There is no doubt that professional makeup is truly an art form. Every time that I sculpt and contour the human face with colors and techniques, I feel like an artist in front of my canvas. It’s very fitting that the art of makeup is also closely aligned with the performing arts such as dance and theater for this very reason. You are able to amplify and express the emotions of the face to complement the emotions you are also expressing on stage. Because such performances are most often done in front of a live audience, it’s particularly important to know the right makeup techniques to really draw attention to your features and to prevent looking white or washed out under the harsh stage lights.
I have recently had the pleasure of working with several local performing arts organizations on three creative projects where my canvases were young teens. The Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, One Broadway Dance and Performing Arts Centre of Hershey and a local high school theater program brought me back to the magical world of childhood and immersed me in the beauty that is the performing arts. These experiences helped me to see the world once again from a child’s pure eyes and inspired me to help these students understand the power and importance of professional makeup on stage. I was able to teach them many of the basic techniques of applying correct stage makeup and saw a tremendous difference in the final results. The best part was that these were critical skills they had learned for themselves and could repeat for every future performance!
I would love to have more local performing arts organizations open their eyes to the power of teaching professional stage makeup techniques to their students – and this is something I am very happy to offer as part of my seminars. Both the techniques and the products we use to create our every day makeup look are quite different from what stage makeup demands. Just as any other sport of hobby requires a degree of skill training, so does the performing arts and one of these essential skill sets is stage makeup.
Take a look at these three creative projects I helped with and see the power that professional makeup techniques have on stage!
In working with the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet (CPYB) on filming their promotional video for “Sleeping Beauty,” I had the chance to meet two very talented young performers. I was amazed to discover that all three of us are connected by a related force – the love for classical music and dance. It was also interesting to discover that we all shared the same favorite ballerina, who I can proudly say is from my native country, Romania. Her name is Alina Cojocaru, the principal dancer in the Royal Ballet in London and has performed numerous times for the MET in New York City. No matter how various my work projects, I love coming across the unexpected similarities I so often share with my clients. It helps me to bond with them and to gain a better understanding of who they are inside. This is all reflected in the makeup I create for them and by watching the video clip below, you’ll see that their emotions are amplified by the colors and contouring designed into their stage makeup. Even though these are youth performers, the right stage makeup makes them look like true professionals!
(Fun fact about Alina Cojocaru: At 19 she became the Royal Ballet’s youngest principal dancer and has since danced all the leads in the company’s repertory, recently winning a Ballerina of the Decade award at the Stars of the 21st Century International Ballet Gala in Moscow. Learn more about Alina here: http://www.alinacojocaru.com/)
[vimeo 62269084 w=500 h=281]
A huge thank you goes to GK Visual for creating this beautiful and enchanting preview of CPYB’s Sleeping Beauty and for trusting me with a diverse array of projects that we have worked together on. It’s been a pleasure! (visit them at: http://www.gk-visual.com/)
This was a very interesting project where I had to rely upon my creative eye. I was asked to design the makeup for five graduating dancers that were “transforming” into notorious women of history – Eve, Marie Antoinette, Cleopatra, Marilyn Monroe and Pocahontas. It was a challenge to accurately represent these ladies with makeup that reflected their era and personality. Even more challenging was transforming someone else into this character using merely the right makeup coloring and techniques. But the results were spectacular and the five dancers have the perfect look to compliment their performances and wow their audiences!
Local High School Theater Program
As my third project with the performing arts, I was asked to introduce future performers to the techniques specific to stage makeup. I provided these rising stars with a better understanding of how to create straight makeup, character makeup and aging makeup. These three categories are the ones most commonly used in dance and theater and together provide a diverse tool kit to pull from to create almost any basic character you can imagine. They were a wonderful audience to work with and I have no doubt that they will continue to create their own art for many years to come!
Overall, my recent past experiences with the performing arts and the young artists who bring them to life was an eye-opening and refreshing adventure. I shared many valuable techniques for stage makeup and learned a great deal in return. I hope to continue to expand my seminars into teaching more and more youth how to amplify their stage presence through professional makeup. If you have any suggestions for this, please contact me at Carmina@carminacristina.com or visit my seminars here!