• Movement: A Language Beyond Words

    Y.P.A.D. Advisory Panel Member, Jen Ray, shares Y.P.A.D.’s standards; choreography is about more than movement, and that there is more to these choices than meets the eye.

    When infants are learning to speak, they make all sounds possible before learning how to combine the correct ones to communicate an intentional message. Through interaction, guidance, and by example, eventually they become fluent children and freely expressive adults.

    It’s no news that dance is a language, but it may be news that it has evolved so rapidly that we have lost track of what it means, or even the will to question. Ever spent time with a curious toddler? They are always asking “but why?!” It could feel pesky or unnatural at first but, if you’re not already doing so, it’s about time to take this approach to dance: to pause and consider the meaning beyond the movement, and the values being portrayed.

    Y.P.A.D. believes, and has proven with research, that music and movement teach children expectations and boundaries for their own bodies, as well as others’ bodies. The internet and social media have made available more information than we even have time to process. Being extreme is a requirement to stand out from the crowd, as is seen with the rise in hyper-mobility, unsafe stretching, the rise of sexualization, etc. Y.P.A.D. has been following these trends in dance culture and it appears as if we are all lobsters in the pot, in a situation that’s boiling hot! We must learn to separate pop-culture examples “out there” in the world from those that we choose to bring into family-friendly and child-oriented environments, such as dance studios and events. Humans are wired for affirmation and, once dancers are on stage, it is even more so their goal to be celebrated by those watching. It matters what standards we set for success, who they are being, how they are costumed, and what is being celebrated about their time on stage and in the studio.

    Y.P.A.D. does NOT want limit artistic freedom. Rather, we encourage a cultural shift towards a dance experience that puts our children's physical, emotional, sexual and spiritual safety first! The pedagogy of teaching the art of dance is agility, flexibility, strength, technique, advanced skills within various disciplines, as well as performance, musicality and texture. Costuming is a major conceptual and visual element of every performance. The choices we make when costuming children and teens teach them lessons about their bodies, personal expression, the purposes and possibilities of how we present ourselves to others.

    jen ray post

    Dance educators play a strong role in allowing children to look like children, while exploring these formal elements of the art dance. We have partnered with Curtain Call® to ensure children can look like children, explore storytelling and character without being exploited or misguided. Dancers can have the transformative learning experience that comes with thoughtful, artistic expression and exploration, rather than being objectified. Education leads to self-regulation, and real empowerment is giving youth the tools to advocate for themselves, so they can mature into self-sufficient and autonomously expressive adults.

    Y.P.A.D. has made this easier with our Tools Not Rules: Standards, Recommendations & Suggestions handbook (available in digital and print format for $24.99 ) Inside you’ll find detailed listings of commonly choreographed but inappropriate movements, helpful solutions, including how to navigate situations, such as freestyle and contact improvisation.

    Some key points include:

    • Consider the “cumulative effect,” how all elements of production (including, but not limited to, costume, facial expression, movement, music, props, lyrics, etc.) convey a cohesive tone and message.
    • Maturity in life does not automatically equal sexual maturity. There are many themes than can be mature and relevant to kids and young adults (self-acceptance, bullying, boundaries, conflict, etc.) that are not sexual in nature. Bonus: when your dancers can relate to experiences, they can convey them more authentically!
    • Obscene gestures or references to drug or alcohol use, gang activity, violence, adult sexuality, are all inappropriate for children and teens.
    • Props can be suggestive and illustrative. Some depict violence (whips, chains, guns or knives) and may only be appropriate in a certain context (Pirates of the Caribbean, etc.). Rest assured all Curtain Call® costume props, characters, and concepts are appropriate for children and teens to wear in family friendly settings.
    • Age-appropriate also means physically safe. We don’t put dancers in pointe shoes unless they are adequately developed, and this should apply when we introduce any potentially risky tricks or techniques.Curtain Call®’s Sensory Icons, featuring: fidget friendly, glitter free, sensory friendly, adjustable straps and compression, fulfill Y.P.A.D.’s ambition for a happy, healthy and safe experience for young dancers. Every design is appropriate by Y.P.A.D. standards, meaning any cutouts, nude fabrics, every detail of every design is thoughtfully crafted to be classy, functional, and fabulous. Not only are dancers more physically comfortable, audiences are more mentally and emotionally comfortable.
      It is a privilege to be entrusted with the education of another, especially when their body and personal expression are involved. We are not just teaching dance, we are teaching values and reinforcing them every time we make a choice about music, movement, costuming, and more. It matters what we expose young people to, and what we cultivate in them. “You don’t know what you don’t know,” and their expression can be limited to trickle-down effect of pin-ups and pop culture if we don’t offer and encourage healthy, creative alternatives. Dance is a language – let’s give the next generation the vocabulary, tools for artistic exploration and creative expression that they deserve.

    Jen ray 3Jen Ray  is a Y.P.A.D. Certified Educator, Adjudicator, and Advisory Panel Member that believes the holistic and mindful approach Y.P.A.D. takes is an antidote to many difficulties dancers face in today's culture. Through her Discover Dancinema workshops, as co- director of The JaM Youth Project, and Y.P.A.D., Jen Ray's influence is one that inspires a culture of well-rounded, critical-minded, and multitalented individuals. Her company Dancinema, started while completing her B.A. Film Studies at UBC Vancouver, has quickly evolved into a respected international brand producing dancefilms, workshops, and events including Cascadia Dance & Cinema Festival (Vancouver, BC) and Capitol Dance & Cinema Festival (Washington, DC). She has enjoyed and appreciated opportunities such as Cucalorus Festival's Residency, screening at many festivals including Los Angeles Dance Film Festival, being selected for twice Dance Teacher Magazine, and collaborating with The JaM Project on their productions at Dancerpalooza's 25Live! and The Kennedy Centre, to highlight a few. The most rewarding and close to her heart are projects and partnerships such as Curtain Call®, where innovation and the healthy development of young people is the central focus.

  • Six Reasons To Love Curtain Call


    Our innovative styles have brought your creative vision to life for decades. The Curtain Call® team stitches pride into each and every costume and a great portion of our costumes are produced in the USA. Curtain Call® continues to lead the industry with exceptional quality.



    Our Relationship Managers work closely with you to support your vision and needs. They have the skills and experience to help you through your busy season. Be it selecting costumes to song ideas or designing custom warm-ups, they are with you every step of the way.



    Curtain Call® is united with Youth Protection Advocates in Dance (Y.P.A.D.) to keep youth happy, healthy and safe in dance. Curtain Call® is the only Y.P.A.D. certified costume company. In accordance with Y.P.A.D. guidelines, we consider everything from design to photography and more.



    A stunning costume deserves care and protection, which is why every Curtain Call costume arrives in a garment bag, complete with accessories. Even more, each bag includes a customization label so dancers can feel like a star before they ever hit the stage.



    Dancers should feel comfortable so they can focus on the joy of dance. Our helpful icons will assist you in selecting the perfect costume for every dancer. From adjustable straps to glitter free, fidget friendly and more, you’ll be able to find the perfect match every time.



    Our classwear program benefits both studios and parents! Grow your business and earn extra cash by allowing parents to purchase directly from your online store or stock your studio shop. Parents love the convenience and quality of the products, especially the Ovation® line of leotards, tights and shoes.


  • Recital Ready Dance Bag

    There are always a million things to accomplish the weeks leading up to recital. Our goal is to help you make your big event as stress-free as possible! We have collected a list of the top essentials for your dancers to have a Recital Ready Dance Bag! This way you can focus on the things that really matter, and not a hair emergency! Print out this handy packing checklist to give to your teachers and dancers. PS, don’t forget to customize the spaces we left blank, just for you!RecitalBag

    • Costumes – double check that you have all your costumes, accessories, props, hair pieces, etc.!

    PRO-HACK: pin each individual piece to the costume so they don’t get mixed up or lost. Don’t forget to label each style with first and last name!

    • Dance shoes – make sure shoes are clean and ready for the stage! Place first and last name inside all shoes.

    • Tights – be sure to have the right color and size. It’s a good idea to pack extras, just in case.

    PRO-HACK: use clear nail polish to mend a last minute run in your tights.

    • Beauty – pack your essential hair and makeup needed for the show. Things that might be helpful: small self-standing mirror, deodorant, nail file, baby wipes, tissues, and cotton swabs. Pack extra bobby pins, hair ties, hair nets, and hairspray – in the dance world, you can never have enough hairspray!

    • Miscellaneous – warm-ups, healthy snacks, reusable water bottle, first aid kit, safety pins, extra undergarments, feminine products, mini sewing kit, superglue, static guard, scissors and a lighter (for mending pointe shoe ribbons).

    Print your own check list for a complete Recital Ready Dance Bag – Packing List


  • Get the Most Out of Your Customer Service Experience

    From costume ordering to costume sizing, and first-time customers to life-long customers. No matter the topic of discussion, you have their full and undivided attention. You may know them as the Customer Service Team, but we prefer to them as the heroes behind the phone!

    Our Customer Service Representatives take the time to help each and every caller. They are happy to chat, well-educated on dance industry trends, and continuously thinking of creative ways to help each customer reach a solution. Even if reaching that resolution takes five minutes or five hours, you will never be rushed!

    We spoke to Vicky, Customer Service Manager, along with Brittni and Angela, Customer Service Representatives, to collect their best kept secrets. Now, we would like to share with you, tips and tricks to getting the most out of your conversation with customer service.CS-telephone

    What is the most efficient way to reach Customer Service?

    Give us a call (1-888-808-0801) or send us an email [email protected]. These options allow the ability to directly reach a customer service representative. Whereas, all other forms of communication, may hold up communication process. For instance, attempts to reach customer service via social media channels, may delay our response time.

    When is the best time of day to chat with Customer Service?

    Morning 9:00 am EST – 11:00 am EST, we seem to get very busy during lunch hours.

    What should customers know when reaching out to Customer Service?

    Introduce yourself! We love talking to our customers!
    Before we can help any customer we must be speaking directly with the studio contact assigned to your account. If your studio contact needs to be updated, no problem, we will help.
    To verify we are speaking to the correct person, we need to know one of the following: customer number, studio name, billing zip code, or studio phone number.
    Knowing the purpose of your call and details of what you need assistance with, is always helpful. For instance, if you have a question regarding a costume, it helps to know the style number, color, and name prior to calling. We will handle the rest!

    What is new for Curtain Call Customer Service?

    Call Back Feature

    No more music! We understand everyone is busy and may not have the time to be waiting on hold listening to our catchy tunes. So to help, we created our Call Back Feature. When we receive your call, you have the option to receive a call back when the line becomes available. We add your call to our queue and alleviate your time spent waiting. More than 50% of our customers are currently utilizing our Call Back Feature and 100% of those customers are able to use their time waiting wisely.

    Extended Hours

    It’s busy season! During the months of January and February 2018, our Customer Service Representatives will be available Monday – Friday from 9:00 am EST – 7:00 pm EST. Come March, we will be available during our regular hours Monday – Friday from 9:00 am EST – 5:30 pm EST.

    There is no right question or right way to ask. Our Customer Service Team is always ready to help in any way, no matter the size or uniqueness of your issue. They are continuously working to do our very best to satisfy our customers. Feel free to call about your little questions. Even if they may seem silly, that’s what we are here for!

  • Beauty is Not a Measurement: Your Guide to Costume Measuring

    YPAD Advisory Panel Member, Tiffany Prout-Leitao, has had many years of experiencing costume measuring, as both a dancer and studio owner. Tiffany shares with us her experience and guidelines for efficient, confidence boosting costume measuring.
    For most dancers getting costumes is the most exciting day of the year. Some students ask the first day of class, “Do you know what our costume is? What song are we doing?”, as they anticipate this from the beginning. But, for some students this is a very stressful time, as many stand in front of the mirror in judgment of themselves. I was one of those kids. In high school, I developed body dysmorphic tendencies, so being measured was a very stressful time for me. I stood, waiting to see the numbers. Even though by society standards I was a thin girl, I didn't see that in the mirror. Most kids who have issues with their size, weight, and certain parts of their body suffer silently. As a result of social media and the internet, our kids are becoming more body conscious at a younger age. Proving why it is so important to make conscientious decisions when selecting and measuring for costumes.Tiffany Headshot

    As recital season is approaching, the time has come to measure dancers for their costumes. As this time of year can be stressful for dancers and teachers alike, we have compiled a few helpful tips we use at our studio to help make costume measuring simple:

    • Post the costume measuring dates on your Studio Calendar to let dancers anticipate measuring!
    • For younger dancers, explain why and how you are measuring them. Try to use an assistant or older dancer to demonstrate the process.
    • Always ask children, “Can I measure you?” or “Are you ready?” allowing them to be in control of their own body and lower nerves. You can offer to have the parent measure the child, while guiding proper measuring.
    • Wording can make a difference. Don’t use “too big” or “too small”, as those words can trigger. Instead, you could say, “This costume needs to be a little longer on you, let’s get something that is more comfortable.”
    • Do not make comments about their bodies. For example, if a child asks, “Am I bigger than last year?” your response could be, “Oh my goodness, you’re growing so much! You’re getting taller, that’s fantastic!”
    • Do not let the kids see their recorded numbers. Remember: Beauty is not a measurement!
    • For group measuring, face the dancer away from other people. For pre-teens and teens, it may be better to measure them individually away from their peers, so they don’t feel self-conscious.
    • A size can make or break a dancer’s psyche. Costumes are not made to fit every body type perfectly. Handing a dancer a costume that is a larger size than what they normally wear in street clothes, takes them to a negative emotional space. To help with this, place stickers over the size on the bag and use it to write the dancer’s name on them. The size remains inside the costume, but it is not the first thing staring them in the face. See below for our fun and inspiring label templates!
    • Once the costumes come in and the dancer’s try them on, ask each one how it feels. You can ask them to dance in it to be sure the costume fits properly (not riding up or falling down). Make it a point to notice… do they wrap their hands around their waist because they are self-conscious? Do you see their shoulders roll forward instead of standing up with pride? Are they not dancing to their fullest ability in the costume? These are the small nuances that kids are going to do instead of saying that they are uncomfortable. If you notice this, ask them if the costume is comfortable and how it makes them feel. This will prompt the child to tell you what they are really feeling. It might mean exchanging a size, adding better straps or adding a piece of fabric, but it is our job as educators to make these kids feel happy, confident, healthy and safe.
    • When selecting your costumes, choose styles that will flatter every body type in your group. When a dancer feels confident, they will dance with confidence. When the costume, choreography, music and concept comes together, that’s when the magic happens.

    Today’s children are inundated with images on the internet and social media. They are constantly comparing themselves to other people, trying to fit the typical mold. It's important for them to see other dancers that look like them and they can relate to. Dancers come in all shapes and sizes, all ethnicities, all abilities. They have braces, glasses, unclear skin. It's a part of growing up. I'm really proud of Curtain Call for going forward with a costume line and book that has appropriate costumes for all of our kids; not just the stereotypical idea of what a dancer looks like. I can show a costume from Curtain Call and my dancers see someone like them.

    Being a Y.P.A.D. (Youth Protection Advocates In Dance) Certified educator and having a certified staff has helped with our whole costume process, as my team has the proper training and tools to make the best decisions for our dancers.

    - Tiffany Prout-Leitao - Owner & Director of Center Stage

    Download our fun and inspiring garment bag label templates! Print these labels using Avery® Template 8163.


    About Tiffany

    Tiffany is the Owner and Artistic Director of Center Stage Dance and founder of the non-profit Center Stage Outreach Team.  She has performed and taught throughout the United States, Europe and China.  Tiffany is an award-winning jazz choreographer who has done numerous industrials, commercials, television shows and has worked with several national recording artists. She is on the Advisory Panel and a certified Y.P.A.D. (Youth Protection Advocates in Dance) educator and adjudicator, an organization dedicated to stop the exploitation of our youth in the performing arts. Tiffany is a Rhythm Works Integrative Dance Certified instructor whose goal is to ensure that dance is accessible to everyone. As a dance educator for over 25 years, Her mission is to create a safe, healthy and happy dance environment and pass on her passion for dance and life to the students of Center Stage.

  • Designing a Future with Y.P.A.D. in Mind

    Every year when our Design team begins their creative process, they must evaluate the current fashion trends, new stylish colors, pop culture phenomena’s, and collaborate their ideas, images, and perspectives to curate costumes for the upcoming seasons. This year, even more than years past, our Design team began their design process with every dancer in mind.
    During the development of the 2018 Curtain Call collection, our team collaborated with Y.P.A.D.’s Advisory Panel to develop, organize and implement market analysis to help studios choose costumes that specifically support children with sensory sensitivities. This research helped to determine which types of costumes, fabrics, and design elements accommodate specific needs.

    This summer our Curtain Call team, including the designers, also had the privilege of becoming Y.P.A.D.™ Certified. Curtain Call is currently the first and only certified dance costume company in the industry! The certification covers topics such as; Body Image, Costuming, Sexualization, Objectification in Dance, and more. This knowledge and education is extremely important to our design team. “I feel honored to be part of a much broader community of individuals devoted to eliminating exploitation in the dance industry. Y.P.A.D. has helped me realize the potential I have as a designer to influence appropriate costume choices and feel proud that through my designs, I can make a difference in the lives of young dancers,” Curtain Call Designer Jessica Saunders said after becoming certified.

    With the insight gained from the market research, as well as the certification, we are able to effectively design sensory-friendly costumes, flattering designs for every body, and appropriate looks for all ages. Curtain Call Designer Candice Specht mentioned, “We do not necessarily need to change our designs, we can still be cool and trendy! It is all about being age appropriate.” Senior Designer, Amy Hess, added, “We live in a hypersexualized culture, and it is important as we move forward with our 2019 Collections, that our costumes lift a dancer’s self-esteem by helping them embrace the beauty they have within.”

    Curtain Call has always believed in creating one-of-a-kind costumes that would allow every dancer to rock their routine on stage. With the insight and knowledge our team has gained through our Y.P.A.D.™ Certification, we will continue to enforce these values in a positive and healthy way in every aspect of what we do!
    So what is to come for 2019 Curtain Call Costumes? Our Designer Candice reassured us, “Expect comfort! It is very important to give children something they feel wonderful and confident in.”

    Keep an eye out for our helpful icons throughout the price list and online to help studios choose costumes that specifically support children with sensory sensitivities. These icons indicate: Sensory Friendly, Compression, Fidget Friendly, Glitter Free, and Adjustable Straps. These icons were created with everybody in mind, allowing you to select the right garments for all your dancers!

  • Y.P.A.D.™ Certification: Special Guest - Katie Gatlin

    We are excited to share insight from YPAD Advisory Panel Member, Katie Gatlin, B.S., M.S.

    katie-galtinOver the summer months, Curtain Call and Youth Protection Advocates in Dance (YPAD), joined forces to collaborate on a Body Image and Special Needs Initiative. The Body Image Initiative focused on a dancer’s experience while trying on costumes, while the Special Needs Initiative promoted inclusiveness in dance by providing a photo shoot with a variety of dancers and providing icons (for sensory integration needs) in the costume catalog. Both initiatives were pioneering!

    I have been a dance instructor for 19 years and owned a dance studio for five years. I have my M.S. in Mental Health Counseling/Psychology and work with adolescents with a myriad of special needs and/or mental health disorders. Being a lead on the initiative committees was an inspiring and humbling experience. It is my opinion, that not only are these initiatives important but that Curtain Call has raised the standard for costume companies. Creating icons for costumes that cited a source for compression needs, fidget needs, and which fabrics are not as itchy; (to name a few) not only assists instructors in choosing a costume for individuals who have special needs but also dancers who have sensitivities. It would have been invaluable to have notation regarding a variety of sensory needs when I ordered countless costumes while I owned a studio. The process of developing icons and categorizing the costumes allowed me to truly conceptualize and appreciate the various nuances of costuming that may affect dancers differently.

    The Body Image Initiative was particularly intriguing but also a bit triggering. When in college I was hospitalized for anorexia nervosa and costuming typically triggered me and my disordered eating and body image. A dancer has a multitude of opportunities to scrutinize their bodies. Dancing in front of mirrors, seeing videos and pictures of themselves, and trying on countless costumes. Although many dancers are excited to receive their costumes, some may experience anxiety and/or deflated body image and self esteem. Through a variety of medias, females learn to view their bodies as objects rather than the intricate machines that they are. Media portrays a narrow and strict definition/idea of what a body should look like or what is socially acceptable. Those that do not fit that definition/idea may feel shamed. That is then compounded by adolescence and their perception. It is a slippery slope and one that needs to be acknowledged and discussed. The Body Image Initiative provides a qualitative glimpse of this process and also provides insight and talking points for studio owners and instructors.

    For many, dance is cathartic and a form of release and expression; however, during a variety of experiences (costuming, competition, recital, etc.) dancers’ insecurities can be magnified. Both of these initiatives revealed a plethora of talking points in regards to the costuming aspect of the dance world. Dance is more than just movement and counts, it is a total body experience that requires the mind, body and spirit of the being. Understanding all that encompasses a dancer’s experience will allow us to better serve our dancers and their needs. The popular YPAD hashtag, put the dancer before the dance, is given clarity through these initiatives. Curtain Call leads the industry in this standard and has proven time and again to put the dancer before the dance.

    For more information regarding YPAD, please visit ypad4change.org.

    Read the full Body Image and Costumes Exclusive YPAD Research article.

  • Y.P.A.D.™ Certification: Thoughts from our Relationship Managers

    We reached out to a few of your favorite Curtain Call Relationship Managers to see what aspects of Curtain Call's Y.P.A.D.™ Certification stood out to them the most, here's what they had to say:

    What aspect of the Y.P.A.D. Certification stood out to you most?

    Some of the facts and statistics shared during the certification program are mind boggling. It’s easy to have a knowledge of what you think may be going on in our industry, but not an understanding. What stood out to me the most is probably the effects of social media. I don’t have children, so I don’t have to monitor the social media in my household. If I see something that is bothersome, I can simply scroll past it. Unfortunately, today’s youth are exposed to the world via social media, yet, they don’t have the life skills to know how to handle all of that information. The certification has definitely made me more aware of how dance and social media can occasionally intertwine negatively, and how to keep it positive and uplifting. – Ameila Fazio

    The dangers of oversexualizing children was a huge eye opener for me. Not only the dangers from sexual predators, but also for a child’s self-esteem and body awareness. I think I have been exposed to the dance world and what has become the “norm” in dance trends for so long, I have become partially numb to the reality that, children were no longer dancing or dressing like children. I would watch routines and think “they are talented enough to pull it off”. The actuality is talent should have nothing to do with how children are portrayed and viewed as a dancer. Growing up, children are exposed to the harsh realities of this world so quickly, we should absolutely not be rushing maturity upon them. – Christine Luca

    What stood out to me the most was the feelings the surfaced throughout the certification. Being involved in the dance industry my whole life, whether being a student, a performer, a teacher, and now a marketer of dance apparel, I have seen and witnessed many instances that Y.P.A.D. is addressing. There is a sense of relief that an organization is addressing these issues and making the dance industry aware. – Cori Callahan

    To be certified by an organization that provides standards and values that I am passionate about. To have knowledge, support and resources available and to be an advocate in the dance industry. – Debbie Carr

    What do you believe is the #1 benefit of the Y.P.A.D. Certification for our customers?

    Becoming YPAD certified is a whole new way of thinking and doing business. For me, it represents a complete change in mindset about things I previously knew, I would imagine it would be even more impactful for studio owners. The benefit of that shift in thinking is the effect on those people our studio owners serve, from the students, to their parents, siblings, and even friends. – Ameila Fazio

    Parents will feel assured that their children are in a safe and nurturing environment, which will help grow their business as a trusted establishment in the community! – Christine Luca

    TRUST. Our customers can trust us that we will deliver a product they can be proud of. – Cori Callahan

    For our customers the certification is beneficial to them in knowing that we have and will continue to provide costumes that meet the Y.P.A.D. standards. – Debbie Carr

    Why should anyone choose to gain their Y.P.A.D. Certification?

    Our world is changing every day, whether we like it or not. The certification will give you the tools and training to understand issues students and parents may be faced with, and how to help them through. Everyone from teachers and office staff, to studio owners and industry professionals, should take this certification seriously. – Ameila Fazio

    As dance professionals, I think it’s important to be educated on all of the potential risks involved with children in the dance industry. There are many things that most people would never think of that may be harming children under their watch. – Christine Luca

    It take a village to raise our children. As dance educators, they are a part of this village. Our dancers deserve to be guided by positive, healthy and happy ways. – Cori Callahan

    They should choose to gain certification to become educated and gain resources. To be an advocate that will positively impact their customers and improve their business model. – Debbie Carr

    Stay tuned for more insight from your Relationship Managers on Curtain Call's Y.P.A.D.™ Certification in the next segment of our Y.P.A.D.™ Certification series! 
  • The Woman Behind the Camera at Curtain Call

    Ever wonder what its like to be on set for a Curtain Call catalog photo shoot? Our long time photographer, Pammi Simone, shares her passions and favorite tips, while giving you an inside look at her life behind the lens.  Pammi

    Where did you gain your professional experience in photography?

    My ‘formal’ education was a vocational program during my last year of high school. I immediately began working at a studio and learned most of what I know and developed my photography skills on the job.

    How many years of experience have you had?

    I have twenty years in the field.

    When did you initially know photography was your calling?

    When I was 17 years old, and the instructor at the vocational school I was attending had to kick me out of the darkroom well after the school day had ended.

    What was your first experience in the field like?

    I began as an assistant. I remember showing up to the job interview, all dressed up with portfolio in hand. The owner of the studio breezed through it, snapped it shut and said… “these are nice… can you lift a heavy trash can?”

    What/ who are you greatest inspirations for you work?

    First and foremost Bill Simone. He taught me almost everything I know about light, composition, and professional conduct. Other inspirations have come from studying the work of Irving Penn, Edward Weston, Phil Marco and Terry Heffernan.

    When did you begin working with Curtain Call?

    Curtain Call was already working with the studio when I began as a teenager. I assisted on their catalog projects, loading film magazines and raising 80 lb. backgrounds.

    What is a day on set at Curtain Call like? What are some of your roles?

    We have a lot of fun while we work through the Curtain Call shoots. Dance and photography are both creative fields, and the team at Curtain Call pulls together talented minds for collaboration. There are costume designers, graphic designers, textile experts, choreographers, myself as the photographer and, of course, very talented dancers and gymnasts.

    Do you have any funny experiences that come to mind since working with Curtain Call?

    There could be a “top ten” quotables list somewhere of phrases like “back shot!” and “you’re kinking it!” that will always bring a laugh to the team as we work. We also frequently recall models that were in catalogs of years gone by, and talk about where they are currently in their dance careers and share laughs over what they were like as a three year old.

    It’s recital day, my dancer is all dressed-up with their hair and makeup done, how can I capture the best picture of my dancer with my smart phone? Where should I go?

    Smart phones are so advanced today compared to what you had even just five years ago. Have fun with some of the different features available like speed ramping video and film effects. However, any image will be improved if you first begin with good light and good composition. Try to find large, soft sources of light to stand your dancer next to: patio doors, the shady side of a building, a large window. If those backgrounds don’t measure up, try finding a plain wall or place them far away from a background and zoom in so the background goes out of focus.

    While taking pictures of my dancer, how can I pose them to capture the best photo?

    Standing with hips straight on to the camera will surely add those ‘ten pounds’ if you are an adult female dancer. Try angling your dancer to one side or another a bit, then turn their upper body back to the camera. If this looks too ‘posey’ just have them stand comfortably and shift all of their weight to their back leg, away from the camera. Of course, a well executed dance move- in costume and at the right angle will always make a nice shot! Wide angle lenses will exaggerate anything that is closest to the lens. Zooming in a bit will diminish that effect.

    I’m sitting in the audience at my dancer’s first recital, how can I capture the best photo of them from my smart phone?

    Often times the wide angle lens of smart phones makes the stage look very small in your photo. If you are able to, get closer to the stage so you won’t have to zoom in as far. Also, levels of light are very low in the theater, and very high in contrast on the stage. Smart phones have a hard time with this.

    Getting closer will also fill your frame with more lit objects, and give the impression of a clearer image. You can engage the HDR function of your smartphone to reduce the contrast.

    There is often a delay from the time you touch the screen of your smartphone to the time it actually captures the image. Try to anticipate the moment you want to capture and be ready for it.

    Do you have any generic tips to avoid?

    Hmmm, the obvious:
    Don’t force a small child into posing for a shot when there is something they aren’t happy about.
    Most people don’t like butt shots of themselves.
    A real smile or laugh is always better than a forced one.
    Don’t give up on the first try if you are doing a dance move. We always do more than one take!

    In general, if you have a DSLR with a high ISO capability and a long lens, (and an understanding of how to use them) you will be able to achieve images that are more on par with what you might see in dance articles and magazines. You’ll be able to freeze action better and adjust for carrying lighting conditions. However, if you know the limitations of your smart phone (i.e. when to stop zooming in, how it handles low light levels, etc.) you can work within those parameters.

  • Get a Fresh Start: Tips for Cleaning Your Routine


    By: Jerica Robinson, Relationship Manager

    Cleaning a dance is one of the most vital steps in preparing a routine. Whether it's for competition season, community showcases, or dance recitals, this process can become extremely stressful. And at this point in the year, our students become complacent. I'm going to share a few techniques you can use to clean a routine, while incorporating some fun! In my experience, three of the most helpful ways to clean a dance are breaking them into sections, video-taping, and something I like to call, adding-on.

    Break It Up

    Breaking your dance into sections will help you understand when and where your students are struggling. I like to break my dance into three different sections, and then two eight-counts at a time. By doing so, they can easily learn each section FULL OUT!! After cleaning each eight-count, we gradually speed up the tempo, before adding the music. Once all three sections have been completed, we will then take our dance in halves, using the same process. Although the process is lengthy, it works wonders.

    Hit Record

    I like to videotape the class twice, once with counts and once with music. By watching each video, I can clearly recognize when a student is delayed or anticipating a movement. You can also view the video in “slow motion” which helps you to see simple mistakes. Using this technique, it also allows the class to see any errors for themselves, while also utilizing constructive peer-editing, rather than hearing critiques from their teacher.

    Add On

    The last technique is where the fun begins, add-ons! Breaking the class into two groups is the best way to approach this technique. Starting with two of your most precise students, instruct them through the routine, critiquing as needed. Slowly, add another group of two, and so on, and so forth. By seeing routine in groups and critiquing in real time, each routine will come out cleaner than the last.

    Each of these techniques has a unique benefit and I hope you find them helpful! I also suggest, if your dancers need a little bit of a break, it's always fun to let them do the routine in groups or with an assigned partner. Like I always say, “sometimes hearing a critique from a peer, is a lot easier than the teacher drilling every week”. Remember, you want to keep things exciting to ensure a positive attitude throughout the class.

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