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Taking Your Costume to ‘The Next Level’

Posted by Deborah Nelson on Mon, Aug 03, 2015 @ 13:08 PM

If you are signed up for the next level in your favorite dance competition, or plan to advance in any genre of solo dance performances, there are a few key areas you will need to address.  First, of course, you’ll want to concentrate on your dance technique and choreography.  However, you’ll also want to make sure your current competition dance costumes will make the cut!  The following checklist will help you determine whether or not your costumes are ready for the next level:

  • Are your costumes ‘tired’?
  • Have your costumes been seen too many times?
  • Do your costumes fit you flawlessly?
  • Is your costume in perfect repair?
  • Do your costumes suit your dance routine, perfectly?
  • Are there enough rhinestones and/or feathers on your costumes?
  • Do your accessories and shoes coordinate perfectly with your costume?
  • For partner dances, does your partner’s costume coordinate well and show off your costume impeccably?

If you can answer a wholehearted “YES” to all of these questions, you are ready for the next level. If not, you have some work to do!

Never dance in a costume that has a fit, style or repair issue, as you won’t be able to concentrate entirely on your dancing…you will always be thinking about those shortcomings, at least in the back of your mind. If your dance costume suits your routine perfectly and all your accessories, shoes and partner’s costume are perfect, then whip your costume into shape by refurbishing it, altering it and/or add those rhinestones or feathers that you have been wanting to add.

If your dance costume does NOT suit your new routine perfectly, take the time to search for a new costume, or commission a new one, from a reliable source. Making sure you have plenty of time to find and/or create a new ‘perfect’ costume is important. Far too many dance costumes have been purchased or created without enough time to ensure that they will fit perfectly, move perfectly or give the perfect ‘look’ for your specific routine. If you don’t have enough time to secure that exemplary costume, make do with the best option that you already own, and then work towards obtaining your new perfect costume in a more leisurely time-frame. Your money invested will pay off in fabulous dividends when you take the time to really consider what is needed for your perfect dance costume.

The old adage of “haste makes waste” is evident in costumes that are thrown together at the last moment. Of course there are always exceptions to this rule, but the majority of costumes thrown together at the last moment will need reworking, at the very least, and many may just cause regrets with the money spent on them, with less than perfect results.

Plan your new costume without haste, and make all the design decisions around well-thought out ideas. You will have peace of mind from thinking everything through, rather than ending up with a costume that is put together with speed being the major driving force.

One aspect of new costuming that I sanction, is to start minimally with your rhinestone trim, as you can ALWAYS add more stones at a later date (when you have more time to do them).  More is not always better, and it is much more difficult to remove rhinestones rather than adding another gross or two. Always check out the math with rhinestoning, so that you don’t end up needing an additional gross of rhinestones to complete your look – with a bare spot on the side, back, or heaven forbid – the front!

So, when moving to the next level in your dance performances and competitions, make sure that your costume will also be perceived as ‘next level’.

© Deborah J. Nelson/Satin Stitches Ltd. (August 2015 Minnesota Dancer article)

Tags: Quality in Costumes, Minnesota Dancer Magazine

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