Handy Hints from The Stage Shop just for you
Sometimes the basics get left out, but here at The Stage Shop we want to ensure that every single step of your dancing or theatrical journey is made easier. Sewing ballet ribbons or elastics can be tricky if you haven't done it before, so hopefully our hints will be able to help you with this little task. We have hints for a couple others tricky tasks here too.
We are happy to help out with further instructions if you get stuck, just phone us at the store for more information.
Sewing Ballet Ribbons
With a few pointers, sewing ribbons is not too difficult. Ensure that you have proper ballet ribbon, as some ribbos may appear the same colour but are not suitable for secuing shoes; ballet ribbon can be purchased from The Stage Shop. The ribbon has to be cut into four equal pieces, two for each shoe. Treat both ends of all four pieces of ribbons so they don't fray by holding them up to a lighter or match. The fibres will melt together and protect the end of the ribbon. Next, fold the back of the ballet shoe forwards towards the toe, and position the ribbon in front of the fold but on a slight angle forwards so that the ribbon will sit at the correct angle on the foot. Fold one end of the ribbon under itself (about 1cm) to thicken and strengthen the area to be sewn on the shoe. Then once the ribbon is in the right spot and has been folded under itself, it can be sewn onto the shoe. Use a sharp needle and pink or white thread, and stitch in a square shape around the doubled ribbon area. The ribbon should now be securely sewn to the shoe. Now repeat with the other three ribbon pieces and the shoes will be done.
Sewing Elastics on Pointe/Flat
Elastic can be used on ballet shoes in stead of ribbons, or in addition to ribbon for added strength. Flat ballet shoes are quite simple, the elastic is sewn on in the same position as the ribbons i.e. fold the back of the shoe forwards and sew the elastic at the fold on a slight angle forwards. Only one piece straight across is required for each shoe, so ensure that it is the right elastic length for your foot width.
For pointe shoes the elastic is sewn around the ankle in stead of infront of the ankle, this is to hold the back of the shoe up whilst on pointe and to provide extra support. To sew, open back the heel of the pointe shoe so that you can see the inside seams. There will be two stitched seams parallel to each other inside the shoe. The two ends of the elastic will need to be sewn in line with those two seams so that a ring of elastic is formed for the foot to slide through, starting and finishing at the two stiched shoe seams. Make sure that the ring of elastic is tight on your ankle, so measure it before you stitch both ends down.
Attaching Suede Toe Caps
Suede top caps are designed to protect the satin at the end of the shoe and also to provide some grip and stabilty whist dancing en pointe. They come in one size, so they may need to be cut down to suit the size of your pointe shoe. To adhere, you will need a craft glue (do not use a hot glue gun, as this will melt the end of the shoe). Apply some glue to the bottom of the toe cap, but not too much as you don't want it to ooze out onto the satin. Position the toe cap on the platform of the pointe shoe and press down firmly, then with some more glue adhere the bottom flap to the underneath of the shoe. Smooth with your thumbs, repeat on other shoe and then leave both to dry overnight.
Styling a Basic Bun
The more you practise, the better your buns will become. But to begin - make sure you have a good brush, some hairspray, hairties, bobby pins, and bun nets. Start by brushing the hair to make it smooth and knot free, then pull it all into a tight ponytail and fasten with a hairtie. Spray the hair and comb out any bumps towards the direction of the hairtie (this way they will be hidden later by the bun). Next, grab the ponytail and twist in one direction so that it is tight and then start to wrap it in a donut shape around the hairtie. Hold in place with one hand and then wrap the bun net around wih the other hand so that all the hair is under the net and secure in its shape. Next grab the bobby pins and stick them in the bun so that it is firmly attached to the head and then rest of the pony tail. Once enough bobby pins have been used, the bun will stay in firmly and will not come out when dancing.
Basic Stage Make Up
Make up varies for each person depending on your skin tone, colourings and face shape so over time you will get to know what works best for you. But to start off with, use this basic outline. First make sure that you have a clean face, no old makeup and no dirty marks; it is best to use a face wash or a face wipe. The make up will also stay on better this way. Then apply a primer all over your face so that any makeup you apply will sit on the primer rather than in the pores of your skin. It will also make your make up last longer. Next is foundation, so with a brush and a thick foundation (we recommend a TV Paint Stick from Kryolan) cover your face evenly, however it will need to be thicker and a slightly darker shade for stage performances than what you would normally use during the day. Next, the eyes will need a shadow, so use neutral colours such as browns but feel free to play with colour depending on your costume. Do not put colour completely up to the brow, and use slightly darker shading in the socket. Eyeliner should then be used to draw a dramatic line; it needs to much further away from the eye and bigger than it would be for normal day wear if it is to be seen from stage. Some white eyeliner can also be used on the bottom lid to open the eyes. Next apply your mascara, or if you like you falsh eyelashes. Bigger is better for the stage! Blush is next, brush in an upwards direction on the cheekbone making the colour slightly sronger on the cherry of the cheek. And to finish off, a nice red lipstick will complete your look.