Costuming for Primary School Dance Groups – the Dos and Don’ts

Primary school students in various costumes, on stage at Combined Schools Concert in Sydney

As performance season approaches here at Groove HQ, we find ourselves buried in mountains of tulle, sequins, lycra and all things glittery!

This has got us thinking about costuming for Primary School dance and the unique challenges this poses. There’s much more to consider than just aesthetics and, in this post, we explore the challenges of finding appropriate, budget-friendly costumes with enough coverage, as well as, grooming, makeup, and the inclusivity of gender-diverse students.


In a current dance studio world where tiny, two-piece, bedazzled costumes at eye-watering costs are considered the norm, we know the task of finding appropriate costumes for children’s school dance performances within a budget can be quite daunting! We’ve put together some considerations to help you when choosing costumes:

Coverage and appropriateness: When selecting costumes for primary school students, it’s essential to ensure they offer ample coverage, complement the theme or storyline, and can accommodate a diverse range of sizes within each dance group, spanning from small children’s sizes to larger adult sizes.

Things to avoid and catering for cost: Avoid the use of sheer mesh inserts or leotard-only bottoms and manage the additional costs associated with providing more coverage, especially for ‘custom’ costumes for boys to match the girls. Addressing style elements that require adjustments may also help to avoid alteration fees (or at least the surprise of them).

Allow plenty of time and plan ahead: Here at Groove Nation, considerable time is devoted to measuring students, researching styles, ordering costumes, bagging costumes, writing hair and makeup notes, conducting dress rehearsals and addressing any faults (thankfully we have an in-house sewing machine!).  Don’t leave costuming to the last minute, getting a head start is the key to success.

Despite the many challenges, being mindful of these factors when designing or selecting costumes can lead to cost savings and alleviate potential issues when it comes to costuming for your dance groups.


Grooming plays a crucial role in the display of dance groups. The aim is to present with confidence while ensuring student comfort. For primary school dancers, grooming should be approached with sensitivity to age-appropriate practices and individual preferences. Here are some dos and don’ts for you to consider:

Hair: Hairstyles should accommodate movement without distractions. For students with longer hair, slicked back upstyles are the way to go. Having the right supplies – like elastics the same colour as the student’s hair or water spray and hairspray together to keep the hair slick and smooth, are the trick.

Nail Polish, Earrings and Temporary Tattoos: all ‘no-go’s’ for school dance performances. You don’t want to be seeing any watches, fitness trackers or anklets either. All of these can not only be dangerous to wear when performing but also distract the eye from what we want to be looking at – the fabulous dance!

Undergarments: having skin toned undergarments is a great trick for consistent team appearance and ensuring the comfort of all dancers.


Makeup can enhance stage presence and helps the faces of dancers be seen under bright stage lights. However, in the context of primary school dance, moderation and age-appropriateness are key! Here’s our tips for using makeup in primary school dance performances:

Natural Look: opt for minimal makeup, focusing on enhancing natural features rather than heavy applications. Tinted moisturisers, lip balms, and light blush can add a touch of colour without overwhelming young faces.

Safety First: choose hypoallergenic and non-toxic makeup products suitable for sensitive skin. Ensure proper removal of makeup after performances to prevent skin irritation.

Consent and Choice: respect students’ autonomy and parental choice by allowing them to opt-out of wearing makeup if they’re uncomfortable or have personal objections. Encourage open communication and provide alternative options for those who prefer not to wear makeup.

Inclusivity of Gender-Diverse Students

In creating dance costumes and grooming guidelines, it’s essential to foster an environment of inclusivity where all students feel seen, respected, and valued. Here’s how to ensure inclusivity for your students:

Gender-Neutral Options: Offer costume choices that aren’t tied to traditional gender norms. Allow students to select attire that aligns with their gender identity or personal preferences, whether it’s skirts, pants, or other garments.

Flexible Policies: Implement grooming policies that accommodate all expressions of gender. Avoid gendered language or expectations in dress codes and allow students the freedom to express themselves authentically.

Education and Awareness: Educate staff, students, and parents about gender diversity and inclusion. Foster a culture of acceptance and celebration of individual differences, emphasizing empathy, respect, and understanding.

Consultation and Collaboration: Involve students in the decision-making process regarding costumes and grooming practices. Solicit feedback and create opportunities for dialogue to ensure that all voices are heard and respected.


To sum things up, primary school dance costuming goes beyond aesthetics; it’s about creating a supportive and inclusive environment where every child can shine. By prioritising practices that promote comfort and confidence, we can celebrate the uniqueness of all students both on and off the stage.

Outsource your dance performance to Groove Nation and let us take care of your costuming needs 😉