About Coach Erin

Erin is a 17 year veteran dance team coach in Minnesota. A 3 time MADT coach of the year (2009, 2010, 2014) and winner of 2 state championships in high kick with the Cannon Falls Bomber Dance Team. In high school Erin danced for Winona and Apple Valley high schools. Erin is a nationally known blogger, writing for the Radio City Rockettes and a Hollywood movie among other projects. Erin also teaches on a freelance contractor basis for many MN high school teams and can be contacted for date/time availability at mnhsdanceteam@gmail.com


Costume Trends – Part 2

Today we’re bringing you part 2 of our guest series on costume trends.  We’ll have 2 more articles on costuming and what’s going on this year on a weekly basis for July!  Keep checking back for more ideas and info.  Happy Summer!  (finally)


Silhouette, Inspiration & Theme Trends in Minnesota Dance Team Costumes & Uniforms 7-5-13

© Deborah Nelson/Head Designer for Satin Stitches Ltd.


After discussing Fabric and Trim Trends, previously, I’d like to discuss trends in Silhouettes, Inspirations and Themes for High School dance teams, as you prepare for your upcoming season.

At Satin Stitches, we have already worked with High School dance teams to create new, unique, custom team uniforms and costumes. We always see a great variety of inspirations, but sometimes we start to see a pattern or a trend with our client’s requests.

We design both very intricate designs and also some very simple designs, depending on our customer’s vision. It’s best to remember that fabulous, fun costumes and uniforms don’t need to be expensive to be effective. But they do need to be well designed and fit your team, correctly.

Basic silhouettes for High School dance costumes include a top (or leotard) to be worn with a basic pant or short, a dance dress (A-Line is currently most popular), a one-piece jumpsuit, or a skirted biketard.

Having been in business for 35 years, and having specifically worked with High School dance teams for the last three decades, I’ve seen many trends come and go. In the 80’s and 90’s, the dance dress reigned supreme, starting out as more of an A-Line silhouette with a bare minimum of sequin trim accents, to the fully sequined dress with full, fluffy skirt, and then back to the sleek A-Lined ‘Panel dress’ sometimes with shoulder pads (which yes, are coming back – as an option).

When everything that could possibly be done with a dress ebbed in popularity, the leotard or top with pants (or a one-piece jumpsuit with the same look) took over. Now we’ve seen decades of color-blocked tops, most always paired with basic black jazz pants for kick performances. It has been so refreshing to see an outfit in a bright color such as all red or blue, or even in all white, but rare.

And along the way, came the urge for themed costuming, ushering in a ‘new era’ of shopping at inexpensive catalogs for inexpensive options for the new costumes that were never intended to be worn for more than one season! Competitive teams soon discovered that even with a one-seasoned costume, sometimes it was necessary for some unique, costume designing to set their team apart from the rest.

So, as we move forward with either color-blacked kick options or sassy jazz costuming, now teams have the silhouette dilemma! Will kicks look better with skin-toned legs or black legs? Will sheer mesh and chiffon skirts or draped sections on biketards provide the correct ‘look’ for their jazzy performances? How can they design costumes that ‘conform’ to the current norm, but not look like everybody else?

And what about the threatened (or real) loss of points if there is too much ‘cheek’ showing on the briefs of their costumes? Could this be part of the reason for the sustaining of the biketard trend?

Biketards are here to stay, at least for another few years. I would say it is the most popular silhouette, right now. At Satin Stitches, we created our first custom biketards for several dance teams, back in the mid-90’s, highlighted by a fully sequined gold biketard with black sequin trim for St. Cloud Tech in 1994.

Many classic biketard styles were custom-created for fashion-forward teams such as Brainerd and Irondale at that time. These specific biketard uniforms are still being worn today, and still look incredibly stylish!

Currently, we are creating many skirted, or partially skirted biketards with added drapes and loose fabric embellishments for a more interesting biketard silhouette, specifically for lyrical performances.

One-piece jumpsuits have been around for years, as well, with many emulating the color-blocked kick look, while others incorporate themes, such as ‘Jasmine’ or ‘Court Jester’ or ‘Band Uniform’. These costumes can incorporate the kick jacket or top with the basic pant, all in one, for a smoother look, rather than with separates.

Broadway musicals always add inspiration for competition performances, with classics such as Phantom of the Opera or Wicked, or newer productions such as “Bring it On” or ”Pippin”. Anywhere you find music that can be adapted for a kick or jazz routine, there is visual inspiration for costumes.

‘Pop’ singers such as Lady GaGa or Beyonce always inspire ‘copycat’ costuming, as well as current, classic or classical music. Any current fashion trend can inspire dance costuming, as well.

I won’t divulge what we are designing for our clients, this summer, but we always enjoy doing something out of the ordinary for our Minnesota High School dance teams, so let your imagination run wild, and we’ll see if we can create a suitable team costume out of it!



Minnesota High School Dance Team Online All content property of Erin Kruesi (c) 2012. For entertainment purposes only.