A costume is the clothing worn by a dancer when performing before an audience. A dance costume may be custom designed for use in a specific dance work, or it may have a traditional design, such as those used in some ceremonial and folk dances. Typically, dance costumes are designed to harmonize with the dance and not hinder the movements of the dancer.Costume color can be used isolate a dancer, and a costume's colors usually contrast with the lighting, accessories and props used in the dance. Also, color can influence audience emotions and, as a result, costume colors may be chosen according to their relevance to the emotions expressed in the dance. For example, violet may impart a cold feeling and red may evoke a warm feeling.
Colors can also be symbolic; for example, green creates a feeling of envy and white evokes purity. Costumes will sometimes incorporate layers of colors that are revealed when the dancer moves.
Costume colors may be used to enhance body line and form, and they may be chosen to complement the dancer's body shape or skin color. Darker colors can make the dancer appear slimmer, whereas lighter colors tend to make the dancer appear larger. Loud prints or bold color combinations are often avoided as they can distort the body lines and, in the case of tights, tend to make the dancer look larger. Also, strong, intense colors may tire the eyes. Color transitions are often implemented using gradients, as sharp color contrasts tend to visually chop the body into sections.