Applying Stage Makeup for Recital and Competition
When dancers are on stage, their facial expressions can add to and enhance the movements of a particular piece. Not wearing makeup in a performance can cause a dancer’s face to look blank from the audience’s perspective, being washed out by the spotlights and stage lighting. It is important for an audience to be able to see the dancers’ eyes and mouths. Here are some tips to properly apply stage makeup for your next performance.
Foundation should be applied that either matches the dancer’s skin tone, or is slightly darker. Naturally pale-skinned dancers should try to use a foundation that is darker or more pink than their natural tone. To highlight the facial structure and give more emphasis on the face when on stage, use rouge or blush in streaks – across the forehead, across the upper portion of the cheekbones, down the top of the nose, and on the chin. Remember to blend these streaks into the foundation with a sponge, which will create a softer, sun-kissed look.
A lip pencil can be uesd to make smaller lips more prominent. Outline the lips with pencil, and then fill in with a similarly-colored lipstick. Red lipstick is typically used because it stands out on stage, but any shade that is brighter than daily wear (in red or burgundy tones) will work. Using a lipstick that is too dark, or more on the purple side, will look out of place on stage. Many competitive studios will use a certain manufacturer and shade of lipstick so that their dancers are all uniform, so check with your studio to see if they have a particular shade in mind.
All dancers should use eyeliner to emphasize the upper line of the eyelids. To make eyes appear larger, slightly extend the line of the eyeliner from the outside corner of the eye. A smaller line should be used on the lower lids. For eyeshadow, natural colors work best, such as browns or dark purples. The “smoky eye” effect can provide a dramatic look onstage, but may be too much for younger dancers. The point of most stage makeup is to look like a more enhanced version of your natural tones. Whatever colors are used for eyeshadows, remember to put a bright color in the center of the eyelid just above the pupil to make the eye appear to be open wider. A bright blue works best for this technique.
A dark mascara (or false eyelashes for older dancers) will put the finishing touch on the look. Dancers should practice different makeup techniques before the day of the performance, to be sure that all their makeup is in good condition and the looks they create are appropriate for the venue and routine.
Article written by Terry Finch.