

As you can see, things don’t change that much, I just include “understudy” in the performances section.

Section 2: Schedule

This section is optional, and I only use it during really crazy performance weeks with rehearsals and performances during the day, insane schedules, etc.  I like to color code the schedule so that I can still keep it in one table and it doesn’t take up as much room.  Each day of the week has its own color.

Under each event, I include the date, time, event, cast that will be dancing, and the location of that event.  Below is an example of my schedule from Nutcracker:

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 9.30.02 AM.png

As you can see, it’s useful to have a tech week schedule in multiple places when things are as crazy as they are during Nutcracker.  I also utilize my scheduling system I talked about in my Managing Schedules blog post.

Section 3: Attire

In the next section, I describe all of the outfitting details for each of my roles, including hair, makeup, and costume.  This is very useful to have for reference.

I use a seperate table for each of my roles.  The tables are 3 x 3.  I put hair, makeup, and costume along the left side, and moving across the right I provide details for each.

Below is an example for Nutcracker:

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 9.34.04 AM.png

As you can see above, I use the different sections to categorize my information for each section of the outfit.  Again, I use separate tables for each role.

Below is another example, this time for my performance of Cinderella:

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 9.35.26 AM.png

Section 4: Production

This section of the packet is the largest and one of the most useful.  It also has two parts.

The first section of this part of the packet is all about the structure of the performance.  I go through each scene in order and describe what happens.  Here is an example from Nutcracker:

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 9.24.31 PM

The second part of the production section is where I list the synopsis of the ballet we are performing.  This is good for reference during the plot and useful when developing your character in the ballet.

Section 5: Packing

Finally, I include a packing checklist to make sure I don’t forget anything at home and I’m always adequately prepared for the theater.  Here is an example from Dido and Aeneas:

Screen Shot 2016-06-05 at 9.26.49 PM

Thanks for reading today’s blog post, and I hope you find it useful.  See you on Wednesday here at

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