Dance Articles > Can a Dress Help You Dance Better?

Discussion in 'Dance Articles' started by BallroomSparkle, Jun 22, 2009.

  1. BallroomSparkle

    BallroomSparkle New Member

    If you are like me, you don’t pose too many requirements on a normal evening gown. The only important thing is that it has to look good on you and maybe shouldn’t fall off while you’re walking from your car to the party and back. You’re happy as long as the dress survives past one or two special occasions. You won’t wear it more often than that, anyway.

    With competition dress it’s completely different. You spend a large sum of money on the dress to start with. You will be taking it to every competition, putting it on and taking it off hastily, jumping, sweating and wiping your make up with it. And you will still expect to use it at least for one season and to look gorgeous in it whenever you get on the dance floor. Buying a ballroom dress is an important step and you don’t want to make mistakes here.

    The problem finding the right ballroom dress is that not only does it have to look good on you while you are standing in front of the mirror, but it should also help you look great while you are actually dancing. It means that:

    a) The dress shouldn’t impede your movements during the dance
    b) it should emphasize all your good sides: your dancing technique, your beautiful figure, and, whenever possible:
    c) it should conceal your bad sides, (if any) such as weak techniques or figure flaws.

    Of course no dress in the world can substitute hard training. However, by knowing your technique flaws you can get a dress that will partly disguise them. As a result – you will improve the overall impression of your dancing performance. Try choosing the dress that does the opposite – and you’ll see the difference.

    In this article I tried to summarize common technique flaws and my suggestions on how to conceal them with the help of a gown:

    Weak hip movements.
    [​IMG]Weak hip movements is one of the usual problems among the dancers. This flaw can be easily solved by choosing an appropriate skirt. All you have to do is to say "no" to slinky skirts and choose fringe or flounce decorated skirts instead. An A-shaped skirt would create a nice waving impression around your hips/knees, improving the look of your hip movements. Another suggestion is to use some bright decorations on top, and thus drawing the audience’s attention from your bottom, however I’m not sure you can fool the judges with that!

    Slouched spine. [​IMG]
    This is mostly the problem of standard dances, as you constantly have to keep your spine right. If this is your problem then try to hide your spine with chiffon scarves attached to your neck or shoulder. You may even use several of those, so that instead of frowning at your slouched spine, the judges would see nice “wings” floating behind you.

    For Latin dresses simply try to avoid gowns that expose mainly your back. In this case the attention is drawn to your spine automatically and this is not what you’d wish to do.

    Weak frame.
    Do you keep letting the hands and elbows down in standard? Again, the trick is the same. Try to conceal this lack of technique by getting your hands covered with layers of flimsy/floating fabric or wide sleeves.

    Protruding bottom.
    [​IMG] Another flaw that happens rather often in standard dances. In an effort of balancing your upper posture, smiling at the judges, and keeping in mind the dance steps you forget about the need to strain the bottom muscles and end up with your buttocks stuck out backwards. If you are still working on this - don’t choose the mermaid-like silhouettes, or any skirts made from one heavy layer of fabric (like satin). Such skirts will bring attention to your bottom automatically so even a small mistake gets visible. Instead opt for multi-layered floating skirts that would smooth your curves and conceal the problem.

    And the last piece of advice for today: If this is your first performance and your first dress – don’t leave it in the box until the day of the competition. Even if you felt great when trying the dress on and you are now afraid to stain it – test it together with your partner. You might discover that dancing feels different now that you are wearing the dress and that some steps or movements need adjustment. For your first time – don’t choose skirts that are too long. If you don’t have enough experience you risk stepping on your own skirt during the competition. My suggestion is - choose a dress that has a skirt a bit above your ankles. For latin dresses – make sure you don’t wear long fringed or ripped skirts where you could get your hill entangled during the dance.

    Summary: I believe that every girl can and should look best on her competition day. It’s a great experience and a huge incentive to move on. Even if you are not interested in professional dancing career, you should take competitions seriously - you will see the results for yourself. I hope that using the above suggestions, you can make the most of your assets and do your absolute best on this important day of your dancing life.

    Written by Maria Chitul,
    [removed commercial links]
  2. Standarddancer

    Standarddancer Well-Known Member

    very good article.
  3. chachachacat

    chachachacat Well-Known Member

    Yes, it can.
  4. jerseydancer

    jerseydancer Active Member

    yes the dress can make the difference it would not improve your technique, but it can definitely can improve your look, the way you feel about the way you look, lift your mood and confidence - the wrong dress can do the opposite, but only if you aware how bad you look.
  5. emilyanderson

    emilyanderson New Member

    of course, every dance form has a specific kind of dress associated with it and if you can choose the right dress for your competition, it will not only add to your dancing techniques and increase your confidence level, but also make the viewers feel that you have perfect understanding about the dance form.
  6. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    It can improve what you allow yourself to do with your dancing...and it can say something to the judges about your level of understanding
  7. Standarddancer

    Standarddancer Well-Known Member

    Yes a beautiful dress doesn’t improve your dancing technically, but definitely contributing to improve the overall look and more attractive appealing image; A dancer with okay skill but with a gorgeous flattering dress could possibly appears better (more attractive/better looking) than someone who’s technically better but with a cheap-looking or unflattering dress on the comp floor. That’s the magic a gorgeous dress could make!
    stash likes this.
  8. emilyanderson

    emilyanderson New Member

    actually, dresses add charm to dancing, especially in classical dance forms where the attires are the integral part of dancing. perfect dance also motivates the dancer to perform better.
  9. Dancer's Life

    Dancer's Life New Member

    Yes it is true!

    The costume always makes a difference! To tight in the wrong place will make you seem disperportionate but to loose in other places makes you look small or like to costum wasn't made for you. That is why it is nice when you happen to be the perfect size for the costum, cut and all.:D
  10. Ray Sison

    Ray Sison New Member

    From a guy's point of view, dressing up in my best Smooth outfit enhanced (I believe) my showcase performances and even competition efforts. It helped me feel more confident, giving me a psychological boost that helped me have a better posture. It also made me feel like I was "in the role", with the ballroom floor becoming the entire world for me...

    "If you cannot be a poet, be the poem."
  11. Eliska

    Eliska New Member

    I definitely agree that a dress can help a lot. Granted a dress is not the miracle cure for becoming a top dancer overnight, but it can help hide your flaws and bring out the aspects of your body and dancing that are great. Also, I find that when I am in a dress I love/feel comfortable in, I am more confident and relaxed and am able to dance better. I have worn outfits before that made me to self conscious that I could not keep my mind off of it; therefore my dancing was a little stiff that day. But overall, a dress can help bring out the beauty of each person and emphasize their positive aspects.
  12. Ray Sison

    Ray Sison New Member

    Very well-said, Eliska...
  13. MultiFaceted Dancer

    MultiFaceted Dancer Active Member

    Yes ---A Dress that makes you feel beautiful, sexy, elegant etc will most definitely make you feel better and will affect how you dance. Just as the difference between p.j's or a silky nightgown changes how you feel about yourself
  14. Ecclesiastes3_4

    Ecclesiastes3_4 New Member

    I have to agree. I always find I pay special attention to my technique and presentation when I'm dressed up, maybe because I don't want people to say, "Wow, what a pretty dress. She dances like an elephant."

    When I am dressed up, I feel like a pro--and want to dance like one.
  15. dcharmd1

    dcharmd1 New Member

    when i danced on my first comp, i decided on a black dress with crystals on it, pretty plain compared to the dresses worn by other pro am competitors and i actually told a friend that i picked a plainer one because i didnt want to go all out on an expensive dress and get people's attention on what im wearing and then i end up being a lousy dancer, sounds weird maybe but i didnt want to "catch" too much attention on my first comp, i just wanted to be out there for the experience

    of course, i feel different now that i have more experience on the comp floor, i love to wear the dresses because i feel good when i look good and in turn it gives me confidence to dance my a&* on that comp floor =]
  16. Ray Sison

    Ray Sison New Member

    It's like having the right costume for a role. And also a suit of armor that makes you feel more courageous. (The latter has definitely come to my mind, often.) My familiar ballroom outfits (including my hand-made white Latin shirt) have taken me through a lot of great dance memories, including shows and competitions. They are home to me on unfamiliar floors in far-off cities, along with my DP...

  17. PERRYM

    PERRYM New Member

    A great article
  18. tz2010

    tz2010 New Member

    Thanks for this site very helpful.
  19. lasvegasdavid

    lasvegasdavid New Member

    As in any competitive sport, the equipment used to help you perform can enhance your effort. A huge part of a dance performance is attitude, poise, and confidence. Not just a new dress for the sake of new, but a dress that will allow freedom of movement, will be appropriate to the dance style and to you personally, and will boost your confidence to make you feel terrific when you see yourself. I have talked to dance teachers about this issue, many will try to get the student to invest in new dresses for the reasons I have stated.
  20. sarah-orchid

    sarah-orchid New Member

    Yes the right dress can definitely affect your dance - as you have shown! Tightness no no no, but flowing with material that catches the air is great and adds real substance to your dance.

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