Costumes for Creative Dance Performance – What to do?

Kerry B asked:
Do you think that kids need to dress in “costume” for performances to portray a certain character……..Is it necessary or could be too distracting and take away from the dance itself.

I am doing a movement sequence about horses and butterflies for my kids ages 4-5 (creative ballet and movement).  Could they just wear dance clothing and uses their simply dance and pretend to be whatever animal or person we put in the story?  I know many parents want them to “look cute” , but hats fall off, wings  get caught in hair ect.

My personal thoughts are it is a dance performance, not a costume show……but now to convince others.

My thoughts on this:
For an informance, children dress as they wish, following the basic safety rules: no shoes, hair off the face, comfortable clothes.

For an abstract dance, ask for a color scheme that everyone has in their wardrobe:

  • jeans and white shirts
  • black bottoms and bright colorful tops, no patterns (or worn inside-out if patterns will show, keep a scissors on hand to snip off tags)
  • dress as a twin with your partner; work it out with your partner

For a theme-based dance, ask for colors that suggest the theme:

  • water dance: everyone wears cool colors (blue, green) and  off white
  • fire dance: everyone wears warm colors (red, orange, yellow)

For characters, add a costume piece that suggests the role

  • bandana around the neck for cowboys, pioneers, etc.
  • vests and ties for “boys” and “girls” (even if the whole cast is female)

Keep it simple, inexpensive and easy-on/easy-off.

One of the things that differentiates our work from Ballet/Tap/Jazz/Baton studios is that we de-emphasize the expenditures on the clothes, stay away from competition, and put the emphasis on the creative.


February 27, 2012. Tags: . Costumes, Kate Kuper on Teaching Creative Dance, Recitals. 1 comment.