Updated March 20, 2011. Gig Look!
Would you like to know one of the biggest challenges of being part of the performing cast of a halau hula, or traditional hula school? Well, besides knowing your choreography and the mana'o, or imagery, behind the movements of a particular hula number so that, as a dancer, you can portray the meaning and emotional content of the dance with both grace and animation?
No it's not figuring out your costuming--your kumu or hula master will pretty much decide on that. Same goes for what to do with your hair and what adornments (lei and other flower/bead arrangements common in traditional hula--no other jewelry!) to go with it.
It's what to wear on your face.
Gigs--performances for which the halau is hired by private individuals & organizations (as opposed to performances hosted by the halau itself or hula competitions, either of which may include kahiko or ancient-style hula compositions that, according to protocol in our halau, one does not wear brilliantly colored or "glam" makeup while performing)--are predominated by 'auana or modern hula dances (accompanied by stringed instruments like the 'ukulele) and call for dramatic eyes and lip color to help call the audience's attention to the beauty of the dancer's expression--a critical part of any hula performance.
Our halau had been hired to provide live entertainment at the celebration of a local woman's 100th birthday, for which her family had chartered a historic riverboat for an evening dinner cruise. If I live so long, I hope my relatives party it up in similar style to celebrate such an achievement!! So I was given the task of deciding how to make up my face for the gig, a process made somewhat easier by a color challenge I chose to participate in.
I have to say, this ended up taking much of my usual agonizing about how to paint my face for a gig out of the equation, as my Kumu had chosen shades of violet and pink for the costumes I was to wear to perform my numbers. Palette in hand, I began mixing & matching to present: Delta Queen!
|Ah, smoky eyes, thou art a performer's best friend! With you, my facial features can actually be seen from more than just the front-and-center seats ;D|
Dressing the face for a gig requires extra special care, so I made sure the face was clean, moisturized (but not greasy!) and applied not only foundation (a touch darker than my usual shade) & finishing powder but also bronzer for that must-have Island glow (even in the dead of Winter!!). Following this I applied my Gig/Challenge look thusly:
1) Prime lids (for a gig I need super-strength primer, so I mixed MAC Paint Pot in Painterly with some heavy-stick mineral primer by Erzulie--the two of these together are like paste for mineral eyeshadows!)
2) Foil a pale violet shade and paint over the lid; when dry top with a touch of sparkly ice blue
3) Mix a golden bronze shade with a sparkly brown and pat onto the outer 1/3 of lid, blending slightly into the crease & outer corner
4) Blend a smoky plum purple into the crease and outer corner of the eye, winging up & out slightly and dragging this shade down & across outer 2/3 of lower lid
5) Take a shimmery nude shadow, preferably with a lavender/pale violet shimmer to it, and blend onto the brow bone; pat more of this shade onto the inner corners of the eyes and across inner 1/3 of lower lid to meet the plum purple.
6) Line upper lash line (MAC Blacktrack) and lower waterlines (Bobbi Brown Black Ink) with black gel eyeliner. Why did I use two different black gel liners for this look? Because when I dance, I sweat and also my eyes water (from lights, from heat, from dry conditions in the performance area, from sun and/or wind if we are outside, and from the emotions evoked by the dances themselves), so for the waterlines especially I needed something that WOULD NOT BUDGE and Bobbi Brown gel eyeliner is IT.
7) Glam up the lashes with either falsies or major mascara; I didn't have time for falsies--which are hit or miss for me--so I primed the lashes with MAC Prep+Prime to build them up and topped it with 2 coats of MAC False Lashes mascara.
8) Shadow in the brows is a must for gig makeup, so I blended Indy by Mixology into mine to help shape and add definition
9) Color the lips with something shimmery and plum/mauvey to go with the shadows on the eyes; I went with Aveda Lip Shine in Night Iris.
|"Delta Queen" from the side, showing off the bronzy-brown on the outer lid|
|View with lowered lids, highlighting the lavender sheen of the chosen highlighter and the smoky effect from the plum-purple and bronzy-brown shades|
Notice in these pics how rich the pigments are, how budge-proof, and how nicely the black gel eyeliner covers the waterlines? Get this--I took these pics AFTER the gig, meaning I had been wearing the look for over 6 hours and had performed FOUR DANCES in it!!
See what I mean about the super-stick primer and the Bobbi Brown eyeliner? It was a windy evening on the river, my eyes were streaming at times, I had to fight the urge to swipe at them, dancing+performance anxiety=sweaty face, and the only thing I had to reapply for these pics was the lip gloss (because God bless our hosts, they fed our hungry selves after the rest of the party had been served, since we were on the boat for the duration of the cruise with no way to get our own food)!! Incredible stuff, just incredible!
Anyone else among my good and lovely followers use their makeup addiction for the performing arts? What are your trials and triumphs as a performer doing your own makeup? Feel free to leave a comment and let me know--I'm always up for a good story ;)
MKA (Me ke aloha = with love :D)
Lizzy (or Leimamo, Hula Practitioner)