The Eyes Have It…

Three recent New York Times pieces by Alastair Macaulay have critiqued the use of eye makeup by different New York City Ballet dancers. It’s an interesting topic and fair game for reviews since it’s an artistic element…

“As the Sylph, Ms. Hyltin’s only shortcoming is that she could use slightly stronger eye makeup. Her head looks particularly beautiful in the sylph headdress, but, though she certainly uses her eyes, their outlines are almost invisible.”

Review: New York City Ballet Performs Bournonville Classics at Spring Gala,  May 9, 2015

“Ms. Laracey should revise her eye makeup, which emphasizes the line of her eyes in closure but not their shape when open; few ballets make this matter more.”

Review: ‘Liebeslieder Walzer’ and ‘Tschaikovsky Suite No. 3,’ Balanchine Couples Baring Their Souls, Oct 2, 2015

“In most roles, she wears more eye makeup than any other dancer onstage. This works for her: Her eyes aren’t large, but she uses them well — her audience is seldom left in any doubt where her gaze is directed, and that gaze often seems to smolder or even burn. That strong use of maquillage is part of the striking element of Romantic self-dramatizing in her stage personality.”

Sara Mearns, in Her Prime at City Ballet, Inspires Debate and Awe, June 25, 2015

Do you think of eye makeup as an integral part of a dancer’s artistic presentation? If you’re a dancer, how do you do your eye makeup? Would you change your style of makeup if a reviewer suggested you should?


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