There are many forms of dance and the costumes for each one have specific requirements. We are all familiar with the ballet tutu and most of us recognise the flamenco dancer’s many layered skirts, but what about ballroom? Dancing with the Stars has given us a glimpse of the fabulous gowns and sexy little cha-cha costumes. How does the amateur dancer choose the right costume?
Let’s start with the basics – the style of the dance. Smooth dances such as waltz and fox trot require gowns that fit snugly to the upper body and allow the arms to be raised to shoulder height without disturbing the line of the dress. The skirts are full and heavy so they swing out with the turns and drop back in place as soon as the movement changes. Embellishments can enhance the dancer and the dress. Feather boas at the hem were popular in the ‘90s, crystals on the bodice, and floating scarf-like pieces continue to be popular.
Latin dances on the other hand; cha-cha, rumba, salsa, etc. call for short and sassy costumes. You want to emphasize the hip movement and have the costume move with every beat of the music. It must fit snugly from shoulder to hip and can expose as much skin as the dancer is comfortable with. The pros often wear a costume that looks like a bikini with ruffles, but most amateurs feel too exposed in that style and want a bit more coverage. Fringe and crystals are popular embellishments.
Tango is in a class of its own requiring slinky dresses that expose the leg but looks like a smooth/standard gown. The skirts are not as full as those for smooth dances; in fact a straight skirt is often preferred with split up the hip to show off the leg movement. Irregular hems and minimal embellishments define these gowns.
Watch this site for more information on how to choose a costume that suits your body and style. You can see some samples on my Facebook site.
Your comments and questions are always welcome.