Saturday, February 6, 2010

"Glitter In The Air"

Did you see Pink perform last weekend at the Grammy's? How long until some dance teacher figures out how to hang a dancer from the ceiling at a competition and spin them around?!?!?!

So we are in the midst of costume chaos at our studio in preparation for our first competition in March. They're all starting to come in and they need altering and so on, so my mind is spinning. I'm so glad I finally got out of that stage of rhinestoning every costume until I could no longer see the original fabric! I used to be that teacher. I even used to have a rhinestoning party for the parents/students at the studio in order to get it all done. I'm pretty sure I doubled costume prices with all that glitter! Then we're talking rhinestone chokers, earrings, hair clips... oh and this new trend of rhinestones on the face and red glitter on top of lipstick! What studio decided dipping a child's lips in to glitter to make them sparkle was a great idea? I'd like to talk to them!

So, I have officially given up on the "glitz" portion of dance competitions. We have rid of most of our rhinestone jewelry and fake eyelashes this year and gone in a more organic direction, which pretty much parallels my teaching/choreographic style. We used to spend hundreds of dollars on all matching accessories, that by the end of the year were all broken or lost. I've decided that is not what I am trying to win with... even though they do give out special awards at competitions for who's costume sparkles the most! It's not the image I want to project with my choreography, so we won't follow suit and try to out "shine" other studios with our jewelry... we'll try do it with our dancing instead!

I once had a dance make-up company try to sell me these big expensive make-up kits for our competitive team, that included 12 different shades of eyeshadows, one to match every costume. Their main approach to me was that after we had spent all this time/money on dancing and their costumes, the make-up and accessories were just the final touch to complete the look. I do agree with that statement to a degree... but what if you're costume has no rhinestones on it? What if it's a tank top and black shorts?

At my studio we do have a small make-up kit for our Competitive team, that we put together ourselves and purchased from Mary Kay. It includes 3 jewel toned eyeshadows, a neutral blush and a berry toned lipstick. It all comes complete in this neat little compact, and then they just have to provide their own foundation and mascara. Honestly, I cannot tell the difference when a dancer is wearing fake eyelashes on stage or just mascara and eyeliner... so let's stop dramatizing about the eyelash glue for an 8 year old and move on!

I do appreciate a beautiful rhinestoned costume at a competition, when it's used in the right context. I have several really beautiful, and expensive, costumes at my studio for that glitzy lyrical solo, or that 9 year old jazz solo. These types of costumes do look stunning on stage, but I generally might get more excited about the costume than about the actual dance. However, there is something about that understated plain black bodysuit on stage that makes me focus on the dancer/choreography instead. Of course, you do have to have that type of dancer to pull that off, so be careful. Don't try to understate a routine if the dancers have weaker technique... it's not effective.

I guess you have to decide what kind of competitive studio you are. Are your numbers really upbeat and vibrant, so they require lots of rhinestones to help accentuate that "look" on stage. If so, great! Whip out those rhinestones, and use them in an effective way that suits the costume/students. But don't go overboard -it's really easy to spot those dances where the most exciting thing that happened is the hair piece that fell out of that kid's hair! Spend more time focusing on cleaning up that routine then you spend rhinestoning their costumes.

If you are a more contemporary studio, whose costumes are less glitzy, then accessorize accordingly. Maybe you just have some hair clips for a few routines, and the rest you go with less of a dramatic look for all the others. The details of your choreography will then be more apparent on stage, but be aware of that in preparation.

I don't think there is anything wrong with either type of studio, so why don't you try a bit of both! As a seasoned adjudicator myself I know that after the first session at a competition I already know which studio is which by the accessories they wear. Everyone at a studio has the same hair-do with the same 2 clips over the left sided part, and they all have matching rhinestone bracelets. It sets a precedent for your studio that you need to be aware of. Maybe you had a really strong group perform, then when your next group steps on stage that I recognize from your studio accessories, they have to live up to that last group you had on.

I even remember seeing a studio last year who had rhinestoned all of their foot undies to match each of their costumes. Maybe they were trying to set a new trend, but on the other hand I don't remember these kids pointing their feet too often either, so maybe that wasn't the greatest idea for them!

Diamonds are definitely a girls best friend... I just like my kids to win a Diamond award, rather than wear them all over their faces!

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