Tag Archives: Body Image

  • 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.

  • Inspiring Confidence Through Costumes Part One: Choosing the Right Look for Every Dancer

    Costumes for Every Body TypeAccording to research conducted at the School of Psychology at University of Hertfordshire, ninety-six percent of women believe that what they wear affects how confident they feel, and dancers are no exception to this rule.

    In dance, it’s very possible to have a wide range of body types within one class, especially with children and pre-teen age groups, where dancers are still growing. This can present challenges for dance teachers and studio owners in regards to selecting costumes that will make all of their dancers feel comfortable and happy.

    To ensure every dancer feels confident on stage, it is important for studio owners to find styles that will flatter each dancer in the group. To help teachers and studio owners successfully do this, here is Curtain Call’s guide to selecting the best silhouettes, fabrics and styles to outfit their classes:

    For All Dancers:

    For a class of all sizes, try a costume with a velvet bodice. Stretch velvets are great fabrics for those classes that span across the size chart. Velvet is most flattering when worn with other materials, such as tulle, to balance the shine and texture. (Smooth Motion E1376)

    To flatter a range of body types, try a tunic. Tunics, particularly ones with belts that accentuate the waist and flare out around the hips, can be very flattering, no matter your body shape. Because tunics may add volume to the upper body, it's best to balance them with tighter bottoms, such as jazz pants or leggings. (Jazz Zone E1446)


    For Curvy Dancers:

    Try wearing tank or cap sleeves. Tanks and slanted cap sleeves are great options for the bustier dancer as they are bra-friendly. Some styles also feature more modest or higher cut necklines, which can help elongate the body. (To Live We Love R353, Adornment E1371)

    For a slimming effect, try a sash. Sashes or other waist design treatments are great slimming features on many costume styles. These intricate details also create a look of cohesion when dancers are wearing different variations of the same costume. Sashes that run diagonally across the chest can also provide a lengthening effect. (Stand By You R398)


    For Lean Dancers:

    For lean dancers, try jackets and peplum styles. These styles are very trendy and can help create the illusion of shape, balance out proportions, or enhance curves that are already there. All body types can benefit from these styles. (Bright Lights J5019)

    For more slight dancers, try defining lines. High necklines, empire shapes and details on the bust can define shape and showcase a soft, feminine look. These styles transform slender physiques into a more curvy shape by creating the illusion of a fuller bust and hips. (One More Dance E1417)


    For On-Stage Group Asthetics:

    For big groups, try universally flattering colors. By choosing colors that look good on everyone, the group’s confidence can lead to a stellar performance. Try wearing emerald, charcoal, fuchsia, navy blue, cobalt blue, teal, purple or multi-colored ensembles. (Jam Up E1425)

    For different heights, try altered skirts or pants. Height differences among dancers can make picking a skirt length a challenge for classes. Choose pants and skirts that are easily hemable or separates that can be tied at a desired length. (Uptown Beat J5029)


    Download Inspiring Confidence Through Costumes Part I: Choosing the Right Look for Every Dancer (PDF)

2 Item(s)