So your director says performance ready. What does that mean exactly? This post will explore hair, makeup and undergarment needs for a female dancer to be performance ready. Remember Moms of young dancers, you need to talk out loud what you are doing and why with the goal always for you to transition to complete independence by 13, with the exception of perhaps a complicated hair style.
Let’s begin with undergarments for ladies, because this is short and sweet and written down by your director. Follow the sheet of paper your teacher gave you. Check tight color, if you have something under the costume or if you DON’T have something. If she says, “No, straps showing.” That means NO STRAPS SHOWING. Figure it out, it can work. Consult older dancers, pinterest, or other Moms if you aren’t sure how to hide undergarments or what undergarments help unsure ladies feel more confident. Lady dancers are so different; it is difficult to post one thing. You will just need to research the options. My daughter settled on a top/bottom nude combo, where the top had a clear low back strap and clear top straps she could move. She just preferred her stomach to be free and two pieces helped with a quick potty stop. Clear straps do get dirty and need changed because they do show when that happens. There are really lots of choices. Tights are your director’s brand and color choice. Follow it, she has it written down. Yup, it really is. You should have at least one spare pair for each color expected at your performance. No underwear with the tights. Even for the three year old dancers. Moms, encourage your dancers to keep the tights rolled down on performance day because they forget to put them back down sometimes.
Ok, hair is next. Your teacher will pick a hair style for each dance. Yes, this is one huge advantage guy dancers have over girls, no hair changes. Most of what I will include in this section is really geared toward new Moms of dancers. Some hair basic vocabulary includes, high bun, mid bun, low bun, high pony, left part, and no part. Check out the pictures to see the difference:
Picture of the high pony shows the technique of wrapping the hair around the hair tie to conceal it. Also I should mention to use a hair tie that matches your dancer’s hair color. So I included a picture of no part. I know it seems silly to put that picture in there, but I have read the papers where the director bolds the words ‘no part’ and dancers still come with parts, so perhaps they don’t understand that term.
Hair should be slick, like the pictured dancers with no fly aways. This is best accomplished through not having your dancer wash their hair. Yes, dirty hair is smoother and easier to get in a bun and pony. Gel hair heavily, especially at the base of the head and hair spray heavily with the cheap stuff, like aquanet. Ample use of bobby pins to help with shorter hair. To help with buns, most dancers/ dancer parents use bun makers, bobby pins, and hairnets. Hairnets are a must to keep extra rebel hairs from flying out of place.
Experiment with what bun maker works best for you and your dancer. My daughter preferred the flat one. She could do it quickly by herself for all her back and forth quick changes. Whatever you choose, I recommend having two because when costumes fly and the bun maker gets covered up, it’s better to grab the spare than have a mini heart attack looking for your one and only bun making tool. Medicine bottles work great for bobby pins or if you are the waitress apron Mom, have lots of bobby pins clipped to your apron ready to go. Yes, bobby pins get everywhere. My daughter has not lived in my home essentially for five years and I am still finding bobby pins. No, I don’t use them.
Finally, makeup is a piece of being performance ready. For pictures and community performances, you should have light makeup, still using your company color palette, as you would to go out. For makeup under lights, you need more makeup than you feel is comfortable so that you will have features on stage. If you have a studio that has provided you colors and guidelines, stop reading and follow those guidelines now. If you need some guidance, start with foundation, always. Cover your face, lips, eyelids and brows. I prefer stage makeup foundation rather than over the counter foundation. It does a better job at covering differences in your skin tone. Next, eyebrows, do not forget your eyebrows. Use a shadow or specific eyebrow powder to fill and shape your dancer’s eyebrows to a lady-like shape if you do not yet wax or pluck. Moms, dancers need to start that earlier, around 11, so that they can shape their face on stage better. Thick eyebrows are overbearing with stage makeup. I personally like black and white tones for eyeshadow, though some studios prefer brown tones. These guides show the eye makeup well:
Note that the eye liner is pulled outside of the eye and white is used above the eyeliner. This opens the eye and makes it look bigger from the audience perspective. Now cat eyes are a lovely trend, but ladies, from the audience you look like you have a black eye. So follow the guide above. Dancers look better with fake eyelashes, so curl your natural lashes, place fake lashes, curl together and apply mascara. Putting on fake lashes is challenging the first few times, so I recommend practice at no stress times. Yes, I glued my daughter’s eyelids together! Warm water and try again. Steady hands. Moms, I would start using fake eyelashes young if you think your daughter is going to stick with dance to get her used to it. It takes some chops to have Moms fingers right by your eye! I would do the fake eyelashes prior to the eyeshadow and liner. Again, I prefer black and white, but some do use browns.
The black and white pop more on stage. You can use your white eyeshadow to bring under your eye and on the side if you have allergies and dark circles. It will lighten that some. As drastic as the young lady looks in the picture with the black and white, she looks awesome on stage under lights.
Blush needs to be not too pink, but more reddish brown. Again, follow your company color palette if they have one. Ladies place blush on your cheeks, you can highlight with darker under. It should look like too much to you for it to be right on stage. Younger dancers should focus on the apples of their cheeks only.
Finally, red lipstick and liner. Red, not coral, not pink, red, more on the brown tones. It pops the best. Using the stains works nicely for a long performance day but does not negate the fact you will need to freshen up frequently. A very helpful tip I took to heart when I was at a dance convention makeup seminar was when the woman presenting cued me to administer my daughter’s lipstick with her mouth shut. Yes, we put on our own lipstick with our mouth open, but you can get the corners when the mouth is shut. Additionally, she encouraged you to line the lips just outside of the actual lips. You can’t pull that off in person, but on stage your lips look bigger.
Ok ladies, now your dancers are performance ready, so up and at ‘em and let your dancers show the audience how awesome they truly are.