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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Stage makeup for younger children


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I was wondering if anyone has tips for stage makeup for younger children?


My DD's ballet school are performing their annual show at the local theatre. There will be about 150 children performing, about a third of them are under five years of age and most of those are only three!


Does anyone have tips for stage makeup for these little children. Previous shows have resulted in problems with smudged red lipstick (a requirement) which, once it gets on the delicate skin around their mouths, refuses to be removed under any circumstances. Similar problems with any eyemakeup. Also our AD requires everyone to wear eye liner and mascara, which is almost impossible to apply to a three year old! Any tips for coping would be much appreciated.


(Tips for keeping them awake would be good as well! lol At the last show at least three had to be woken to go on stage for the evening performances!!)

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Sorry , I removed a post because this is a 'special' forum , although the thought was well-meant. Please use the appropriate channels for offering information in the 'special' forums if you are not of the specific demographics. ;)

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These are the tricks I use on my DD - hope it helps:)


We love the Revlon eraser pen in our make-up kit to take away those dreaded red lipstick smudges.


When applying the lower eyeliner; have the child focus on something on the ceiling with their head slightly tilted.

For the top lid eyelashes; hold the brush close and as the child closes their eyes lift the brush up against the lashes. I also use lolly pops as bribery when applying eye make-up:)


I found liquid eyeliner is easier to apply on a younger child then using a eyeliner pen depending on the brand you buy.


Tips to help keep the child happy backstage: dvd player; simple card game such as memory; and small toys such as LPS.

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Thanks for those tips, Wendigowild. I particularly like the sound of the Revlon eraser pen.


I wonder if I could use it to erase some of the more temperamental mums backstage?!!!!!!!

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Max Factor's Lipfinity is very good for stage make up. You 'paint' on the base colour and then put a clear gloss over the top (you get both bits when you buy it). The colour doesn't smudge or come off AT ALL for hours and hours, it does dry out a bit but then you can just reapply the glossy layer.


The only problem I found is removing it! You can't use a normal make-up remover. The only one I've found that works (although I've only tried a couple) is Elizabeth Arden's 'All gone eye and lip make up remover'. It's expensive but you only need a tiny bit and it comes straight off, far better than rubbing the lips raw with another one!!


As for mascara - don't put it right down to the base of the lashes, just start about half way along. The child is less likely to suddenly squeeze their eye shut!


For our youngest students we don't use much make up, literally a bit of blusher and that's it!

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Thankyou very much CDR. I am taking notes!


I agree about less is sometimes quite enough for the little ones, but we have these rules to try and stick by. :thumbsup: Last time the youngest had red costumes which really helped, as misplaced lipstick didn't notice - at least on their clothes! I must find out what colour they have this time and maybe suggest the Max Factor's Lipfinity!

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The eraser pens are great and so is the Lipfinity lipstick. There are also several other brands that have come out since that one that are pretty much glued to your lips once put on.


It also helps in applying mascara to really have the kids look up and not at you. Then you can get the tips of their lashes before they blink.

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We use something called lipstain...I believe it is from Revlon. But the girls are encouraged to bring a chapstick because it tends to be very dry because the gloss wears off before they even hit the stage. We are required to do our girls makeup before they go backstage. I usually practice a couple of days before hand...that eyeliner is the hardest for me. I also use a liquid pen. And I tell myself that you really can't tell from the audience if it isn't perfect :) That's a lot of young girls you have to get ready and keep happy! I bring coloring sheets, crayons, movies. I pack things for my dd that I woudn't mind getting left behind. It's so hard for the backstage moms keep up with costumes, kids and their toys. Some kids bring their handheld game systems and ipods.

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Thank you all very much for the additional tips.


We have far too many people backstage in my opinion. The littlies probably have 8 out of 10 mums there!! It makes for a whole week of total mayhem. I can't wait for my dau to reach the grand age of 11 so we move in to the relative calm of the 'older girls' room!


In previous years there has been a TV/film playing but it has never been possible to hear it over the general noise. It's a good job there's a very long walk between the dressing room and the stage :)

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This year (actually we do our shows every two years) we have decided to do things differently. Like you, Merry, we've always suffered from having too many mums getting in the way, especially in the youngest ones' room. We have formed a committee of 4 of us plus the school owner and her qualified daughter. The four of us will be backstage together with other pre-organised volunteers. The children will be passed over to these chaperones at the stage door. We have got around this with the mums by stating, as is true, that theatres nowadays need all adults looking after children to be CRB checked (this is a police check on an individual's background that s/he has not had any convictions for child abuse etc.).


We have rounded up as many pre-school teachers and nursery/kindergarten helpers as we can to help out in the littlies room - lucky them! Such a shame, I can't help in there . . .


I am starting to wonder whether we are going to have enough hands-on help to deal with costumes, make-up, hair etc. As usual, we will ask parents to bring their child to the theatre already made-up and bunned. There will be lots, though, who will need to be 're-done'.

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Our studio is the same way...only limited moms backstage...you have to be on the preapproved list. Otherwise it is drop off at the door all made up. I've worked backstage and it really is best...usually the kids are better for the volunteers than their mom :)

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Mulberry and mumtofour - you sound very organised!


Mulberry, are you in the UK? I realise this is off topic, but just wondered about the theatre requirements re CRB checks.....I can see this would be a requirement where a small number of mums are responsible for a large number of children within the theatre building. We are in a situation where our AD requires every child to have a named chaperone, which tends to be either the child's mother or the mother of someone else from their ballet class who they are dancing with. The younger children have vast numbers of mums in attendance, but as they get older there might be one mum with five or six children and the teens don't really have anyone specifically caring for them, just the AD and three or four stage runners etc. The numbers and individuals change from rehearsal to rehearsal and performance to performance. (sorry I'm going on! lol)


Anyway, back to my Q. I'm 100% sure the issue of CRB checks has not come up before with respect to the dance school. I know I've not been checked for instance. I'm wondering if this is something that has been overlooked because so many of the mums know one another? (obviously no excuse!) Now I'm wondering if I should mention it, but don't the CRB checks cost a fortune? I know our local Brownie troup wanted more helpers, but no one wanted to pay the (£35?? was it?) a head for people to be checked only to be needed a couple of times a term, so the idea of more helpers was thrown out. I can see large cans of worms opening and it all appearing to be my 'fault'!!


:) Gosh, maybe I should have sent Mulberry a pm?! :D

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Breathe, Merry!


Yes, I am in the UK but don't worry, we're using CRB more as an excuse for ourselves as we don't want too many non-helping bodies backstage. I think theatres are heading that way and it will probably be a requirement in the future. English Youth Ballet have a really stringent process which they are forced to go through. I'm not sure whether it's the individual Local Authorities that are the driving force behind it as it's worse for their chaperones in some regions than in others. I would imagine that strictly speaking anybody helping out at a ballet school, in whatever capacity, probably should be CRB checked, but there's no point in opening that can of worms, as you say. If you're school owner is happy with the system as it is I wouldn't even mention it.

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Breathe, Merry!





*sits tight on top of can* :)



Thanks very much Mulberry

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  • 2 months later...

I could also use some help in this department... Is there a good lip color that you would recommend? Someone recommend MAC's viva glam #1 as the "must use" color that most of the girls use for competitions... We don't compete but only need make up for recitals and performances. I think the color is very loud. Any of you have other recs? Also, someone mentioned liquid liner... Any particular one?


Thanks for your help!

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