I've returned from my week-long vacation to Florida and surprisingly enough, it's nice to be back. My family and I hit both Universal Studios and Disney World and it was an absolute blast. I'll post some pictures below. :)
Now that I'm back I'll be working on the recital and a benefit for a children's hospital that my dance school is participating in. We'll be performing a number called "Ain't Got That Swing" that we've recreated since its debut at the dance school several years ago. It's an intense tap dance with classic swing dancing and a very climactic (and difficult) wing sequence at the end. I'm very excited to be performing for such a great cause.
(For any of you who aren't familiar with wings then here's a video of what we'll be doing)
I'd like to thank everyone for being such diligent followers and sending me so many requests/ideas for posts. It's quite helpful and I hope that everyone is enjoying the articles.
Thanks so much for reading guys! I hope everyone had a great Easter!
View from our hotel in Universal
Even the clouds have Mickey faces in them... Spooky! :P
I finally leanred how to tie the cherry stem into a knot with my mouth!
Cirque Du Soleil... MOST AMAZING THING I'VE EVER SEEN.
Recently I got a request to do an article on my dance bag and the universe inside of it. I'd like to say thanks to Julie for suggesting the idea!
Click on the photos to enlarge
Inside: 4 pairs of sewn pointe shoes, 2 pairs of un-sewn pointe shoes (I'm currently in between brands), sewing kit (thread, needles and scissors), pointe shoe rougher, "little black bag" with pads and toe spacers inside, trash-bag shorts, 2 pairs of leg warmers (black and pink), tap shoes, skirt (black), baby powder, a cooling spray, a mini bottle of Purell, Icy Hot Roll On, an inhaler, peppermint scented foot cream, water bottle, mints, a bag of hair supplies, cell phone, a bag of Advil, flat ballet shoes, tennis ball and warm-up socks.
My dance bag is stuffed to the brim. There are some days that I literally cannot zip it closed! The pointe shoes are usually kept in my locker at the dance school but over vacation I like to take them home with me in case I wanted to do a little practicing. The sewing kit that I keep in a plastic bag is unbelievably handy. There have been several occasions in which right before a show my ribbon and/or elastic began to come un-sewn. There was no way I would risk it coming undone on stage so I just whipped out the little sewing kit and fixed it. Thank goodness I had it!
Like many other dancers, I have asthma and like to keep an inhaler on hand. When I'm doing rehearsals for long periods of time I usually need to use it.
Icy Hot has got to be one of the best things ever invented. It relieves tense muscles like there's no tomorrow and is one of my must-haves.
I think it's a good idea to keep Purell in your bag because many hands are touching the barres each day. During flu season and cold season we wipe down the barres with disinfectant wipes after each use. Not only can Purell keep your hands clean but it can keep your toe spacers or gel pads clean as well.
The pointe shoe rougher is used to literally used to rough up the bottom of your pointe shoes. This can increase the friction between your shoe and the floor and make it much less slippery. I use my "rougher" before every show, class and rehearsal. The cooling spray is a foot spray that some friends gave me for my birthday and the peppermint scented foot cream is great to have during the winter when my feet are extremely dry and itchy.
The dance bag itself is just a bag that I bought at Marshalls for around $30.00. I use to have a hockey bag (no joke) and got pretty tired of lugging it around everywhere so I went with something about half the size. It's designed by Steve Madden and is the most convenient bag I've found to date.
Thanks for reading guys! Any questions, comments or requests then you can contact me here or leave a comment below.
Stage makeup is essential to a dancer's appearance on stage. If there's too little, your face gets washed out and all you can see is a round blob, if there's too much you may seem to have black holes rather than eyes! Each face is very different and it takes some practice to discover what accentuates your face the way you want it to. I would definitely suggest practicing this before a performance so grab a mirror and your makeup supplies and experiment with these steps to see what works with your bone structure.
(The numbers in parentheses refer to the brush that I use for that step. I bought this kit for about $12.00 at WalMart and brush 8 I bought seperately)
It helps tremendously to have a clean face before applying any makeup. Remove any previous makeup residue and be sure to pull your hair out of the way. It's up to you whether you do your hair before or after doing your makeup, but it can be less of an annoyance to do it beforehand.
Apply a foundation that matches your skin tone all over your face and slightly blend it into your neck. You can use your favorite brand but I find that Maybelline's Dream Matte Mousseworks fantastically. However if you do use the Dream Matte Mousse then it will shine when you sweat so a powder to go over it is recommended. Again, you can certainly use your favorite brand but I would suggest using Maybelline's Dream Matte Powder. You now apply the powder over every surface which you applied the foundation.
White Eye Shadow (Brush 3)
Using a brush, apply a generous amount of white eyeshadow to your entire eye lid. (After this step I usually look very ghostly)
My next step is applying liquid eye liner over the very tip of the eyelid. Any brand of black (no extra glitter or shimmer) eye liner will work. Here's a picture of what it should look like:
This step is optional depending on the requests of your dance school/company. Applying false eyelashes is very tricky and I would greatly recommend practicing before opening night. ;)
First, trim your false eyelashes so they are slightly shorter than the length of your eye. (Some people may not need to do this) You can guess as to what the right size would be by holding the lashes up to your eye. Next, squirt out a little dab of eyelash glue (I use a brand of glue called Duo that is in a blue/white little tube that can be found at your local pharmacy) onto a surface that you wouldn't mind being momentarily dirty. (A bathroom counter, the case for the eyelashes or even the back of your hand) hold the tips of the eyelashes and run the root through the glue so it is lightly coated. You should wait about a minute for the glue to slightly dry.
(After applying the glue it should look something like this)
Carefully line up the eyelashes against your own and slightly press down on the edges. Hold it there for 20-30 seconds to allow the glue to adhere to your skin. After you remove your fingers if some of the white glue is still showing then you can cover it with more black liquid eye liner.
The eye lashes should look something like this. (It will look slightly different depending on the length and brand of the lash)
Brown Eye Shadow (Brush 5)
Apply the brown eye shadow in the crease of your eye, above the eyelid and below the brow bone. The shadow should be darker on the outside of your eye rather than the inside. At the edge of your eye form a sideways triangle that looks like this:
Black Eye Shadow (Brush 4)
Using a light amount of black eye shadow, dab it over the brown triangle you just created. This is just to darken the features and contour your face a bit. Afterwards it should look like this:
(I usually do this step a bit darker than I did here)
White Eye Shadow 2 (Brush 3)
Above the brown/black eye shadow and below the eyebrow, apply more white eye shadow. This is to highlight your features and better distinct your eyebrow from your eye.
(You can't really see it in this picture but it's there!)
Eyebrows (Brush 7)
This step is surprisingly more important than you'd think. If you have eyebrows that are thinner in the middle like mine, then your eyebrows may appear short from the audience's point of view. An easy way to fix this is to take a wide angle brush and using an eyeshadow as close to your hair color as possible, lightly fill in your eyebrows. (Don't go crazy or it may look very silly!) An optional step is to take clear mascara and run the brush over your eyebrows to comb them into shape.
Eye Liner (Brush 8)
Either using an eyeliner pencil or a thin angle brush and black eye shadow, line your eyes as closely to the edge as possible. Keep it fairly thin but dark.
Cheeks (Brushes 2 and 3)
Using brush 2, I apply a generous amount of blush running up my cheek bones. Follow the line of your cheek bones all the way to just before your hairline. Now purse your lips like you're making a fish face. Wherever your cheeks concave slightly is where you'll apply the next step. Using a brush about the same size as brush 3, apply a thin and darker layer of blush to your cheeks. Make sure the two shades blend into each other but you are still able to see the slightly darker shade. Now lastly, using brush 3 apply a bit of white eyeshadow under your eye and over your cheek bones. This makes dark circles slightly less apparent. (Do this part VERY lightly)
Lips (Brush 6)
Using a red pencil, lightly line the very edges of your lips.
Now using brush 6, fill in your lips with red lipstick.
This is only neccessary if you're on a very big stage. Some dancers take a large brush and extremely lightly brush brown eye shadow along their jaw. This makes their necks look slightly longer. If you do this then only put on enough so that it is visible.
And there you have it! Be sure to experiment with specific shapes and shades. I wish I could help everyone indavidually but that's quite difficult over the internet. I'll always do the best I can though! Here is all of the supplies that I used:
I found a product called All Nighterby Urban Decay that is used by spraying it on your face after applying your makeup. It better sets the makeup onto your skin so it stays looking fresh longer. On days where I have shows at 2:00 and 7:00 and have to leave my makeup on for long periods of time this product really comes in handy.
Thanks for reading everybody! I hope this how-to was useful and I hope that everyone looks their best out on that stage!
If you have any questions, comments or requests then you can leave a comment below or contact me here.
Taking care of your pointe shoes is pretty simple. When you have them sewn to your liking and have flexed the shank to fit your feet, the only thing to worry about is keeping them off the ground to avoid unnecessary wear and plus it makes them more dirty. When I'm done with my pointe shoes I hang them on the coat hooks that we have in our dressing room. (No one actually uses the hooks for coats)
Yes, that is an actual picture of our company dressing room :)
Do NOT put them in a bag or confined space after you use them. You want them to breathe so the moisture they have absorbed can be released and this will prolong their "life".
You'll know when you need new shoes when they are no longer supporting you. Dancers with extremely strong feet can wear shoes longer as they don't require as much support from the shoe.
How long your shoes last greatly varies depending on how much you dance, the brand of shoe and how much your feet sweat. (Mine sweat a LOT which deteriorates them even faster) During the summer sometimes I even put a rack in the dryer, lay my pointe shoes on it and literally dry my pointe shoes. (The point of the rack is so they don't tumble) If you need your pointe shoes to be harder, you can use something called Jet Glue that hardens them right up from the inside. But I'll warn you, this stuff is EXTREMELY powerful and a little goes a long way. Be careful because you can literally glue your fingers together!
A lot of dancers are required to provide choreography for things like dance competitions, solos in a recital and even just for fun. The luckier few have the option of showcasing their choreography in a performance shuch as the show my company performs, the Choreographer's Showcase. This is a performance in which people from all over the state come together with various dance numbers to put on a show. This is a great community show that allows dancers to see what else is going on around them and how other people are artistically expressing themselves.
When I'm choreographing I find it very helpful to look on the internet for steps, combinations and new tricks that I could use. Just as an example, here are some things that I've found that inspired me.
A Dancer's Days was recently featured in Onlineclasses.org's article 50 Best Blogs for Fine Arts Students. How cool is that?! Check it out hereand be sure to check out some of those other awesome blogs. (I'm number 28 on the list)