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PHOTO CREDIT: Above photo by John Rickman Photography, San Jose, California.

Are You Sure Your Costume Isn't See-Through? (You Might Be Surprised!)

By Saqra




Lycra is rather opaque (non-see-through), and therefore dancers assume their bodies are fully covered. They assume it's not an issue to go commando (without underwear) as there are no unfortunate cut outs or badly timed twirls with leg slits. However, strong stage light and sunlight can actually penetrate straight through the fabric and bounce off skin, rendering the costume sheer to your audience.

People expect sheer when they look at light cotton and chiffon that they can see through under all circumstances. I'm pretty certain people realize flash photography and strong stage lights often go right through a multiple-layered chiffon skirt. I'm certain they also realize that the pretty gauze broomstick skirt is probably going to be completely sheer in direct sunlight as the sun goes through the fabric and bounces off your skin.

What people really don't seem to expect is that fabrics such as lycra or elastane that appear nice and opaque under normal light are also often sheer under strong lighting.

Example: We use very strong stage lighting at my monthly shows. The band has become completely accustomed to seeing through the dancers' costumes from the back, but it is obvious the dancers don't know they are also often completely transparent to the audience. I was just sorting old pictures from our monthly shows. Pardon me if I don't put up a shot to illustrate.

So, really, do not assume you are as covered as you believe you are without taking the time to really explore what your costume does under bright lighting.

Other quick notes:

  • Lighter colors are usually more transparent. However, I just saw a woman in a black lycra top on a television show and you could see fine detail on her bra and spanx.
  • Reflective fabrics give you a bit more coverage, which you may or may not want at times. Example: If you are using a veil with metallic designs and you do something dramatic behind the veil, all your audience is seeing is a piece of fabric with feet.
  • Wear underwear.

Your mileage may vary, but I don't want to see all your mileage!

PHOTO CREDIT: Photo by Michael Baxter, Santa Clara, California.




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