The thing I like best about little ones is that you can say - oh, the recital is the same night as ... and then they know that they can't go and it's fine. If she'd be ok with that, it could even be the same night you were planning to take her to see Horton, or go to that mini-golf place you always wanted to check out. We did dance for 4 years and only once did we do a recital (the fourth year). Costumes are notoriously awful and ime inappropriate for little ones. We always bought the costume, because it was required, and one year the costume was actually pants and a tank top!
They did a rap song theme. That's the only year she wanted to be in the recital. And she was 8yo. Other classes had significantly skimpier outfits, and they DID look cute on stage, even if they look completely out of character for such small people individually. As a group it comes together.
Anyway, not going to the recital is certainly an option, if that helps your dd - then she got the ugly raincoat (and panties?) for her dress up box. It's an option. You can always tell the teacher that dd was sick that day or something. Eh - it happens!
Angela - kudos for being somewhat sympathetic!