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5 Common Stage Makeup Mistakes Made By Small Venue Dancers

There are many differences between stage makeup and everyday makeup. However, many performers do not perform on big stages where theatrical stage makeup is appropriate. If you are a dancer who performs in restaurants, a musician who performs in cafes, or an acrobat who performs in small clubs, you need to adjust your stage makeup appropriately. Make sure you do not make the following five mistakes when performing in a small venue. 

Applying Traditional Stage Makeup  

Traditional stage makeup is meant to be seen from a distance under harsh lighting. If you are performing at a restaurant, on a small stage, or at a party, your patrons will be much closer to you, and traditional makeup may seem overdone. 

Before selecting your makeup for a venue, you should ask about the lighting. If there will be no stage lights and the venue is small, you should use professional, cream based makeup but apply it as you would apply everyday makeup for a night out. If there will be lights, you will need to add more contouring along your cheekbones and jawline, but you should still not exaggerate your features as much as you would for a traditional theater performance. 

Applying your makeup in a subtle way while not allowing your features to be washed out while you're performing is a skill that takes practice. However, it is especially important for performers who may move through a crowd at a performance, such as belly dancers. To perfect your style, you should take plenty of pictures in various venues and critique your stage makeup after each performance until you find the makeup style that is right for your specific performance needs.  

Skipping Foundation

When you are applying less makeup to accommodate a smaller venue, you may be tempted to skip the foundation. However, a cream-based foundation is important because it helps the rest of your makeup blend naturally and stay in place, even while you sweat. The trick to not looking as if you have too much makeup on while still using a cream-based foundation is to use a small amount in a tone slightly darker than your natural skin and blend thoroughly down your neck, all the way to the top of your costume.     

Substituting Everyday Makeup for Stage Makeup

Even though small venue makeup should be applied in amounts similar to everyday makeup, you cannot substitute fashion makeup for professional performance makeup. Cream-based stage makeup is made to withstand exaggerated facial movements and sweat caused by your performance or stage lights.

Because stage makeup does not need to be as elaborate as everyday makeup, you can start your stage kit by investing in a foundation, blush, one or two eye colors, a lip color, and an eye pencil.  You should keep your stage makeup separate from your everyday makeup in order to not be tempted to use everyday makeup for accents when you are performing. Over time, you can continue to build your stage kit with more elaborate makeup choices.   

Applying Elaborate Eye Makeup

Since your audience is close, you may be tempted to apply elaborate eye accents by swirling your eyeliner or layering multiple colors on your lids. This is unnecessary, even for an intimate performance, and will generally distract from your facial expression and your body movement. You should only apply elaborate eye makeup if you will be performing directly in a crowd and it is consistent with your character.     

Leaving Makeup Remover at Home

If you are performing in a small venue, it is likely that you will have a chance to chat with the audience after your performance. This is an excellent time to hand out business cards and book future performances. However, stage makeup can be unsettling when it is viewed close up. To make a good impression, you should have makeup wipes handy for a quick cleanup after your performance. 

A great way to understand small venue stage makeup is to frequent small venues and assess the makeup of the performers. You will quickly learn what does and does not work as well as how to create your own small venue stage presence.