Quick costume changes for Folklorico Dancers are no joke! Ballet Folklorico de Los Angeles knows a thing our two about changing costumes quickly between numbers (afterall, they have 5 quick costume changes during the Noches Mexicanas Production, with 60 seconds being the shortest time period!).
Keeping track of everything you have to put on in such a short amount of time can be extremely overwhelming, especially for a folklorico dancer who has to worry about so many details and heavy costumes. Make sure not to panic because a couple seconds is longer than you might think. All you need is a couple pairs of "helping hands," focus, and this guide to come back to that'll will keep you in control of the situation.
There are three fundamental things to keep in mind when it comes to quick costume changes:
- Scope out the dressing area and find a spot that you will use for your costume changes. You may have to make some costume changes in different areas depending on the quickness of the change and on your entrances. Make sure that you aren't too close to another dancer so that you don't have to worry about grabbing each other's costumes by accident.
- Tell others where you will be changing so that they know where to find you or to stay out of your way. I like to assign my dancers their changing area when we dance at venues that permit it so that I know where everyone is and who they're next to. I usually put dancers with more experience next to the dancers who are just starting out, that way the more experienced dancers can help the newbees if necessary.
- Make sure that your costumes are laid out in the order that you will you be using them. Make sure that they are ready to hop into. Unzip all the zippers, open up all the velcro, and find ways to save seconds. Men, make sure you put your belts on your pants when you lay them out, not during the change.
Decide which parts of the change you can do yourself. You want to do as much as possible by yourself. Too many helping hands can potentially slow you down.
STAY IN CONTROL
- Be careful when running around backstage. Backstage can become a dangerous area if you're not in control when moving a top speed.
- Take off whatever you can after exiting the stage while walking to your changing area.
- If possible, have a container or basket handy so that discarded costumes pieces don't get lost.
- Shake your head to make sure your hairpieces don't fall off.
- Make sure to keep your cool and focus. Make sure to be kind to your helping hands and thank them for helping you.
- Use slip on shoes or shoes with a zipper if possible. Adelita boots without a zipper are not recommended.
- Men, put valcro on your shirts so that you don't have to button them. I had our sastre put zippers on the charro vests so that the guys in my company can zip into them in flash.
- Put interface and heavy duty valcro on the skirts so that you can put them on in a second.
- Put peinetas or clips on your hairpieces so that you can put them on fast. You don't want to have to use hundreds of bobby pins to put on one hairpiece.
- Leave everything unzipped, untied, unbuttoned, unclipped, etc.
- Number your things or write your name in them so that you don't lose them or have to scrabble for your things in the middle of a costume change.
- Multitask. Someone can help you put on your hairpiece while you put on your shoes, or put on your hairpiece while someone helps you zip up.
- Practice quick changing! Do some quick change drills once in a while and make sure to have a dress rehearsal before a big show.
I hope that you enjoyed this blog post. Please let me know if you found it helpful.
If you haven't done so already, check out my previous blog post "Kareli's Guide to Dancing With Live Music."
Thank you for visiting. Talk soon.
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