How Can Dancers Cover Tattoos For Recitals?

Dancers have that unique presence about them; poised individuals with elegance and class and an eye-catching stage demeanor. In earlier times, it wasn’t typical for society to seeing dancers with tattoos on their bodies.

Still, as time progressed, people became more comfortable expressing themselves by displaying artwork on their skin. And, while tattoos are accepted in society today, dancers are still required to cover them up during recitals.

Dancers have just as much freedom to have tattoos on their bodies as does everyone else. However, it can get pretty tricky to cover them up for every recital. Some Master dancers will allow their dancers to show their tattoos during practice, while others require them to cover them fully for performances.

Until recent times, dancers having tattoos were considered taboo. While they always had tattoos, the traditional guidelines kept the dancers limited to where in the body they could have their tattoo so that it wouldn’t reveal.

Since ballet costumes have become more revealing over the years and society has become more adapt to the idea of dancers having tattoos, these guidelines have become outdated. Nowadays, when dancers plan on getting some ink done, they think of places where it’s easier for them to hide the tattoo according to their costumes.

Dancers with tattoos are more prone to getting judged by their appearance for their artwork by their choreographers and their costume designers. Depending on the personal views of the decision-makers can cost the dancers to get hired or chosen for recitals.

However, a few superior status dancers have flaunted their tattoos on stage in recent years, presuming their status will allow individuals to accept their tattoos without receiving any judgment. The reality is that tattoos have become more acceptable by society, and soon we will see them become more common in our dancers.

Depending on the contract they sign for dance companies, it can include specific guidelines for their appearance. The contract can consist of rules for hair, nails, tattoos, and piercings; this can make it tricky for the dancer if they already have tattoos in certain body areas, limiting their freedom to choose where they want their art to show.

These dance guidelines are that the companies thrive for their dancers’ movements and costumes to speak independently without having tattoos throwing mixed signals to the audience.

When it comes to contemporary dance, companies allow tattoos to be visible as this type of dance is more modern and allows for dancers to show self-expression without having that old-fashioned stereotypical mindset when it comes to tattoos.

How to Cover Your Tattoo

The type of design and its size is also something that individuals consider to determine what’s suitable to flaunt and what’s not allowed to show in performances. Tattoos get seen as a distraction that can distract the dancer’s performance and contradict what they portray.

Places like the arm, bikini, neck legs, and arms are the hardest to hide, especially for dancers, since their dancewear is very thin and doesn’t cover much. Luckily, there are many ways of covering up tattoos to avoid judgment and delays during their recitals. That said, with dancers having to move around a lot, jump, lift and catch, it can make covering tattoos up a tricky subject.

Using the old band-aid trick is always helpful if the tattoo is small, but again, as a dancer, you don’t want to have bandaids all over your body while performing as that can get distracting to the audience. 

Certain areas such as ankles can be easier to cover if the tattoo is minimal since the toe shoe ribbons cover that area. Say they have palm-sized tattoos in the bikini area or your arms; covering it up with makeup is possible, except you’ll be wasting lots of money on makeup pretty often, and removing the stains on your costume can become a hassle.

In dance companies they usually have makeup artists to help their dancers get ready for their shows, and this covers concealing tattoos which can take them anywhere from 20-40 minutes to cover up the tattoos of just one dancer. And while it takes time to get them all covered, this is a good way of concealing the artwork during recitals.

Some dancers wear sleeves if they have any tattoos on their arms. Still, sleeves can also be distracting since even the closest color to your skin tone will not be exact, and everyone can see that the sleeve is covering something up, which can also get distracting during a performance. Also, sleeves can stretch and roll down or slip off during the recital, which isn’t ideal for their shows. 

Many dancers will agree that latex spray paint seems the better option for those looking to cover up their tattoos. I know it sounds crazy, but a lot of dancers swear by this option. You would grab several matte tones, such as tans, olives, and browns, and start spraying the tattooed area. This solution blends in better and will not rub off the costume no matter how much you move and sweat in it. Once the performance is complete, you grab some paint clean-up wipes and rub the paint off.

Now for this option, you have to be careful as many individuals have a latex allergy, so try it out on a tiny spot first to check for adverse reactions before spraying the whole section. Also, make sure you grab the latex paint, as other types of paint are permanent, and you don’t want that.


Dancers are free to choose whichever option they feel is best for them and their type of dance routine to ensure a successful cover-up. Like any other profession, some individuals will accept it, and some will have the more conserved mindset, and that’s okay.

Everyone is entitled to opinions on the subject and views on tattoos, and remember that having tattoos does not take anything away from dancers. They are still the skillful, hardworking individuals we admire for their stunning performance and the emotions they portray with every movement.

Special thanks to the writers at for helping with this article. Check out their site to learn more about dancing, cheer and gymnastics.