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Dancers, with their movements, project emotions and convey ideas and words. It is a difficult skill and one that they refine over several years. They use their whole bodies and especially the expressions on their faces to tell the story to the audience.
The arch lights and spotlights that flood the stage don't make it easy for the subtle expressions to be captured and dancers' faces would all but get washed out if their features were not highlighted in an exaggerated manner.
Highlighting a dancer's facial features makes it easier for the audience to see their expressions. A long-standing tradition in the community for dancers, stage makeup is a routine component of their costumes and greatly influenced by culture and society they are part of
Dancers can get into their roles effectively by donning makeup. With a few simple products and techniques of makeup and hairstyle, they can travel through time to play someone younger or add decades of experience. Makeup can help switch genders or look something inhuman.
Every dancer needs tools to create the perfect face for production, performance, recital or competition
Cream-based makeup contains oil and can come in cream or stick formats. It's also known as greasepaint. In general, it's easier to apply cream-based makeup evenly than cake makeup. Greasepaint, naturally, is more challenging to remove.
Cake makeup which comes in powder form must be mixed with a little water before it can be applied. Cake makeup is usually gentler on the skin, but it is challenging to use without streaking. It is also easier to remove than cream-based makeup.
Either type of makeup should have high-pigment content as it can then conceal blemishes or other skin conditions.
In addition to a foundation, other essential makeup items are rouge, pencil liner, mascara, eyeshadow, lip color, and powder. Most dancers will use a translucent powder, though some will choose a powder that matches the color of their foundation. To create special effects, dancers usually use an adhesive called spirit gum, blood makeup, crepe hair (for false beards) or gelatin.
Makeup removers are as critical with many dancers using cold cream and including spirit gum remover, an astringent, moisturizer and eye cream.
The well-equipped dancer will have a variety of tools inside a makeup kit such as makeup sponges and a variety of brushes. A powder puff is used to apply the setting powder on top of makeup. Washcloths, cotton balls, baby wipes and a towel are other essentials that are used to remove makeup.
Wear an old shirt while applying and removing makeup. Once you've set your makeup, you can put on your costume. A headband will keep the hair out of your face as you prep your face
Here are a few tips to apply makeup; it is best if male actors don't shave immediately before applying stage makeup as makeup can further irritate the just shaved sensitive skin. Keep your face clean and dry before putting on makeup to ensure smooth makeup application.
Sit in a well-lit room in front of a mirror and make sure your clothing and hair are out of the way before you begin. Always keep the venue in mind while deciding to go with a light or heavy hand. In a smaller theater, the audience will be sitting close to you, and too much makeup could be distracting. However, a heavier application will be required for a bigger theater with the audience being farther away.
After the foundation, apply highlights, shading, and eyeshadow. Use makeup shade or two lighter or darker than your foundation. With just a little practice, dancers can use highlights and shading to give their face the appearance of a different shape.
You should apply highlights along your bone structure, particularly along your cheekbones and nose. A darker color can create shading along your cheeks and nostrils. It's important to blend the spots where highlights and shading meet.
Using an eyeshadow a few shades lighter than your foundation can help emphasize your eyes, making them appear larger to the audience
After the makeup is set, apply eyeliner, mascara, lip color and rouge. It's okay to use makeup to exaggerate your features.
Emphasize eyes using pencil liners, a powder-based eyeliner or an eyeliner pen. Use the tried tested colors of black or brown-black and often, male dancers can use eyeliner to outline their lower eyelids from the outer edge of the eye to the center. For lip color to stay put and not bleed, use a liner to define your lips.
Apply rouge with a soft brush. Subtle colors are fine if that's what your look requires. Use the rouge to define your cheeks and give shape to your face.
Special makeup techniques are required to apply effects such as prosthetics, burns cuts, bruises, etc.,
Stage makeup for younger dancers is usually necessary for performances as it makes them more visible to the audience and compliments the overall costumed look of a recital.
It's better to wait until closer to show time to apply makeup to young dancers, so they don't inadvertent1ly rub their faces, streaking mascara and lipstick as they go. Invest in waterproof or smudge-proof cosmetics to prevent some of these accidents as well.
When applying makeup, make sure they're able to sit calmly and wait for the process to be over. You may need to apply makeup in stages for children who fidget or are too excited to sit still for too long. Have them wear a button up shirt over their outfit during makeup application as protection against any spills. Now, you are ready to apply stage makeup!
Foundation: Most children will not require foundation but if they do, ensure the color matches your child's skin tone. Do test the skin on the inside of her wrist to make sure she doesn't have any allergies to the product.
Blush: To find the apples of her cheeks, have your child smile the cheesiest smile or suck in cheeks to blow 'fishy' kisses.
Most dance programs will require just a little eyeshadow and mascara and eyeliner.
Eyeshadow - Choose a neutral color to highlight the brow bone with the lid color being close to your dancer's natural skin tone, with just a few shades darker.
Eyeliner - Try a liquid or gel liner that has a soft applicator as a traditional pencil may be too rough on their delicate skin
Mascara - A sample or travel-size mascara helps tremendously as the regular sized ones have brushes that are too big for small eyelashes. If they are wary of having a spiky wand close to their eyes, have them roll their eyes up at the ceiling during application.
To help keep lipstick from smudging, apply a primer or foundation over lips first. After outlining the lips with a shade that matches the lipstick, use it to fill in the lips completely. Then go over the lips with lipstick and top it with a shimmer. This ensures the lipstick stays put through the one or two-hour performance. Apply lipstick last, have your dancer blot it with a tissue and keep some straws handy so she can have a drink without smudging the hard work!
Usually for all dance forms, be it class or performance, hair should be off the face and the style neat and tidy. Ponytails, where all the hair is off the neck and face, are mandatory for dance forms like jazz, lyrical, and modern.
For ballet, female dancers of all levels are expected to have their hair in a classic bun. Hairpins, clips, barrettes (if required), elastics and hair nets or bun covers (a must for classical buns) should all match hair color (unless they are being used as special accessories, of course)
If you have some fly-a-way hairs, spray them with hairspray and use a toothbrush to brush them down For the stubborn fly-a-way hairs at the back of the neck, use bobby pins and hairspray to secure them in place.
Use a coat of hairspray to finish your look and don't worry about the hair feeling hard or sticky. Since no one can touch a dancer's hair on stage, copious amounts of hairspray along with good elastics, bobby pins and hair products is imperative. The tighter, slicker, and more 'solid' the hair-style feels, the better
Here are six hairstyles other than the bun that is perfect for dance. They will make you feel very confident and comfortable regardless of the occasion.
For a dancer, makeup can be a cathartic experience, it allows them to get into their role more fully, and it’s a fun and helpful part of creating a character. New dancers may find the process intimidating initially, but with a little practice and research, it's easy to grasp the basics.
Be it a hairstyle or a makeup technique, experiment to see what works for your skin and hair. Check the products available for their quality and suitability and above all, consult your peers or mentors for expert tips!