Friday, December 16, 2011


”Last Looks” is an ages-old showbiz term used in the theater and on movie sets. Basically, it’s the overall appearance check that occurs just before an actor goes on camera or on stage.

As dancers, we usually don’t have the luxury of wardrobe assistants and make up artists fussing over us and perfecting our appearance…but we can always fake it!

So before you even consider stepping out of the dressing room, make sure that you perform your own version of “Last Looks”.

Even if you’ve done dress rehearsals and tech-checks in full costume and make up, it’s better to be safe than sorry!

Look over your face in a well-lit mirror and add more make-up if you need to. If you’ve been in the dressing room for any amount of time, it’s a fairly sure bet you’ll need to freshen up a bit. Clean up any streaks, raccoon eyes, migrating pigments, wayward lipstick smears or stray glitter flecks; dust a little translucent powder on your T-zone to prevent shine, and to set your foundation. Floss your teeth, add another coat of lipstick, blotting it well so it stays put, and then check your teeth for lipstick residue.

Re-spray your hair to prevent flyways. Toss your head to make sure any faux hair you may be wearing is stage-proofed, or that any flowers, crowns, head bands and head pieces are immobile. Check your earring closures and necklace clasps.

Examine yourself in a mirror from all angles -or get a friend to help you out- to ascertain that you look stage-worthy. If you’re rockin’ body glitter, or wearing any sort of body make up, see to it that the products are spread evenly over your skin, especially in hard-to-reach areas like the upper back. Be certain there is no lint from your street clothes or excess deodorant under your armpits- that stuff is bad enough in real life, but it’s a huge illusion-wrecker during performance!

See that there are no undergarments, clothing tags or bra pads showing anywhere. Spin around a couple of times to make sure your that your skirt won’t show more than you intend, and that don’t unintentionally flash the audience when you are on stage.

Shimmy vigorously in your costume, making sure every hook or snap is closed and that your costume is anchored where it needs to be. If you happen to be doing a burlesque number, also make sure that all hooks, snaps and Velcro will release easily- but only when you need them to. Shake your arms around a bit to check that all pieces of jewelry are securely fastened, and any armbands or gauntlets won’t slip down once you start dancing. If you are wearing a two-piece bra and belt belly dance costume, pin your belt to your skirt for added security.

Wearing heels when you dance? Do a few dance steps and be sure they don’t catch on the hem of your costume and trip you up- or, adding insult to injury, rip the costume! If you’re dancing barefoot, make sure any anklets or leg decorations you’re wearing won’t catch on your skirts either.

Have a big drink of water- you’ll need the hydration. And suck a mint or a have breath strip into to further stave off dry mouth.

After you’ve passed Last Looks with flying colors, get your game face on and hit the stage!

Backstage photo of Princess Farhana by Sherri Wheatley...taken in the dressing room of course!

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