Dance Competitions Educators

Honey I shrunk the costumes

Where did the costumes go?

Where did all the costumes go? It seems there’s a global shortage on nylon, spandex and polyester! Oh no! We must shrink the costumes to cover only the absolutely necessary body parts!

Seriously though. I feel very uneasy when adjudicating these tiny dancers in their tinier costumes. White briefs, no tights, eeek! I’m just nervous. Add that to the constantly choreographed unflattering angles (read: hello, here’s my crotch).

Truly, while I am of course giving my expertise on technique, stage presence and overall performance, I can’t help but to feel uncomfortable looking straight on at a barely clothed dancer’s, er, um, well, you know…

Choreographers and dance parents can put their kids on stage however they’d like. I’m not calling for a puritanical ban on all things inappropriate. That’s just not my department.

I’m simply saying that when I am adjudicating said dancers, I 0% enjoy this aspect of it. Do what you want though. I’m here to give you the constructive feedback you paid for.

By Denise Caston-Clark

Hi! I'm Denise Caston-Clark, a professional dancer, choreographer and dance educator. I am a former Radio City Rockette and currently direct Tap Dance Detroit and the annual Motor City Tap Fest.

3 replies on “Honey I shrunk the costumes”

Some parents are to blame (see, e.g., Toddlers & Tiaras). Some dance teachers are to blame. Media and popular culture are certainly to blame. Who’s not to blame? Little kids, who simply want to please the big people in their worlds. What’s a competition judge to do if they have no say in costumes? I guess judge the performance on its merits, neither rewarding nor penalizing the misplaced sexualization.

Agreed. I will never comment or alter a score based on costumes. Occasionally I’ll chime in delicately on inappropriate content, and that
commentary is always directed toward the choreographer. My tone is is intended to be lighthearted and not put them on the defensive.

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