5 Traditional Dance Masks to Inspire Your Next Dance Costume

Dance masks instantly add another dimension to any dance costume. There’s something liberating and freeing about putting on a mask and taking on another personality, no matter how temporary. Also, masks lend a flair of mystery to any getup, and this aura can do wonders for your performance.

Tradition on a Mission

Thinking of wearing a unique dance mask for your presentation but have no idea where to start? For starters, why not go down the traditional route?

You can never go wrong with infusing a touch of the other cultures into your dance routine. In fact, this can push your creativity to a degree, and you also increase cultural awareness to your audience.

Here are 5 traditional dance masks you can take inspiration from:

1. Tal from Korea

The tal mask from Korea is one of the most well-known traditional dance masks. It’s also referred to as chorani, gamyeon, talbagaji, and gwangdae. But did you know its use extends beyond the realm of dance?

Tal was used in war, during burial rites, for the commemoration of historical figures, in shamanistic rituals, and in the arts. Black cloth is sewn on the sides and back to resemble dark human hair.

For a modern twist to the tal, opt for this exotic silver cage-mouth mask, which has a half cut and shape similar to that of the tal.

2. Topeng from Indonesia

Indonesia takes pride in its topeng mask, a mask that dates back before Hindu-Buddhist influences penetrated the island. It is mainly used for dance narratives that tell of heroes, kings, and myths.

Topeng masks can be of Balinese, Cirebon, East Java, Jogja, Surakarta, and Betawi natures. Throw in a fresh and feminine twist to this mask by donning a crystal-encrusted mouth mask. It has the topeng mask’s mysterious aura but with a modern element added to it.

3. Carnival masks from Venice

No doubt about it, if there’s anything responsible for bringing the world of masks into the public consciousness, it has got to be Venetian carnival masks. Proof is when you ask someone to describe a dance mask, they’re likely to answer with a general description of said mask.

These masks have been around since the 13th century; you can’t deny the presence of history in them. Take your pick from a wild assortment of these masks. Since they come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and forms, you’re sure to find one that fits your dance performance and personality.

How about going for this purple feather Venetian mask to capture the festive feels of Venice’s 11-day carnival? Its hue will definitely put you in a royal mood, and the silver adornment gives off a sparkly, exciting vibe.

4. Carnival masks from Brazil

What’s a list of traditional dance masks without the world-renowned carnival masks from Brazil? On a par with Venetian carnival masks in terms of popularity, these Brazilian masks are also ubiquitous figures in the realm of dance masks.

Festivalgoers don them during the famous Rio carnival, a celebration that takes place a week before Lent. Interestingly, it was the lower-class festivalgoers who made these masks shoot up in popularity. The masks served as a contrast to the lavish parties thrown by the country’s aristocrat.

Channel the energy of the world-famous carnival by going for this sapphire-blue crystal carnival mask. Simple yet loud, it’s the perfect accessory for your equally loud and explosive dance number. Your audience will definitely love this one.

5. Junkanoo masks from the Bahamas

Experts still haven’t figured out when the Junkanoo festival of the Bahamas came to be, but one thing’s for sure: it’s home to some of the most colorful masks in the world.

As with the masks from Venice and Brazil, Junkanoo masks are intricate, bold, and festive. They too come in a wide assortment of colors, cuts, styles, and materials. Festival dancers wear these masks as part of a full-body costume, but of course, these can be also worn alone.

If in your dance performance your goal is to create an atmosphere that closely resembles the Junkanoo festival, then this silver-collar half mask is for you. Its spikes on the side are reminiscent of the tusked masks common during the occasion, so it’ll blend right in with your theme.

The mask is targeted toward males, but females too can wear this particular mask. In addition, its silver metallic sheen makes for a perfect base for additional adornment. You can add feathers, sequins, and other materials to fully incorporate the Junkanoo mood.

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