stage makeup myths busted
07 May 2014

Stage Makeup Myths Busted!

Myth: Dancers should only wear RED lipstick on stage

Reality: If you were choreographing “Romeo and Juliet”, would Juliet wear red lipstick???  I think not. In the Ballet world, it is clearly understood that dancers are playing characters…and their makeup reflects that. There IS such a thing as a neutral, beautiful, rose-toned lip color that is gorgeous on stage and looks stunning on dancers of every skin color. Dancers performing a lyrical or contemporary piece with a rose-toned lip color look like they have “lips” rather than looking like they have ruby red “lipstick” on.

Myth: Dancers should wear BLUE EYE SHADOW on stage

Reality: Blue eye shadow was used on stage back in the 60’s and 70’s (and even now! Yikes!).  Many former professional dancers that are now teachers have passed this little stage makeup idea on down to their students…and so on, and so on, and so on.  Blue eye shadow was a very popular fashion trend back then so that is why it ended up on stages – NOT because it was the best eye shadow color to wear on stage.  Blue eye shadow does NOT accentuate the eyes well under intense stage lighting.   Blue eye shadow does NOT make many skin tones look healthy on stage.  Blue eye shadow does NOT coordinate well with all costume colors.

Best colors to use that look show up well under intense stage lighting, make the face look fresh and healthy, and look great with every costume change?  Use neutral, earthy toned eye shadows for stage performances – white, cream, beige, gold, bronze, peach, pink, med – dark brown, black.

Myth: Stage makeup should be dark enough to reach the back of the theatre

Reality: If your stage makeup is dark enough to reach the back of the theatre, you would look scary and gruesome to the audience members in the front of the house; the people that paid the most for their tickets!  We do not have big, bright footlights that wash out every feature on your face propped up on the front edge of the stage anymore (circa 1970!).  Stage lighting is lot less harsh than it was back in the day.  Your stage makeup should dark enough so that your facial features are clearly seen by the first 8-12 rows of the theatre – about 3-4 times darker than your street makeup.  However, your smile, your energy, and your passion for dancing should definitely reach the back of the theatre.

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Are you sure you know exactly what you are going to need in the dressing room? Check out my Stage Makeup Kit Checklist, just in case.

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