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“That Stinkin’ Skunk Has Skills”, Ballet Cosplay: Part 1

Making this costume was just one of the adventures I took on last week.

Whew, this last week has been a busy one. Our entire family is involved in the ballet recital, “Snow White”, and it’s been either ballet practice or recital rehearsal almost every day of the week. It’s truly a family affair; we each have a part in the play:

  • Rob is Snow White’s father. It is quite a role and he is kickin’ ass! He actually has the biggest role in the ballet of all the family.
  • I play a “tree”; it sounds strange, but it’s a fun part. We scare Snow White when she runs into the woods (it’s all in her imagination), then we end up being friendly and help her. I also get to dance the waltz with Rob at Snow White’s wedding at the end of the ballet.
  • Jude is a butterfly. She has to be the most “ballerina-like” of all of us since butterflies are graceful and delicate.
  • Scout and Briar, our twins, won the role of frogs. They get their own cute song.
  • Zoë actually got to choose her character. The instructor knew that Zoë could do a back handspring and wanted to incorporate that into her character’s part. So what forest animal did Zoë pick? A skunk! Her character is happy-go-lucky and bound to win the heart of the audience.

Why am I telling you about our busy ballet schedule? Well, during the part assignments, I volunteered my sewing skills and said that I would create the skunk and frog costumes.

The skunk design was pretty easy to pull off once I settled on the design: a black leotard with a detachable tail, a cap, and black leggings. I was worried about the tail bouncing all around while she was doing her skunk-y jig and how it might affect her back handspring, but she has tested it out and is able to do the dance and back handspring while it is on so my fears were without merit.

No stage costume is complete without stage make-up.

I’m not sure why she picked to be a skunk, but I like it! Skunks rule! Let’s geek out on some skunk facts…

  • Skunks have very poor eyesight, but they can hear well and have a good sense of smell (ironically). This fact, combined with their crepuscular activity and slow, lumbering stride is why skunks are unfortunately seen/smelled as roadkill fairly frequently.
  • Skunks can live to about 1-3 years in the wild, but can reach the ripe old age of 15 in captivity.
  • They are omnivores, predators, and scavengers who fearlessly consume pretty much anything, including snakes and honeybees.
  • A skunk can spray up to 8-10 times before they run out and it takes a week or so for the anal-scent-gland to reload. They save it for only the most pressing occasions. It can spray the noxious liquid up to 10 feet. Its smell can reach upwards of 1 mile.
  • If you have an unfortunate encounter with a skunk and you get, well…skunked, whatever you do: don’t go inside! You will track in the stink along with you and everything you come in contact with will get contaminated, so stay outside, curse the world, and yell for help.
  • And no tomato juice! It doesn’t work. According to Animal Planet’s website, “mix one quart of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide, one teaspoon mild dish washing detergent, and 1/4 cup baking soda in a bucket. Lather, rinse, repeat.”
  • The spray contains sulfur and can cause temporary blindness, so if you get sprayed in the eyes rinse your eyes and face with water and then ask yourself how you got into this situation in the first place…maybe you were asking for it.
  • If you get bitten then it’s time to see the doctor, because skunks usually don’t bite unless they have rabies.
  • Seriously, keep it simple and don’t mess with skunks!
Dandelion time! Is there one among us who hasn’t done this?
Picking dandelion stems.

Making this costume gave me the confidence boost I needed in my sewing skills. I went on to create the twins’ frog costumes with my new found costume making abilities. I will cover their costumes in the next week’s post!

That tail was fun to make and Zoë was ecstatic when she saw it. I have a Velcro attachment at its base and one also three-quarters up the tail so it stays attached to her securely and without getting in her way, but it still has a bit of freedom to move and bounce along with her dance. Since it is Velcro, we can remove it with ease when she isn’t practicing or on stage.

Oh, and Zoë also knows what she’s going to be for Halloween. Can you guess?

Don’t forget to take time to smell the tiny little flowers.

Gigi Chickee

All photos are taken by me, Gigi Chickee, unless otherwise noted. Photography Correspondent here at Mad Art Lab. Wife to my gorgeous husband, Rob. Mother to my four girls. Proud Secular Homeschooler. Photographer when the occasion arises. Seamstress in training. Skeptic always. Follow me and my musings on Twitter: @gigichickee

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