Musical productions often seek to tell a story. The dancers movements, facial expressions, and costumes all add to the audiences’ understanding of the tale. Different styles of dance have their own unique costumes which speak of the dance’s origins, and the most successful performers choose their outfit very carefully to make sure it fits in with the production. Here's a few examples:
1. Flamenco Outfit
A Spanish flamenco dress is always a winner. Flamenco productions inevitably consist of guitar playing, song, and dance. Flamenco is very emotional. Dancers seek to express their feelings using their bodies and the performance will include lots of hand clapping and stamping feet. It’s important that the costume allows freedom of movement and its for this reason that Flamenco dresses fan out from high over the hips. Outfits come with ruffled trimming along the edge of the skirt and sleeves, are always very colorful, and often combined with black. Complete your ensemble with a traditional shawl over your shoulders, and remember to put your hair up into a bun with a colorful clip or comb.
2. Jazz Outfit
Jazz dance productions have their roots firmly in early twentieth-century America. Jazz used to be an African American form of social dancing that originated from African slave dancing. Jazz dance emphasized rhythm and groundedness. Jazz outfits for the stage will usually consist of black pants of various lengths. A leotard type top can be worn with these, or else a corset. A black top hat is often worn. Jazz shoes are a vital part of the look. They are a little like ballet shoes except that they have a low heel. You may choose from full or split soles in black or tan. Finish your outfit with a jazz dance stick. This will be important if you’re going to be doing any “hat and jazz stick” routines.
3. Ballet Outfit
Perhaps your dance production has a ballet theme? Traditionally, a fitted leotard is worn, which may be any color that fits the character. A tulle skirt is worn over this, which may vary from short to ankle length. Costumes are often sequinned and embellished. Ballet shoes are soft, satiny and slipper-shaped. Don’t forget tights for under all that tulle to complete your look. Hair is almost always scraped back into a tight bun.
4. Hip-Hop Outfit
Hip-hop is an American street dance style. Inspired by rappers and urban street fashion, the signature look you’re going for is usually loose-fitting to allow for easy movement, although some tighter clothing (such as leggings) is also allowed. The basic look is sweatpants and a big tee shirt with high-top sneakers. Oh and, don’t forget that cap just in case you find yourself suddenly doing head spins.
5. Indian Dance Outfit
Indian dance traditions have their origins in the Hindu religion. Little wonder then that the theatrical costumes take their inspiration from ancient temple clothes. Like other dance styles, Indian dance tells a story through body movements. The costumes are always ablaze with vibrant colors. You'll need a long circular skirt that flares out as you spin around on stage. Pair this with a tightly fitted blouse and a long, draped scarf pinned to the shoulder. Indian dance clothes are invariably ornate. You can’t go wrong with a gold border and plenty of embellishment. Jewelry needs to be heavy and gold. Multiple bracelets, ear and finger rings should be worn all together.
6. Burlesque Dance Outfit
Most burlesque outfits adhere to a standard formula. They’re sexy and fun, similar to a fifties pin-up girl. You’ll need piles of sequins and feathers. Stocking with suspender belts are standard. Brightly colored bra-tops with tassels are popular, as are feather boas to accessorize. Exotic feathered or bejewelled headdresses are always great with this look. Remember, the look is layered because the idea is to peel each item away as the dance progresses. Heavy, glitzy make-up and elaborate hairdos complete this very bold look.
7. Futuristic Dance Outfit
This look relies on a lot of fake leather, shiny plastic or metallic fabrics. The costumes are often very fitted from head to toe, with low heeled boots. The jackets often have unusual shoulder pads or side flaps. Black, silver, or head to toe white are the colors to go for.
Achieving the best and most relevant look for your musical performance isn't all that hard. Almost all of the examples above have simple foundation garments that rely on specific accessories to complete the statement. Hopefully, we've given you some ideas to work with, so your next big production can be a resounding success!