According 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)