One of the most popular questions a dancer receives is “Why do you have to wear so much makeup on stage?” My response is always twofold.

Sometimes a particular style of makeup is part of the costume. If you are performing a ballet piece where you are a doll, red circles on the apples of your cheeks makes you look like a doll. Makeup is just as important as the material costume you are wearing.

The second point is enhancing the natural beauty of the dancer on stage. When lights are pouring down on a performer, the skin is washed out and the features muddy. With makeup, the audience (or judges, if you are part of a competition) can clearly see expression, which is just as important than the dance itself.


Of course there are dos and don’ts when it comes to application and removal of performance makeup so as I reminisce about the faux pas of my own personal makeup experiences, I am proud to say that while we require all competitive dancers to wear makeup, we strive to be age appropriate and stay true to using makeup as a way to further enhance the performance…

DON’T glue loose glitter to your face or head. Not only is it not necessary, glitter can get stuck in your eyes and under contact lenses causing corneal abrasions and could lead to infection. Never super glue rhinestones to your scalp! I speak from experience…

DO explore creative options. Stage makeup has transformed over the years and while bright blue eye shadow used to be popular, it’s not the best complimentary choice for enhancing the dancers features. Remember to play the part just as an actor or an actress would on the stage. Watch tutorials from the pros and practice before the big day.

DO apply blush – liberally. Remember those stage lights I talked about earlier? They are harsh and wash out your features. Adding a highlighting shadow (which is an shimmery sheer powder) to the top of the cheek bones, corner of the eyes and under the brows magnifies features.


DO use faux lashes to compliment your eyes. If you don’t like the idea of sticking something that close to your eye, 3D fiber mascara is the perfect alternative.

DO wear concealer. Green concealer evens out skin tone and corrects redness in the complexion, especially for teens.

DON’T go neutral on the lips! Always apply color. We opt for red on our company dancers.


DON’T rip your faux lashes off after a performance because your real lashes will be removed right along with them. A cotton ball and makeup remover held on your lashes for a few moments will help those lashes come off easily and without damaging your own skin.

DO care for your skin. Remove all makeup after a performance and even though you are tired, resist the urge of sleeping in your now smudged mascara. Gentle soap, a little elbow grease, and a soothing moisturizer will ensure your skin has time to rest and replenish after a long day of performing.


What kind of makeup tips can you offer?


Live. Love. Dance.





Image Credit: First Photo by Gwyneth Muller. Taylor Swift – on BuzzFeed,