FYI | Sequins and Sensitivity at Curtain Call

What’s up in the dance community

Which costume catalog would be representative of most studios’ student populations: one with images of pouty models in sensual poses or one showing dancers of various body shapes and sizes, skin tones, and abilities, wearing age-appropriate costumes and just being kids?

A young dancer models a Curtain Call costume, one of several in the company’s 2018 catalog certified by Y.P.A.D. to be sensitive to the needs of differently abled dancers.
Photo courtesy Curtain Call Costumes

Leslie Scott, founder of Youth Protection Advocates in Dance (Y.P.A.D.), a nonprofit dedicated to creating a healthy dance environment for children, told Dance Studio Life that the subject of healthy vs harmful images of young dancers was one of many subjects discussed this summer when York, Pennsylvania-based Curtain Call became the first Y.P.A.D. Certified costume company. Twenty-eight Curtain Call employees, from designers to photographers to executives, underwent extensive training that covered diversity and inclusion, creating a safe environment for children during photo shoots, creating costumes that work for dancers with sensory processing disorders, sexualization of children, body image and eating disorders, social media pressures, celebrity culture, psychology of fashion, and more.

Scott said the certification training was a first for both organizations, and she hopes other costume companies will follow Curtain Call’s lead. “Our goal is to establish standards of diversity and inclusiveness, and to get everyone talking about making healthy artistic choices,” she said.

In a press release, Tighe King, CEO of Curtain Call’s parent company Perform Group LLC, agreed. “We have always supported the importance of protecting children,” he said. “I am pleased to take this next step and educate our team members on understanding and protecting the emotional and physical well-being of dancers in all that we do.”