Dance costumes, or apparel is an important component of any dance competition, movie, or stage presentation. The look can make a dancer or dance group really stand out to the audience. A lot of effort goes into costume design. Most people when they think of dance apparel, they think “flashy” or “glittery” and “sparkly,” even. However, the best designed costumes are beautifully designed pieces that will compliment the performer and the choreography. If it sounds like a complicated process, it is! There are not only a vast array of styles, which consist of colors, textures, and materials of fabrics, but it also the fits and how the all these individual components come together.
For instance, certain colors will show off certain dance moves better than others, and the way the light reflects from the fabric can really enhance a dancer’s form. Also, the color can represent the choreography of the piece itself, a sort of representation of the dancers dance moves. Color should never distract from the dancer, and sometimes this can be a difficult accomplishment for a costume designer.
Fabric itself is a huge consideration in the design of a piece. The fabric must show the moves and not the body. The audience needs to concentrate on the moves of the dancer and not be too dazzled by the dance wear, itself. The fabric can be loose or tight, but should never inhibit a dancer from movement, such as traditional clothes would. Choosing a costume or designing a costume that is comfortable is the most important step toward a successful dance event. For instance, dancers never dance in traditional clothing, because most fabric we wear everyday is restrictive. Even when dancer seem to be wearing t-shirts and jeans in the movies or on stage, they are not. The cut and material are especially made to allow the dancer full range of movement and most times allow the dancer’s body to breathe and keep cool.
Another important factor in costume design is comfort. If the dance apparel is beautiful, but the dancer is uncomfortable, then the purpose will be defeated. Comfort is sometimes put on the back burner of design and when you see a performance where comfort has been disregarded, the performance will suffer. It is crucial that comfort be implemented into the design process early on; otherwise, the dancer may not be able to perform the moves needed at all.
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