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Author Topic: Skating in big dresses  (Read 1145 times)

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Offline jbruced

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Skating in big dresses
« on: September 17, 2015, 12:23:01 PM »
I'm not sure if this is the correct place for this so moderators feel free to move it if needed.
I hope to make dresses for our clubs presentation of the Nutcracker. The adaptation story was written in the 1840's with the original set in late 1810's German Confederation. Most presentations of the Nutcracker are based on the adaptation from the 1840's. The dresses of 1840's were full and supported by lots of petticoats.  I'm thinking that lots of petticoats is not a good idea since people may need to do costume changes not to mention all the bulk may be difficult to skate although most of the skating in the scene will be simplistic.

Any thoughts or suggestions for skating in this type of dress?

Offline Loops

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Re: Skating in big dresses
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2015, 02:08:11 PM »
My first exhibition performance in my (dance only) club had our group wearing ankle length dresses fashioned to look like kimonos, so a straight-ish skirt with side slits.  Our foot work was pretty simple, but even still at one point I felt that skirt get all tangled between and around my legs and thought I was going to go down.  It would have been worse with a fuller skirt. 

In that same gala, the girls in the advanced (silver+) group wore Marie-Antoinette inspired gowns, with petticoats (or maybe hoops?) and seemed OK.  But I never asked about it.

If you need to go with the full skirts, I think I'd explore hoops as the support, to give structure and prevent tangling, but somehow try to make it easy for the quick change factor.  As long as the  costume can come off without having to remove the skates, changes can happen surprisingly quickly.

Or, if you can come up with a way to do a more mainstream skating dress, with at most a knee-length skirt, but evoke the dress of the era with the details on the costume, that would work too.

I wish my club would do a Nutcracker show!  It'd be great for us.  But since we don't have summer ice, everyone is hurrying to get their programs ready for competitions......

Offline davincisop

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Re: Skating in big dresses
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2015, 08:12:26 PM »
What if you did something more like this, where instead of petticoats, you use tulle and then can put a layer over. The skirts could be fashioned in such a way that they velcro on and off so quick changes could be done. Then the skirts could also be cut to mid calf so they aren't so long they'll catch skates, but long enough that they will look like they're supposed to. :)

Offline Clarice

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Re: Skating in big dresses
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2015, 06:29:21 AM »
Petticoats are not the best idea - way too heavy and bulky.  I would do dresses like ice dancers or synchro skaters wear, decorated to suggest the period.

Offline CaraSkates

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Re: Skating in big dresses
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2015, 06:42:13 AM »
While we haven't done Nutcracker in years, we usually order dresses like this one: when we need something like you are describing. Most of our show costumes are dance costumes and we've used this same dress for things like Mrs. Darling in Peter Pan, etc.
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Offline FigureSpins

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Re: Skating in big dresses
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2015, 11:22:46 AM »
Our rink (not the Club) stages the Nutcracker every year and they do a good job of keeping the expense low so that the event makes money and keeps the skaters coming back.  It even brings in new skaters who take lessons and come skate, so it's all good.  To that end, they have a closet of donated/created costumes that are reused every year.  The Mice and Soldiers wear their own clothes - grey or black sweats for the Mice, blue pants and a white shirt for the Soldiers.  The rink provides ears, tails, hats, suspenders and swords, which are reused every year.  They use makeup to make whiskers, noses and rosy cheeks.

For the party scene, female skaters wear tea-length (not floor length) party dresses that look old-fashioned. Boys wear ties and vest or jackets.  No one wears skating costumes since they would look odd.

For the group numbers, the girls wear black leotards, the boys black pants&shirt.  They're accessorized by the rink.  For example, Arabian dancers have arm and headbands and skirt-sashes to look exotic. 

The Snowflakes and Flowers provide their own dance dresses and each one is unique. ;-)  Ditto for the Pas De Deux skaters (which is sometimes a trio!)

I second the suggestion of using skirts over a leotard rather than a full dress - costume changes are so much easier and the skaters don't have to remove their skates. 

To spread out the skirts without hoops, you can add a little lift at the waist with gathered crinoline, but it's scratchy, so "bag" it with some scrap material.  It's very light and stiff, so it holds out the skirts.

Check your local thrift shops.  While you might not find the fashion you're seeking, you can often find the fabric that can be repurposed.  (The crinoline is used on prom and bridesmaid dresses - they can be taken apart and the fabric reused creatively.)
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Offline jbruced

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Re: Skating in big dresses
« Reply #6 on: September 18, 2015, 11:36:52 PM »
Thank you all for the excellent recommendations/suggestions.