Performance Preparedness – The Eyes Have It All

eye make up 3

I feel that the most important part of your stage make up is your eyes. Your eyes give definition and expression to your entire face. When applying stage make up, you should spend the most time on defining your eyes. Be artistic and don’t skimp with the mascara!

Eye Shadow

Good eye make up will bring a face to life on stage. Your choreographer or teacher will tell you what colors they want. Sometimes it will be one color all over, but most times it will be two or even three colors. A popular example is brown or mahogany and off white or ivory, which looks great on stage. A note here on applying make up on a child’s eye, have the child close their eyes, but not scrunched because the may cause creases in the shadow.

Begin by using your off white or ivory on your brow bone and down onto your lid. Apply some ivory below your eye and out towards your hair line. Be sure that the under shadow blends into your blush.

If you are using two shades of brown apply the darker brown on the bottom half of the lid, using an eye shadow applicator. Use smooth strokes starting at the inside corner of the eye, and moving outward to the edge. Blend this eye shadow out and up to the end of the eyebrow, but not on the brow bone where you have your off white or ivory shadow. On the top part of the lid, apply the lighter shade of brown, filling in the rest of the eyelid.
This is a basic style of eye shadowing.

Once you’re more experienced at applying stage makeup, you can get more creative, using another shade of brown to blend in. See the diagram below to get the feel of a third color.

eye make up 2


If you have purchased white eye liner, which is purely optional and depends on how creative you want to be, now is the time to apply it. It may be difficult to find white liquid eyeliner but you may be able find a white eyeliner pencil. Look for a soft pencil. Using white eyeliner has an amazing effect of opening the eyes up on stage, and making them appear much larger.

Next we apply Black eyeliner to the top lid, along the line of eyelashes, as close to the lashes as possible. Bring the stroke from the corner of your eye right out to the outer edge of your eye. Try to complete this line with one stroke to prevent a choppy line. When you are dancing close to an audience, a thin line is only necessary, however on stage, a thicker line is needed to emphasize the eyes.

I personally prefer the liquid eyeliner, it takes a little practice to apply neatly. Very young dancers may not like an eyeliner pencil coming so close to their eye so a quick brush stroke may work better than a sharp pencil liner. Remember, if you are using liquid eye liner, wait until it dries before opening your eye or it will smudge.

An amazing effect of enlarging the eyes is to apply a thin line of black eyeliner under the white eyeliner on the bottom lid.

Next we need to accent your eyelashes. Black mascara is the only color you should be using for stage makeup. Many people like brown for street wear, but on stage, black is the only color that will show up.

Begin with your top lashes. Gently sweep a minimum of two coats on the upper and lower lashes. Some dancers will want to add the addition of false eye lashes. However this is unnecessary to achieve thick beautiful lashes. After the second coat of mascara, lightly brush with your finger some baby power or cornstarch on the wet mascara. This process needs to be done one eye at a time since the mascara needs to be wet for the powder or cornstarch to stick. Let the powder or cornstarch dry on your lashes and reapply more mascara. This process may be repeated over and over again until you get the length and thickness of lashes you desire.

The eyes are the biggest display of your expression on stage…take time to practice how you want to do them before the big day…..

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