Costume Woes

Spring Recital is approaching quickly. Every year, I seem to give myself a challenge that is harder than I had initially thought. Last year, I hit a snag when trying to finish choreographing a routine that was out of my comfort-zone and asking a lot of 2 minutes of movement (see previous post tilted Choreographer’s Block from around this time last spring). This year, my troubles come in the form of costumes.

Our dance recital theme this year is “God Bless America”. We have chosen music that incites a spirit of inclusiveness and a love of country in this fiercely political world. For one of my ballet routines, I chose an excerpt from an Aaron Copeland ballet inspired by the feeling of American and pioneering. I have split my dancers, all girls, into two groups of “gals” and “guys” which will be distinguished by their costumes. However, I wasn’t looking for a stereotypical “country” costume complete with faux denim and gingham.

I have a vision of pioneer calico skirts for the “gals” and a coordinating color button down shirt paired with denim leggings for the “guys”. My mom has graciously agreed to make the skirts from fabric we picked out together -I’m sure she could offer her own post on her adventures with that project- and the dancers will be responsible for their own jeggings as it is such a common article of clothing. So the bottom half of my dancers are covered.

One of my inspirations, however, a much more simplified version of each more suited for a studio recital.

My challenges are with the top half of my costumes.I searched, searched, and searched for the perfect coordinating shirts for all the dancers. It was a challenge, but I finally decided on the right ones and ordered shirts for my dancers. I breathed a sigh of relief- one less thing for me to have to worry about.

However, the not all the shirts fit. One of the “guys” shirts is on round 2 and still not the correct size. Unfortunately, I have found that a solid or muted print green button-down shirt to be nearly impossible to find. I finally found one that was the correct shade and took a chance on sizing even though it was a boy’s shirt for a small junior sized dancer. That risk did not pay off and of course the correct size was out of stock. So, back to the drawing board. I have been in numerous clothing stores and finally decided to settle on a shirt that wasn’t quite the right shade but would work if it fit. Guess what? The shirt didn’t fit. I’m crossing my fingers that I can exchange for a smaller size, if not, too big is better than too small and we can alter it. Worry begins to return.

The “gals” tops didn’t prove to be worry-free either. Only half of the shirts fit properly. Prepared to exchange for the correct size, I discover that the price has more than doubled since my original purchase and is now out of budget. The store will not honor the original sales price. Problem number 2. And these shirts aren’t just a little too small, my girls cannot dance in them.

I feel like after weeks of searching for exactly the right shirt within my budget (and costume invoices have already been distributed), I am back to square one. Only a few of my dancers have a complete costume now. I have to go back and do more research to find another set of blouses for the “girls” and one more shirt for the “guys”. A search that was already difficult.

I’m feeling as if my expectations are too high. And perhaps they are. But then again, did not realize that a green button down a feminine white blouse would be too hard to find. I need to be open to compromise and realize that I may not be able to get precisely what I have envisioned.

Fortunately, I still have a few more weeks to do searching and what’s recital season without a few bumps in the road?


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