Contemporary dance costume – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Dancewear & Costumes Glossary

I. What is Contemporary Dance Costume?

Contemporary dance costume refers to the attire worn by dancers during performances of contemporary dance. Unlike traditional ballet costumes, contemporary dance costumes are often more modern, edgy, and expressive. They play a crucial role in enhancing the overall performance and conveying the theme or mood of the dance piece. Contemporary dance costumes can range from simple and minimalist to elaborate and avant-garde, depending on the choreography and artistic vision of the performance.

II. Elements of Contemporary Dance Costume

Contemporary dance costumes typically consist of several key elements that contribute to their overall design and functionality. These elements may include:

1. Silhouette: The silhouette of a contemporary dance costume can vary widely, from form-fitting bodysuits to flowing skirts and loose-fitting tops. The silhouette is often chosen to complement the movements and choreography of the dance piece.

2. Color: The color palette of contemporary dance costumes can range from muted neutrals to bold, vibrant hues. Colors are carefully selected to evoke certain emotions or convey specific themes within the performance.

3. Texture: Textured fabrics such as sequins, mesh, lace, and fringe are commonly used in contemporary dance costumes to add visual interest and dimension to the overall look.

4. Embellishments: Embellishments such as rhinestones, beads, feathers, and appliques are often added to contemporary dance costumes to enhance their visual appeal and create a sense of drama on stage.

III. Fabrics Used in Contemporary Dance Costume

Contemporary dance costumes are typically made from a variety of fabrics that are chosen for their comfort, durability, and aesthetic qualities. Some common fabrics used in contemporary dance costumes include:

1. Spandex: Spandex is a stretchy, form-fitting fabric that is commonly used in contemporary dance costumes for its flexibility and ability to move with the dancer’s body.

2. Lycra: Lycra is another stretchy fabric that is often used in contemporary dance costumes for its elasticity and ability to retain its shape over time.

3. Chiffon: Chiffon is a lightweight, sheer fabric that is often used in contemporary dance costumes for its ethereal quality and ability to create beautiful draping effects.

4. Velvet: Velvet is a luxurious, soft fabric that is often used in contemporary dance costumes for its rich texture and elegant appearance.

IV. Trends in Contemporary Dance Costume

Like any other form of fashion, contemporary dance costume trends are constantly evolving and changing. Some current trends in contemporary dance costume include:

1. Minimalist designs: Simple, clean lines and understated details are becoming increasingly popular in contemporary dance costumes, allowing the focus to remain on the dancer’s movements and expression.

2. Gender-neutral styles: Gender-neutral costumes that blur the lines between traditional male and female attire are gaining popularity in contemporary dance, reflecting a more inclusive and diverse approach to costume design.

3. Sustainable materials: As awareness of environmental issues grows, many contemporary dance companies are opting for costumes made from sustainable materials such as organic cotton, recycled fabrics, and biodegradable fibers.

V. Considerations for Choosing a Contemporary Dance Costume

When choosing a contemporary dance costume, there are several important factors to consider:

1. Comfort: It is essential that the costume allows the dancer to move freely and comfortably while performing complex choreography.

2. Durability: Contemporary dance costumes are often subjected to rigorous movement and wear, so it is important to choose fabrics and construction techniques that can withstand the demands of performance.

3. Theme and choreography: The costume should complement the theme and choreography of the dance piece, enhancing the overall artistic vision of the performance.

4. Budget: Consider the cost of the costume and any additional accessories or embellishments that may be required to complete the look.

VI. How to Care for Contemporary Dance Costume

Proper care and maintenance of contemporary dance costumes are essential to ensure their longevity and performance quality. Here are some tips for caring for your dance costumes:

1. Follow care instructions: Always follow the care instructions provided by the costume designer or manufacturer to ensure that the costume is cleaned and stored properly.

2. Spot clean when necessary: Spot clean any stains or spills on the costume immediately to prevent them from setting in and becoming more difficult to remove.

3. Air dry: Avoid using a dryer to dry your dance costume, as high heat can damage delicate fabrics. Instead, hang the costume to air dry in a well-ventilated area.

4. Store properly: Store your dance costumes in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight to prevent fading and damage. Consider using garment bags or storage containers to protect the costume from dust and moisture.

In conclusion, contemporary dance costumes play a vital role in enhancing the visual impact and artistic expression of dance performances. By understanding the elements, fabrics, trends, considerations, and care tips for contemporary dance costumes, dancers and choreographers can make informed decisions when selecting and maintaining their costumes for performances.