Corsets Are NOT Good for Dancing

Halloween is only days away. I’m really looking forward to handing out candy this year as I now live in a real, honest-to-God neighborhood with children in it. I saw them biking and drawing on the sidewalk all summer, so I’m positive that by the end of Halloween night my candy bowl will be empty. Unlike last year when I ate myself sick on Milk Duds and then brought the Milky Way and Snickers mini bars to work.

This year is going to be a real Halloween. And what a real Halloween means to me, besides handing out candy to munchkins is dancing. It’s just not Halloween without a Halloween dance. And this coming weekend I’ll have opportunities for at least two costume dances.

Crap. What’s my costume going to be?

I’m not all that creative when it comes to my costumes. I don’t make cardboard totem poles or elaborate hand-sewn octopus heads. Certain unnamed friends have been known to do so…and dance in them too. But I usually go for what’s easy and practical and dance-worthy. And sexy, darn it. I want to look sexy.

During my teenage years I took ballet, tap, jazz, and hula and acquired an array of cheap and colorful costumes. Many of them have seen reuse on Halloween. In particular, I’ve reworn my red and black “Spanish” costume quite a bit. It’s supposed to make me look like a flamenco dancer. Or at least the ballet version of a flamenco dancer. What it really makes me look like is a cross between vampire Ester Williams and a wild west saloon girl. I know. Awesome, huh?

But one can’t wear a costume like that every year. And last year at Halloween all of my costumes were still packed away in boxes from my recent move. So what’s a girl to do? Especially when she has failed to plan? She does something stupid.

At GenCon in 2009 I succumbed to temptation and bought a really awesome corset. It was red leather with these nifty brass steam punk clasps on the front. It gave me an enticing waistline and actual boobs. Those of you who know me know that, for the most part, I like being flat chested because it means I can exercise without a binding sports bra. But Halloween is one of those times when a girl wants some bazooms. And this corset gave them to me. It was really, really hot.

The problem is that corsets aren’t made for dancing. Once laced in properly, you can’t really breath deeply. It also limits your mobility, especially through your back.

I arrived at the dance and, for about 15 minutes, tried to enjoy myself while wearing the corset. But what I found out is that the ability to breathe deeply while dancing is important. And so is mobility through your spine.  Without the ability to breathe deeply, I found that I became fatigued very quickly. And without being able to bend and twist my spine in accustomed ways, I found that I was frequently off balance and moved stiffly.


The corset was soon removed and my energy and balance returned. Lesson learned. Darn it.

Sort of.

I found another really cute corset at GenCon this year. A black under-bust number. It’s not as stiff  as the red leather one corset. And, fool that I am, I’m thinking of breaking it out for Halloween. I’ve got a really cool pseudo-Victorian skirt with a fake bustle to wear with it too. It would be so cute. And yes, sexy. But am I going to be dumb enough to try it again?


I’ll bring an extra costume along  just in case.

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