Dancer to Dancer

Ashly Costa Shares How to Deal When You're Asked to Dance in Something You're Uncomfortable With

Ashly Costa and Buzz Aldrin on "Dancing with the Stars" Season 10 (courtesy ABC)

In the dance industry, dancers don't always have a say in what they wear on their bodies. This can get tricky if you're asked to wear something that compromises your own personal values. So what should you do if you find yourself in this sticky situation? We sat down for a Q&A with "Dancing with the Stars" alumn Ashly Costa to answer that very question. Here's what she had to say about the options dancers have surrounding questionable costumes.


Dance Spirit: Have you ever had experiences with costuming where you felt uncomfortable? Can you tell us about it?

Ashly Costa: Of course! When I started on "Dancing with the Stars," I knew right from the beginning what costuming would work for me and the standards that I have. I know it's kind of hard to stand up for that in the Dance World, but I had a feeling that it was the right thing for me and my career. I spoke to the costume designer at the time, and I just told her what I felt comfortable wearing and what I didn't. I said, "I don't feel very comfortable wearing something that's extremely revealing and I know I won't dance well if I am." I never wanted to be demanding. I never said, "I have to have this or I'm not going to dance." I simply said, "If it's ok with you, would you mind please putting these inserts in to my costumes?" And 100% of the time the costume designers were so accommodating!

Costa and Buzz Aldrin on "Dancing with the Stars" Season 10 (courtesy ABC)

DS: The costume designers seem so supportive, but how did the producers feel about you wearing costumes that were different from other costumes on the show?

AC: Honestly, when you don't give them a reason to question why you wore a costume, then they won't question it at all. They're so busy that they'll just look at the color and make sure everything looks great. I don't know if it would ever come into their minds that a costume is a little more modest than some of the other costumes out there because you still look amazing! If you look gorgeous, then they don't care!

Costa and Joey McIntyre on "Dancing with the Stars" season 1 (courtesy ABC)

DS: Do you have any advice for young performers who might be too intimidated to say anything?

AC: Just do it! Pull them aside and just talk to them. I promise that most of the time they'll say, "Okay let's see if we can try to fix this to make you feel more comfortable." The worst thing they can say to you is, "No you have to wear this." That's when you have a personal choice about whether or not the job is worth it for you to take. We're our own bosses when it comes to what we wear, so let your voice be heard in a way that is nice and courteous.

Costa and Harry Hamlin on "Dancing with the Stars" season 1 (courtesy ABC)

DS: Are there ways to prevent costume conflicts before dancers even book the job?

AC: Yes. First and foremost, always do your homework before you go to the audition. Know what you're getting into by asking questions. As a dancer in the industry, that is your strongest suit. Know what product or brand the gig is for, and who you're dancing for, to see if it's a perfect match for you. Don't feel like you have to jeopardize your personal standards. If you come to the audition and you didn't realize the costume choice would be briefs and pasties, and you aren't comfortable with that, you'll have a problem. (If you are comfortable with that, more power to you!) But if not, just know that there will always be another job. They're always looking for all types of dancers!

Ashly and Buzz Aldrin on "Dancing with the Stars" Season 10 (courtesy Costa)

DS: Any last words of advice for our Dance Spirit Readers?

AC: Stay true to who you are, whoever that is.

I've never tried to be who I'm not supposed to be, and it's really paid off for me. I've still had an amazing career in the dance world and choosing not to wear certain costumes hasn't stopped me from becoming the person I'm supposed to be.


Next time you're asked to wear a costume that you're uncomfortable with, try Ashly's advice and communicate your concerns. It might really pay off!

Show Comments ()
Popular

Summer dance camp season will be here before you know it and you might be starting to wonder what you need to pack in your bag. Don't stress, we have 5 of the top must haves for camp this summer!

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer to Dancer
n RWS Entertainment Group Audition (courtesy RWS Entertainment Group)

Figuring out how to avoid getting cut in a musical theater audition can feel like a mystery. "It's not just about your technique, it's about the whole package of the person," says Justin Bohon, a casting director at Binder Casting, whose clients include The Lion King on Broadway. But how do you present yourself in the best way possible, and avoid making a faux pas that distracts from what's most important—your dancing? Bohon and three other casting directors gave us the scoop on their biggest audition pet peeves.

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer to Dancer
Tracie Stanfield's company, SynthesisDANCE performing at the 2017 Young Choreographer's Festival (Photo by Jaqi Medlock, courtesy Young Choreographer's Festival)

Whether it's for a gig at school, a community theater production, or just for fun, the first time you choreograph a dance can be both exhilarating and intimidating. The Young Choreographer's Festival is a platform that helps choreographers ages 18-25 gain experience by giving them a platform to present their work. The festival gives the newcomers a chance to grow as artists as they receive feedback from some of the best in the business. We caught up with eight established choreographers, artistic directors, and instructors who will be mentoring at this year's YCF, to find out what mistakes new choreographers should be aware of when they take on their first choreographic project and—how to avoid them.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

We caught up with former Rockette Trina Simon at Showstopper's Myrtle Beach dance convention to get her expert advice on how to work as a professional dancer. Trina's work on Broadway has given her insight into the key things to focus on as a professional dancer looking for jobs and making a name for yourself, whether you are new to the world of professional dance or you have been making your way from one audition to the next for a while.

Keep reading... Show less
Just for Fun
Including, of course, Center Stage (Screenshot via Vimeo)

Dance in movies is a trend as old as time. Movies like The Red Shoes and Singin' in the Rain paved the way for Black Swan and La La Land; dancing stars like Gene Kelly and Ginger Rogers led the way for Channing Tatum and Julianne Hough.

Lucky for us, some of Hollywood's most incredible dance scenes have been compiled into this amazing montage, featuring close to 300 films in only seven minutes. So grab the popcorn, cozy on up, and watch the moves that made the movies.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance News
Unsurprisingly, Season 1 winners Les Twins have had a pretty epic year. (NBC)

"World of Dance" Season 2 is in full swing, introducing us to a new crop of jaw-dropping talents—and reuniting us with a few of the stars of Season 1, including 15-year-old dynamo Eva Igo. But what have our other Season 1 faves (Les Twins! KynTay! Swing Latino!) been up to since their big TV moment? Here's where they are now.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance News
The West End revival cast of CATS (courtesy DKC/O&M)

Raise your hand if you grew up watching the classic 1998 film version of CATS repeatedly. Like, until the VHS tape came off its tracks/the DVD was hopelessly scratched. 🖐🖐🖐😻😻😻

Well, fellow Jellicle obsessives, get excited: A new film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's iconic musical is in the works. And it'll feature brand-spanking-new choreography by Royal Ballet resident choreographer Wayne McGregor. And the search for dancers to fill those famous unitards is basically happening RIGHT NOW. (Paging Georgina Pazcoguin, Eloise Kropp, Ricky Ubeda, and all the other veterans of the recent Broadway revival!)

Keep reading... Show less
Dancer to Dancer
n RWS Entertainment Group Audition (courtesy RWS Entertainment Group)

Figuring out how to avoid getting cut in a musical theater audition can feel like a mystery. "It's not just about your technique, it's about the whole package of the person," says Justin Bohon, a casting director at Binder Casting, whose clients include The Lion King on Broadway. But how do you present yourself in the best way possible, and avoid making a faux pas that distracts from what's most important—your dancing? Bohon and three other casting directors gave us the scoop on their biggest audition pet peeves.

Keep reading... Show less

Sponsored

Want to Be on Our Cover?

covermodelsearch-image

Video

Sponsored

mailbox

Get Dance Spirit in your inbox

Sponsored