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Dance costumes sparkle with hand applied embellishments

Notice the beautiful crystal embellishment on the back, straps and neckline.

Sewers know Swarovski as the company that manufactures beautiful crystal and other beads. One of the Swarovski divisions, Swarovski Elements, recently teamed up with USA Dance, Inc., to sponsor and bedazzle ten couples at the USA Dance 2011 National DanceSport Championships recently held in Baltimore. If you have ever been involved with making dance or other costumes, or you love to watch television shows like “Dancing With the Stars” or “So You Think You Can Dance,” you’ll want to take a look at these beautifully embellished garments. Costumes for dancers are more complicated to make than streetwear or costumes for the stage, because dancers have to move in many positions quickly, and their costume has to remain perfect while making the dancer look spectacular through every move. Even the costumes for men can be a challenge. They may not look quite as glitzy as the costumes worn by the women, but the men must move just as fast and look just as good.

The USA DanceSport Competition was held in April, but Swarovski Elements and the dance organization are asking the public to vote on the costume they like the most. The costume colors run the gamut from mellow to wild, and the styles range from traditional to flamboyant. They’re all beautifully embellished with beads and sequins that shimmer in the stage lights and give each dancing couple a special flair. The winning costume will be announced on June 8, so you’ll want to check out the website and enter your vote right away.

I spoke to Allison Bethurem who is an account manager involved with the project. Allison told me that all of the Swarovski elements were individually hand-stitched or hand-glued to each costume. Imagine the time and patience required! The costumes for this particular program will be on display at the Swarovski Crystallized store at 499 Broadway in New York City from June 9-24. If you’re in New York during that time, it would be worth the trip. After the display ends, the costumes will be sold, although Swarovski Elements hasn’t yet announced the recipient of the proceeds from the sale. All of costumes were designed by professional costume designers, and the lucky 10 couples sponsored by Swarovski Elements were fortunate in that they did not have to pay for their beautiful costumes. One might think the dancers typically use their costumes again and again considering what goes into making each one, but Allison told me most of the competitors typically have new costumes for each championship they participate in.

Swarovski is a large corporation with production facilities in 18 countries and 28,578 employees worldwide. It all started in 1892 when Daniel Swarovski invented a revolutionary machine that allowed crystals to be cut more precisely than with existing manual methods. Over the years they’ve broadened their horizons to include work with gemstones and the production of precision optical instruments (binoculars, telescopes, etc.). In 1977 they added a premium line that incorporates jewelry, accessories and decorative crystal objects. As one might expect, they’ve improved their manufacturing methods since those used in 1892 to increase the brilliance of their crystals. Most sewers associate crystal embellishments with the name Swarovski.

Since its reorganization in 1985, USA Dance has focused on promoting the growth of all styles and forms of ballroom dancing, both competitive and recreational social dancing. USA Dance organizes and supports educational programs about the healthful aspects of recreational ballroom dancing and Dancesport. “Dancesport” is the name given to the competitive form of ballroom dancing. Annually, USA Dance conducts national, regional and local DanceSport Championships for those of all ages and capabilities.




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  1. fotofashion | | #1

    I guess the costumes were lovely. The videos left much to be desired in viewing them. A second here a second there. If we are to vote, I'd like to SEE the costumes.

  2. jlo1322 | | #2

    I have to agree with fotofashion in that it looks as if the costumes are lovely but the videos are so small it's really hard to make a decision as to which is the prettiest! Can you do anything to make them bigger?

  3. User avater
    ustabahippie | | #3

    Guys, you have to click on the little box in the lower right corner of the video to get "full screen." Then press your ESC button to return.

  4. alb4ever | | #4

    How beautiful! All these dresses r so sparkly & gorgeous! I would like 2 design sum like that sum day. . . :D

  5. funkified | | #5

    i am voting the sea foam embelishment.

  6. nightmama | | #6

    I would love to know the construction details of these costumes. Are they lycra and various chiffon? The crystals are amazing. Such patience.

  7. Blingity | | #7

    Lovely costume! I find the quickest and most inexpensive way of jazzing up a costume is by adding sew on or glue on embellishments in rhinestone,beads and sequins. You can get some beautiful stuff at Firemountain gems or my personal favourite http://etsy.com/shop/baubletjes

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