By Alaine Haddon-Casey
When these concepts are applied to everyday life:
-Daylight is the most scrutinizing light. Makeup needs to be perfectly applied and blended. The main colors intensified by daylight are red, yellow, blue and green.
-Electric light bulbs emit warmer rays of light, intensifying reds and yellows, whilst subduing blues and greens.
-Fluorescent neon strips emit light rays similar to daylight - although green and blue is intensified and red and yellow become more subdued.
-Candlelight emits a warm hue, flatters the skin and reduces imperfections.
ON STAGE under:
Amber and straw lights-
-pale rouge turns
to dark violet
-red turns to black
The basic understanding of color and light extends to the concept of color bleed; that is, the effect similar colors may have on each other. Foe example, from a lighting perspective, a red light on red lipstick will reduce the intensity of the lipstick; the color seems to 'bleed' or fade.
The intensity or brightness of the lighting has the greatest impact in terms of our overall appearance. The main thing to look for is the position and color of the light; to put it a succinctly as possible, if you want to look really, really old and haggard, dance under a bright white or halogen light that is placed to shine down on you. This is guaranteed to create shadows and lines where there aren't any and 'bleach' out all but the strongest colored makeup. In one recent performance the use of such lighting managed to turn a fresh faced, unlined twenty year old dancer into a much older and tired looking woman. The effect 'bleached out' her foundation and blusher, transformed her plum lipstick into a harsh looking slash across her face and created shadows under her eyes, nose and chin that were particularly aging. This type of lighting is unmerciful.
(Tip: If this type of spotlight is being used in the venue, dance behind it - not under it, or ask politely if a pink or straw gel is available for your performance!)
Oh, and if you think it may be better if it is shone from beneath you, for example, from the footlights, just cast your mind back to the effect of holding a torch under your chin during Halloween!
Clearly it is in the performers best interests to find out what type of lighting is being used in the venue. And as you can see from the effects described, there are certain colors and levels and placement of lights that we would prefer not to dance under if we have a choice.
Where there isn't a choice, advance notice of lighting used will enable us to modify the colors and choreography we use to counteract any undesirable effects; we are rewarded with greater control over our appearance and the environment within which we perform.