Friday, May 22, 2015


Photo by Maharet Hughes
It’s Memorial Day Weekend- officially known as the first weekend of summer!

For some people, this weekend marks the beginning of beaches, barbeques and Day Drinking. But for us dancers, it also marks Open Season on Daytime Dancing…are you ready for all the outdoor gigs that are coming your way?

 Here are some ideas to keep you looking and feeling cool as you perform in the heat.

First of all, it’s imperative to stay hydrated. Bring along extra water, even if you think you might not need it.  Dancing outdoors in directly sunlight can really sap your H2O reserves, and water is way better  for you and your energy than guzzling sugary sports drinks.  Coconut water tastes yummy and is extremely hydrating, too.

 Remember to apply sun block…. and to reapply it as needed. You’re definitely going to need it, and should be using it every day, anyway. There are many non-greasy formulas on the market today made for babies and small children- those are great, but theres also a plethora of products made expressly for use on the face, so invest in one of them.  And a word to the wise: make sure to cover – at the very least- your arms, neck, chest, torso and legs with sunblock, too, cause sunburn blisters and tan-lines in the pattern of your costume are not attractive!

 If you use perfume, go with natural essential oils rather than a regular scent, because once in a while, regular perfumes can have a chemical reaction under the strong  sun rays and actually stain your skin.

Bring some dance shoes even if you prefer going barefoot. If you normally dance in heels or ballroom shoes, make sure to have some flat slippers with you as well... there could be a possibility you might be dancing on grass at a private party or outdoor festival, and if you wear heels, they will sink into the turf!  Plus, at many outside events such as Ren Faires and neighborhood festivals, the pavement, stages, sand, the grass and especially Astro Turf get very hot when direct sun has been shining on them for hours, and you could literally get burned.  Shoes are mandatory!

Also, make sure to bring something light and airy to wear after your gig- you definitely do not want to be standing around for hours in your costume!

 For performing during the day, you’ll need less make up than you would use for a large stage or a dark nightclub, but you still need to apply more – and different- makeup than you’d wear on the street. This could, of course, mean using more liner or applying powder shadow a little darker and a vivid shade of shade of lipstick… but there’s also more to consider. Go over the perimeters of your face- forehead, cheekbones, and jawline- with a matte bronzing powder, both to contour and to make your face look healthy and glowing. Iridescent, sparkly or glittery bronzers are best saved for evening.

For daytime gigs, because of the sweat factor" I stick with powders and gel eye liners only.  I never use cream blush or eye shadow, and I skip any sort of pencil, because all of these formulas tend to melt, smear and crease in summer sunlight.  I don’t even use eyebrow pencils- too waxy. I fill in my brows with powder, using a small slanted brush.  As for lips, matte formula lipsticks are much better for day work than shiny ones like slick glosses or softer, more easy-to-melt products. Select a lip color in a bright “natural” shade, like a blue red (makes the teeth appear whiter) a youthful rose pink or a nice peachy-coral tone. Even if you’re dark skinned, stay away from anything too dark, like burgundy, brown or taupe. Apply the lipstick, blot your lips on a tissue, powder over your lips with a translucent powder, re-apply the color and blot again for maximum staying power. If you want to give the illusion of lustrous lip gloss, dip the pad of your finger into the same pearly white eye shadow you used as a brow highlighter, and apply a dot of it to the center of your lower lip, which will mimic the pretty sheen of lip gloss, but will stay in place, and won’t be greasy.

 Far be it from me to not want to be as risqué with my costuming as possible- but I always tone things down a few notches for my daytime gigs. Remember that there will probably be kinder present and that many of them will want to be photographed with you, so err a little bit on the conservative side costume-wise…. even I do that!  Also, since you’ll be outside, fun accessories like big   blingy earrings, glittery bindis and rhinestones around the eyes really catch the sunlight, so pile them on! But it's not like I have to tell any of you readers to wear more bling, right?

One last thought- undoubtedly  you will be  wearing sunglass to and from, as well as before and after your shows- so make sure that any pigment or congealed foundation that has collected under your sunnies before you go onstage!  If it has, try to spot-check it with a make up wipe (keep some in your dance bag) and just powder over the area tapping on the powder lightly to camouflage the area. Wiping the pigment off may result in streaky lines under your eyes, and you dont want to hit the stage looking like a Picasso painting!

Have fun, and Happy Summer everyone!

 Get an autographed copy of The Belly Dance Handbook here:

Photo and Graphics: Maharet Hughes

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