The lovely Moria Chappell's stage makeup is always top-notch! She also teaches makeup classes at many festivals.
I’m often asked, “If I am going to perform, do I have to wear makeup?” The simple answer, every time, is YES.
Here’s the long and the short of it -- your performance makeup is part of your costume. If you were to put on a long evening gown, have your hair in an up-do, put on your high heel shoes and some jewelry but put NOTHING on your face, you would look like you were missing something. Your face would be overshadowed by your outfit and would look drab. We NEVER want our costume to overshadow our face.
Most dancers know how to apply makeup for daily usage or restaurant performances, but when it comes to stage makeup, application drastically affects the audience’s perception of the dancer.
What are the differences between stage makeup and regular makeup?
The differences between the two aren’t as vast as one might think. Stage makeup is meant to be heavier, both in texture and pigment. This allows the makeup effects to be seen from afar, which is typically the case during a stage production. From highlighting and even exaggerating the shape of a performer's face to giving the effect of aging or special characteristics, makeup can transform you.
Regular makeup is much lighter than that which was created for the stage. The pigments are natural looking, giving regular makeup a much more organic look. The idea of regular makeup is to cover blemishes without making the makeup the focal point. Stage makeup should be noticed and is intended to be part of the costume on stage; while everyday makeup is intended more for the background and should blend in to one’s natural features.
Can stage makeup be used every day?
Because stage makeup is essentially just a heavier version of regular makeup, it can be used every day. It’s all a matter of personal preference; some people prefer to wear lighter makeup and would most likely be uncomfortable in stage makeup outside of the theater/performing venue. Wearing it offstage will create a heavier look that is atypical for day-to-day use, but it really is a matter of personal preference.
Can regular makeup be worn on stage?
With the right application techniques, regular makeup can absolutely work well on stage. By applying the makeup much more heavily and in a more dramatic way, it can create the desired effects just as well as stage makeup. There are also many performing locations that require a natural look, making regular makeup a much better choice. It’s easier to use regular makeup on stage than vice versa.
More about make-up next month!
Occasionally, I still get the opportunity to step out from behind the camera to dance!
This is from Invocation, held mid-March, in St. Louis. You can find more shots of my group Khepri from this performance on our Facebook page. (That's me on the right!)
Thanks to Studio 47 for the photo.
Normally, I will talk about photography and photography related items in my Dancers Eye blog, but occasionally I want to also address my own dance practices and history. As a belly dancer since 2000, I have traveled a long, and sometime strange, road with this art form. Even though I don’t dance as much as I used to, I still do practice my skills, take classes and perform out. This art form not only lives through my camera lens, it moves my body and soul and makes my heart beat a little faster when I am able to express myself through the dance.
I had always been a little reticent to dance by myself – either in class or on stage. I loved dancing in a group, but the idea of a solo and expressing myself in that manner frankly sort of frightened me. When I had to, I sucked it up and did the thing, but I always wished that I didn’t have to, that someone else could do it, and then that I saw the things that I could have done better immediately afterwards. It was kind of funny to me, as I have a theater degree, and had been in so many plays and musicals that being on stage should just have been nothing, just an afterthought – but dancing before people – putting myself out there in that way – made me shake in my boots.
So, in 2011, I saw that Tempest was offering a new intensive weekend called “Museum Quality”. The description read, “Museum Quality is a unique kind of workshop intensive experience that combines visual/fine arts concepts, processes, and techniques with bellydance; training dancers to focus their development beyond just the physical, incorporating mental, visual, and emotional elements as well, and working to elevate the dance personally and professionally. This intensive is accessible to all styles of bellydance and is especially geared towards dancers who wish to advance the artistic quality of their dancing.
A common debate in the bellydance community is the dance entertainment or art? No matter which side you may lean towards or what style of bellydance you do, the dance itself can benefit from a fine arts-minded approach. This intensive will aid you in developing a critical eye and constructive mind, help deepen creativity, and give you the tools to construct and combine movement, sound, emotion, and aesthetic more effectively.
Part of the goal of this intensive is for the attendees to consider their performances as they were constructing works of art, focusing on creating art in motion that is the best quality you can produce at your ability and experience. Museums don't only house the best examples of an artist's work - they also collect their early and middle pieces, sketches, illustrations - and modern museums and galleries showcase what's being produced NOW and how it relates to society. So it's not all about the end result at the end of the line, but the journey of the artist - the same is true with dance.”
Awesome, right? I loved the concept - and I thought maybe this would be the thing that could help me take that step to being more confident in my dance. So I signed up – what the heck, right?
In July 2011, I traveled to Indianapolis, and with a group of equally minded women, I decided that come what may, I would do my best and stretch myself further than I ever had before. There were lots of improv exercises, critical thinking, dance play, but one of the most important parts of the weekend was the Self Portrait. Of course, a solo. I remember being kind of terrified, even though I knew I was in a completely safe environment. But I did it – I made it through – and when I went home from this extraordinary weekend with the wealth of knowledge that Tempest had imparted on us, I started making changes to my dance. The way I approached it. The way I thought about planning and executing not only solos, but also the way I also worked in my group at the time. I had tools at my disposal that I’d never had before and I found my confidence increased every single time I danced.
I can seriously point at that 2011 Museum Quality weekend and say that it was a major game changer in my dance. I since have attended 3 other MQ weekends and learn something new about me, something new about my dance every single time. I no longer dread dancing solo, I am able to think critically about my dance in a positive way, and take more joy from the overall experience.
I’d highly recommend the MQ experience to any belly dancer – in any style of our dance. It is not specific to ATS or fusion or Raks Sharki, any dancer will take invaluable knowledge to apply to their own form. Tempest will be back here in my hometown of St. Louis in July offering MQ again, and I will happily be studying with her again, because there’s always something more we can learn about ourselves and our ongoing growth as we dance.
Love, light and shimmies…
Fore more info on the MQ weekend in St. Louis, see Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/events/969319636472677/https://www.facebook.com/events/969319636472677/
I am often asked about the "rules" around etiquette for using photography, and also what the legalities are as well. So, here are some rules of thumb for you to follow regarding use of photography.
1) DO ask your photographer what their specific policy is on taking pictures off of their Facebook pages/blogs. Some photographers encourage it and some don’t allow it. If this is important to you this is something you should ask BEFORE you hire your photographer!
2) DO include your photographer’s name and website under the images (a link would be super nice!). That’s just the polite thing to do.
3) DON’T crop out their logo. Unless you have paid for the digital negatives don’t alter the files in anyway. Most photographers use their Facebook pages/blogs to advertise their work and do so as a courtesy to give their clients a sneak peek. If a client crops out the logo then how will other people know who took the picture? I know that Facebook now often doesn't allow for keeping a logo in a profile photo if not right across your face, so at least follow #2 in this case - thanks!
4) DON’T edit the picture in any way. Taking the pictures is only half of a photographers job. The other half is editing. If you think you can do a better job or want to edit out some of your wrinkles or use selective coloring, please don’t - show and/or tell your photographer what you want!
5) DON’T try to print from the files on Internet. For me specifically I know that the files I upload to my site are too small to be printed in a 4×6 size. It’s not cool to invest in a session and then print the images off of the Facebook page or blog and not pay for prints. Make sure you know how much the prints cost before the session to avoid sticker shock.
6) DON'T just take photos off the Internet and use them for your event or publicity. Just because something is on the internet with no credit or information, doesn't mean that it doesn't belong to someone else. Here's some guidelines as to how to progress in the future: http://lifehacker.com/5992419/the-best-ways-to-be-sure-youre-legally-using-online-photos
Remember, this is how photographers make a living. I wouldn't take from you, please don't take from me. Thank you!
Think of photo resolution as “image quality”. Put into some very basic terms, resolution is the quality of the image. As the resolution goes up, the image becomes clearer. It becomes sharper, more defined, and more detailed as well. Why is that? Because there’s more information in the same small space. Your computer, laptop and your smartphone all have image resolutions. There are a certain number of dots in the space that is the screen. Put even more simply, the more dots you jam into the width and height of the screen, the higher the resolution. The less dots, the lower the resolution.
But there’s something that lots of people don’t know about when you upload photos to a social media site like Facebook or Instagram. Every time you post a photo to social media, it loses a tiny bit of quality. It’s not really noticeable for a single upload, but if you save and repost the photo over and over, the quality loss becomes extreme. It’s a concept known as “generation loss”. This is why your reposted photos start looking fuzzy, blurry or even getting weird dark spots that aren’t there on the original file (or upload in this case). I'll also note here that most social media applications also compress as you upload, which also can alter the look of your photos.
So, how to fix this? First off, use the original photo files when putting up photos. For those of you who have worked with me, I normally will send along a file that is marked –is or –de. I use those codes to denote that this is a file that has been sized appropriately to be used on the web (social media). It is sized to upload quickly and also within the standards that are used by most online applications.
I know that our tendency is just to want to grab the photo off the web and post again (or worse, take a screenshot with your phone and then repost), but your photos are going to start to look worse for wear because of generation loss.If promoters need photos, they should ask you for the original file for their posting needs because then they will be getting the best resolution (and image quality!) for their online advertising. This is also why it's better to share from an original posting as opposed to copying and reposting yourself!
So, please think twice before just grabbing a shot from the web and using it over and over again! Your beautiful professional photos will not do you justice – just take a moment and post your original file or send it along to who needs it.