How to Create a Cheap Dance Costume

When looking for a costume for a large troupe of dancers or performers, there is a careful balance between creating an effective costume that portrays the performance in the desired way, and staying within what is often a limited budget. There are a number of ways in which you can achieve this.

If you’re lucky enough to find a dressmaker who is willing to give you some of their time, you can purchase some fabric and create your own costume from scratch. This is very cost-effective and great fun too! However, dressmakers can be few and far between so another option is to decorate a plain catsuit or leotard to create a completely different look. Try adding little rows of sequins, a frill, fur, beads or other trims which can either be glued or sewn onto the leotard depending on your ability. Just remember to take into account that the dancer requires the garment to maintain its flexibility when you attach them so the leotard doesn’t inhibit their movement once decorated.

If even this sounds like a lot of work, there are a small number of dancewear retailers which produce make-to-order dance leotards and dance costumes. This creates an opportunity to explore the effect that costumes can have on your dance and makes it much more fun for the performers to take part in too! As well as a large number of colours, you may also find prints such as Rainbow and Zebra, and sparkling fabrics such as Hologram.

A great tip if you really want your dance costumes to stand out is to focus on the details. Accessories such as hair bands, bun nets, bun covers, and different coloured dance shoes all play a significant role in the audience’s experience of the dance. It’s these little details that the audience remember and tell their friends about! Use colours that harmonize with the costume and the theme of the dance, and think about the footwear too – do you want your troupe to all wear the same footwear or should some dancers wear contrasting footwear? If you have a chorus, it’s usually worth making sure they all wear matching footwear unless you’re trying to create a specific effect with mismatching footwear.

If you’re struggling for ideas, search the internet for the themes that you’re exploring – and don’t just limit yourself to other performances; search for the subject matter itself. For example, if your performance is based around safari animals, look at pictures of African safaris and think about the colours and shapes that are visible. Select one or two of these as a start and work out from there!

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