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Social vs Competition Dance Dresses

Posted by Deborah Nelson on Thu, May 02, 2019 @ 15:05 PM


Satin Stitches creates both social and competition dance dresses. But what is the difference between the two?

Social dance dresses are dresses that you wear when you want to dance. They should suit your individuality. Your social dance dress should flatter your personal style, your body shape, your personality, your age, along with your skin and hair coloring and your mood. Your social dancing dress should be ‘danceable’ (allowing for all of your dancing moves).

Whether you purchase an ‘off the rack’ dress or if you custom/create a very special social dancing dress, you are the star, and you should make your decisions according to what you see in the mirror, or what you expect to see in the mirror.  If you don’t know your best silhouette and style, ask those that know you best, for their opinion on what looks great on you. Remember that off-the-rack dresses can be altered/redesigned for a better ‘fit’ for you and your dancing style.

Competition dance dresses are a different story. If you are beholding to your dance instructor and/or your partner or formation group. You need to take into consideration these alternate perspectives and design desires. A specific style may be necessary for your performance routine. Your instructor and/or partner may have specific needs and/or wants for your dress…either to evoke a certain theme or visual that you may not have considered.

Your competition dance dress should complement your routine and coordinate with your partner or group. Your instructor may have specific ideas or instructions as to how complex or simple your dress should be. Does your performance need to be within specific guidelines for the proper look for the level of your dancing or your age? Are specific levels of embellishment encouraged or frowned upon? Who has the final ‘say’?

If you are involved with a formation team or perform with others, then your personal coloring and body shape is less finely tuned to your personal traits. Generally everyone needs to coordinate, and you will all need to look the same.

What is best for a non-homogenous group (a group with various coloring skin and hair) with different sizes and shapes? Jewel tones for dance costumes generally look great on everyone, and on ‘the stage’, or basic black or white. Styles need to be chosen so that they can flatter all body silhouettes and sizes. (You can read more on this in my blogs…). If you are requested to give suggestions – think about what will look good on everyone and voice any specific style ideas you like – maybe everyone else will agree? Makeup, hair and jewelry: for coordination, similar (if not the same) colors should be used, especially eye shadow and lipstick. The key is for uniformity.

So have fun with your social dancing dresses and enjoy your duo or group performance costumes!


Posted by Deborah Nelson on Mon, Oct 01, 2018 @ 15:10 PM


Posted by Deborah Nelson on Thu, Aug 04, 2016 @ 15:08 PM


Posted by Deborah Nelson on Thu, Mar 01, 2012 @ 15:03 PM

 ©Deborah J. Nelson/ Head Designer and President of Satin Stitches Ltd.
(as published in Minnesota Dancing Times May 2019)

Tags: Minnesota Dancer Magazine


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