Thursday, January 23, 2014

It's like they're daring me....

It's that time of year again.  No, I'm not talking about Girl Scout cookies, damn it. This very as-we-speak moment, Max is at his second dance class of, dun dun DUUUUUN! Costume Week.  As in, look kids, this is what you'll be wearing in this year's recital!



Max is coming up on his fifth dance recital, at a studio that is predominantly girls.  Scratch that.  (ALMOST) ALL GIRLS.  In his first year, he was one of four boys in his class, and the teachers were able to find a suitable unisex costume for tap (it was a train theme, all the kids wore the same overall-type costume) and for ballet, well, buying the "boy" version of the costume was suitable.  I made coordinating conductor caps and snazzed up a couple of cowboy hats for the four boys, made a couple of string ties....easy peasy.  Plus, they were preschoolers, and anything we put them in was going to be cuuuuute.

In his second year, Max was the only boy in the entire studio.  The tap costume was easy, as the supplier offered a "boy version"....I should clarify that "boy" version always and only means a vest that is coordinated to the girl costume.  In this case it was a red-and-white striped vest, I supplied the white shirt and pants and a sparkly red bow tie.  The ballet costume proved a little more challenging.  The class was dancing to "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," and, naturally, were dressed as lions.  The girl costume was adorable, a sweet gold bodysuit with two tutus, one around the waist and one they wore around their faces as a mane.  Max just was not having that, no tutu around the face, no way.  A couple of weeks prior to Costume Week, we had taken him to see The Lion King on tour in Durham...and he was adamant that he be dressed like Simba.  You know.  In Julie Taymor and Michael Curry's TONY-AWARD-WINNING Simba costume.  Lord help me.

I TRIED!!!!!  Give me a break, jeez.
That was also the first year he took hip-hop, but again, the costume had a boy version, and with a little customization (I made his shirt a hoodie, for a more authentic, hip-hoppy look) it was a non-issue.

Year Three is when things got real.  Max was taking three classes, and I had three costumes to make, completely from scratch this time.

Ballet was the easiest.  The girls were in red, covered in sequins.  Max was perfectly happy in black ballet pants, with a red button shirt.  All we had to do was add the sequins:

This was dress rehearsal.  We added more sequins for the performance.

Hip-hop was a little more of a challenge.  The girls' costume was made with a very specific lime green and turquoise spandex, with silver foil stars.  I searched and searched for a fabric that was even close, with no luck whatsoever.  I finally convinced Max to go with an all-black costume, to which I added large lime green and turquoise stars, with silver accents, and stripes down the sleeves similar to what the girls had.  It was.....close.

Blurry, but you get the idea.
Tap, however.  TAP.  The 2012 tap costume is where I really sealed my doom.  I am not going to lie.  I nailed this costume.  No way ANYONE knew that it didn't come from the same costume company as the girls' costumes.

Best Costume.  EVER.
T-shirt and cargo shorts.  Hot pink dye.  Yellow mesh for making a sleeveless pullover and matching socks.  Hot pink fedora, purchased from Target and embellished with a scrap of yellow mesh.  The only thing missing was a hot pink flower, which we added after dress rehearsal.

Am I right?  I mean, honestly, from the audience.  These costumes.  Perfect match. And you can't even SEE the pink band at the top of Max's socks, but trust me.  It looked good.
So, like I said.  I totally nailed this costume.  I could not possibly have done better.  I was feeling really psyched.

Then I realized....oh right.  Now I have to do this good of a job on EVERY costume, EVERY YEAR.

In Year Four, Max switched from hip hop to Irish, a smart move on his part in my opinion.  He's just....better suited to Irish, shall we say.  Anyway, from the moment he signed up for Irish, he was very fixated on wearing a kilt for recital, and no amount of teasing from some of the mean girls at the studio would dissuade him (that's my boy!) The trickiest part was finding the tartan that matched the girls' costume, but once I started searching for Irish tartans as opposed to Scottish (duh) it was a lot easier.  While I was searching, Max kept suggesting that I just make him one....given the two hours I spent hemming the off-the-rack kilt I bought, I am really glad I didn't give up in my quest to purchase it.  Add a white shirt, green vest, and green knee socks, and he was ready to Riverdance.

Lord of the Dance

Ballet had a patriotic theme.  Once I located some red and white striped satin, the costume came together pretty easily.  I used my favorite technique for making comfy pants and used the green vest I purchased for the Irish costume as a pattern for a pullover.  The finishing touch, and what really sold Max on the costume, was that I was able to find some large silver sequined star appliques that matched the embellishments on the girls' costume.

My Yankee Doodle Dandy
Once again, tap is where things got out of hand.  His teacher tells me, "They're dancing to 'Stayin' Alive.'  Here's a picture of the girls' costume," and shows me a cute little halter-top, bell-bottomed thing, again in a wild lime-and-turquoise pattern that I am never going to be able to match.  I stressed over this for about ten minutes before I realized what she'd actually said to me.

"Hold up.  Did you say they are dancing to 'Stayin' Alive?'  'STAYIN' ALIVE??????'"

It was so on.  Did you KNOW that you can get a boys' tuxedo, in white, on Amazon, for less than $50???  Well....you can.

John Travolta, eat your heart out.

So this year....THIS year....as it turns out, Irish will be easy, the only challenge will be making Max happy.  He's disappointed that the girls are not wearing any plaid, I think he was really eager to add a second kilt to his wardrobe (he actually wears the one he has more often than you might think...) but I am sure we will come up with something.  Ballet has a wedding theme, and we've already purchased another inexpensive tuxedo, this time in black (and with tails, at Max's request).  Now he's asking if he can wear a top hat, and I don't really see why not.

Tap 2014, though, right? I can just hear  you clamoring to know about Tap 2014.  I gotta tell you....when I found out....it was like his teachers were just daring me.  "How far will she go?  Will she do it?  Will MAX? Can it even be done????"

I've already got the Bedazzler in my Amazon shopping cart. Brace yourselves.



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