A Gainesville dance studio is offering people the opportunity to buy costumes before Halloween without breaking the bank.
Award-winning dance studio Dance Alive National Ballet will be holding its 20th annual Great Halloween Costume Sale on four separate dates in the coming weeks. The sale will take place Sept. 26 and Oct. 3 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Sept. 27 and Oct. 4 from 9 a.m. to noon.
Judy Skinner, the studio’s executive administrator and choreographer, said the costumes will be sold for $5 to $10 in both children and adult sizes. She said attendees will have an array of stage costumes to choose from — including jumpsuits, hip-hop costumes and tutus — but that many are themed around fictional characters.
Out of the 100 to 150 costumes, Skinner said some have never been worn. The studio’s warehouse is nearly full of used and unused costumes, because it normally donates the costumes to schools in Latin and South America, but wasn’t able to this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The costumes will be sold in the parking lot behind the studio’s warehouse, where visitors can maintain social distancing.
The sale is normally held in the dance studio space, but organizers want to limit people’s contact with its students this year. Masks aren’t required but are encouraged even though “huge” numbers of people aren’t anticipated, Skinner said.
“We need to protect the students,” she said. “It just makes sense.”
Funds from the sale will be used to support Dance Alive’s educational programs and its student performing group, The Next Generation. It will also benefit the studio’s use of venues, as places like the Phillips Center have reduced the number of people allowed to attend shows.
These shows include those like the studio’s program Dance Partners, which Skinner said provides thousands of tickets to those underserved in the community, like veterans and the elderly, each year.
“Our mission is to provide for those that can’t,” she said.
The costumes being sold often cost over $100 originally, said the studio’s director of marketing Linda Rocha. Most major ballet companies in the U.S. have canceled their seasons, Rocha said, while Dance Alive is trying to adapt and continue its performances for its 54th season.
This season will open this Friday with the Meet The Dancers performance, which has always been the studio’s first of the season, she said. This year, it will take the dancers offstage and onto the Holiday Inn University Center’s rooftop.
The audience will be seated outdoors in masks, spread out and limited to four people per group, she said. The event will carry into the sale, which begins the next day and supports efforts like it as the season continues.
Rocha stressed the importance of supporting the arts in a time where many outlets are either closing or going online.
“Everybody’s sort of virtual-ed out at this point,” she said. “We’re trying very hard to create events and performances that people can actually go to and still feel safe.”