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July 24, 2010 / ballerina2thepointe

Putting on Appearances

I’m just about ready to give my seminar (actually, I prefer to think of it as a workshop) on “appearances” tomorrow at Miami City Ballet School. I’ll be talking about stage vs. studio in the areas of makeup, hair, and overall personal presentation.

For me, the easy part will be demonstrating the process of stage makeup application. After all these years, I’ve practically gotten it down to a science. I think I even manage to shave a minutes off of my routine with each season that goes by! Each dancer does have their own special tactics and personal pre-performance routine, but the basics all remain the same, and those are what I’ll be passing along tomorrow.

The harder part will be trying to explain the proper way to present oneself in class, and for auditions…where there are significant choices to be made. Right or wrong, like it or not, appearance, looks and “togetherness” makes a big difference in the world of dance…especially ballet. There are so many details to think about; what leotard to wear (or t-shirt for boys), high bun or low bun, pink tights or black, skirt or no skirt. Seems silly, right? It may be, but while a brightly colored leotard could help you stand out at an audition, one with a bad cut could easily leave you tugging on yourself for the entire class. It all comes down to choices.

Then there’s the makeup. I remember being sixteen and thinking that one could NEVER have too much mascara or lip gloss… true if you work on Hollywood Blvd., not so true if you’re a young ballet student. Thank goodness my mother and ballet teacher were strict about this one. I didn’t believe it then, but I absolutely believe it now…LESS IS MORE!!! A little mascara never hurt anyone, nor did a light dusting of blush or lip shimmer; on the contrary they can enhance your features and make you seem just a little more “alive”. But do keep in mind that we in the front of the room want to be able to recognize who you are! You want to be noticed for your dancing, not  for your eyeliner, lipstick or nail polish!

Like in any other profession, and perhaps even more so in ballet, how we present ourselves tends to determine how seriously we are taken by those who are in a position to judge. My overall goal tomorrow is getting the students to understand how beautiful they all are, and how presenting themselves neatly and appropriately, taking pride in their appearance, not only shows that they are serious students who respect their art form, but also shows that they respect themselves as young ladies and men…both inside the studio and out.

One Comment

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  1. Rebecca King / Jul 24 2010 2:16 pm

    Everyone is going to be so prepared for the shows next week after your seminar 🙂

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