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Debuting a New Ballroom Look

Posted by Deborah Nelson on Wed, Apr 05, 2017 @ 17:04 PM

Ballroom-Costume-designed-by-Satin-Stitches.jpg“Dancing with the Stars” has started a new season: Season 24! Can you believe it? Every week the contestants and Pros unveil a new look for each new dance performance. As regular, non-reality show participants, you don’t have the luxury of a new costume with a new look every time you participate in a dance performance. But when you do take the time and expense to debut a new costume, what will you need to consider?

Whether you have purchased a new ballroom costume or have plans to restyle an old costume, you need to make adjustments. Do you plan on upgrading your shoes, makeup, hair or accessories for an upcoming competition or showcase, along with your new or restyled costume?

Follow the advice for a bride for her upcoming wedding, which is test any new ‘do, before the big day. Never assume that your new look will be perfect, assume that it might need some tweaking.

For a new or updated costume, be sure and schedule plenty of time for a dress rehearsal, so that you know that your new costume moves correctly with you, and doesn’t shift peculiarly on your body when you are dancing. You don’t want to feel restrained, in your dance togs.

Make sure that your undergarments are staying invisible and where they belong. Is your costume skirt showing all the movement you hoped for? Is it revealing too much? Only if you take the time to perform your routine with your new costume, will you know if your costume is successful.

You should be worrying about your dance posture, footwork, arm and hand positions and movements, your facial expressions and not stepping on your partner’s toes, not feeling restricted or anxious about your costume. Sorting out your costume in advance will truly help your performance. A past Satin Stitches tagline was ‘enhance your dance’. Your costume, hair and makeup, along with your chosen accessories (including your dance shoes) should ‘enhance your dance’.

If practical, I would also suggest doing a dress rehearsal with your new performance hair and makeup, as well. Always check to see that your eye shadow, blusher and lipstick coordinate and create a pleasing effect. Obviously your makeup colors should flatter your skin tone, eye color and hair color. But it is also important that they coordinate (and definitely not clash) with any new costume. For example, purplish-red lip colors do NOT go with an orangey-red costume and vice versa. If you aren’t sure, when you look in the mirror, ask your dance instructor, your family or your friends for honest feedback. Purchasing a new lipstick is an in-expensive option to perfect your performance appearance.

Different hairstyles (and colors) can also coordinate and enhance your total performance look. It is always wise to consider if your hair style is too severe or not severe enough for your costume ‘package’ and routine. Slight alterations to your hair style, regardless of length, can enhance your performance look, or detract from it.

Earrings, necklaces and/or bracelets are very important to enhance your overall style. The ready-to-wear “less is more” maxim usually doesn’t apply to ballroom dance performances, but “everything-but-the-kitchensink” is not a wise plan!

There are so many options for jewelry. If you feel unsure of what is best, try on your costume amongst friends or dance colleagues and bring a variety of pieces, trying on your accessories in front of a mirror and seeing what you and your associates like the best. Or maybe you will imagine another option that you might borrow or buy, before your big performance.

Editing is always important and can make or break your dance performance look. The best time to do so, is BEFORE your big day, via a dress rehearsal (for your entire performance package)!

(Submitted for April 2017 issue of Minnesota Dancer)

© Deborah J. Nelson/Satin Stitches Ltd.

Tags: Costume Design Tips, Custom Performance Costumes, Minnesota Dancer Magazine

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