To cite Brian Dowling, of the Dancing With The Stars podcast, “I’m within the studio”.

Sure, it’s Sunday afternoon and solid and crew of DWTS are making ready for gown rehearsal and sound examine.

The banter is audible from hair and make-up the place tables are laden with curling tongs, merchandise, make-up palettes and brushes whereas the workforce places ultimate touches to the dancers who’re already absolutely made up although it’s not but 2pm.

“We think about the eyes — the attention is the actual signature look of the make-up,” says head of make-up Mary Drummond.

“Right this moment, for instance, I’ve Brooke (Scullion) who’s carrying a Cinderella blue gown and Laura who’s carrying a vivid pink jumpsuit — so I have in mind the individual’s face, what they’re carrying and what they’ve worn in earlier weeks. Lighting must be thought of in addition to the coiffure — I can’t have hair sticking to a shiny lip. The gown rehearsal permits us to see if the look will work for the stay present.”

The dance determines the search for the male dancers.

“When they’re doing the Pasodoble the lads put on eyeliner and we darken up their beard for a dramatic look,” Drummond explains, brandishing her brush.

“It’s largely about grooming and skincare and ensuring they don’t look too pale below the lights.”

Movie star dancer Carl Mullan in make-up with Mary Drummond. Carl and his companion, Emily Barker, danced the short step final Sunday.

One dancer within the make-up chair is Carl Mullan.

“My health ranges have gone approach up … In case you’d advised me in week one which Emily (Barker) would have been capable of get me to a spot the place I might do the dances I can do now I might not have believed you,” he says affably.

Mullan believes folks like to see the journey that the celebrities go on and the way they develop.

“Emily has been so supportive and inspiring,” he says of his dance companion.

“It’s such an intense bubble that you simply type of don’t imagine it’s you. I feel it’ll solely be in just a few months that I’ll look again on the expertise and assume ‘That was mad!’”


Skilled dancer Laura Nolan placing the ultimate touches on earlier than performing.

Over on the hair station Brooke Scullion is having her hair curled into waves. “I’m very grateful to be right here after being within the dance off with Panti — it was very tough to say goodbye to my good friend,” she says.

“Final week was one of many highest strain conditions I’ve ever been in. I used to be crying full tears and needed to go on to do the dance-off.”

Have dances been getting simpler as time has gone on?

“When you get fitter, you are able to do tougher routines, so you’re consistently having to push your self. In case you go up in a single space it’s important to go up within the different,” she says.

With over 30 years on the earth of hairdressing, Carolann Mcguirk is chargeable for the hair on DWTS. Ideas are despatched to her every Wednesday and every little thing is meticulously deliberate — however plans can to alter generally and timing is every little thing.

“We frequently have simply minutes to alter a method,” she says. “Tv work may be very completely different to salon work — it’s important to transfer shortly, make quick choices and know the tips of the commerce. It’s continuous.”

Regardless of the continuous nature of TV, behind the scenes is remarkably calm. The stage is a glittering field arrange in the midst of an enormous studio. It’s like a portal to a glamorous world outdoors of which props, the costume division, sound tools and even the catering space lie.

As soon as on set nevertheless, you’re transported to a world the place seats are gold, lights glisten and tables await their company. It’s apparent the 160-strong workforce engaged on the present retains it working like an American clean.

Watching the dancers up shut reveals each sinew within the arm, each foot place, each over-exaggerated facial features. This proximity to the dancers is vital to the judges, in fact, however Brian Redmond, Arthur Gourounlian, and head choose Loraine Barry don’t see the {couples} carry out their particular person dances in rehearsal. In reality, as a way to get timings proper, members of the manufacturing workforce sit in for the judges, curiously embodying their characters to good, usually comedian, impact.

Whereas the {couples} dance, the graphics burst into life on the screens, a big digital camera suspended over the dancefloor takes lengthy photographs whereas two nimble-footed digital camera operators skirt across the dancers for the shut ups. Nonetheless photographs of the performers are taken to be used within the media later and the hair, make-up, and costume groups fastidiously scrutinise every side of the rehearsal.


Niamh O’Connor is the thoughts behind the costumes on the set of ‘Dancing with the Stars’.

By way of costumes, every bit is customised to make it distinctive to DWTS.

“All our costumes are customised so they’re by no means the identical as different exhibits,” says costume designer Niamh O’Connor who has labored on DWTS for six years.

“We would change the skirt or the highest or add sequins or Swarovski crystals. We additionally make among the attire. Materials need to work properly with the graphics and the lights,” she explains. “And we use very vibrant colors you wouldn’t see in common shops or haberdasheries. They need to have a number of color content material for tv.”

Whereas the attire have to be each lovely and useful, the lads’s costumes contain greater than you would possibly assume.

“The bow tie must be stitched in, the shirt is on what’s like a pair of underpants to maintain it tucked in, the braces below the trousers are stitched in,” says O’Connor.

“As a result of it’s a stay TV present you’ll be able to’t cease recording if one thing falls off. For instance, we solely use sure earrings and all earrings need to have double or triple backs on them.”

In relation to outfits worn by presenters Jennifer Zamparelli and Doireann Garrihy, in addition to the judges, Fiona Fagan references each present developments and private type.

She says: “Styling for telly may be very completely different to styling for magazines. You want construction and tailoring. Materials can’t be too skinny or clear and you may’t actually use white or silver due to the lights.”

This season introduced extra of a problem for Fagan than earlier years as Garrihy changed Nicky Byrne on the present.

“It’s about differentiating the 2 presenters. Folks need to purchase the merchandise that they’re carrying too so it’s about placing them in issues that I like and younger funky manufacturers that individuals are going to need to put on.”

Fagan is on set every Saturday and Sunday.

“For Arthur this yr we’ve gone for fits, jewelry, and brooches on the lapels of the jacket. For Brian, it’s all a couple of go well with with a dickie bow, a basic look that fits his character.”

The present takes months of planning and every episode is labored on weeks prematurely.

“It’s like having a number of frying pans on the go without delay,” explains artistic director, Darren Bennett, backstage.


Skilled dancer, Kylee Vincent in make-up forward of the present. Kylee is and her companion, actor Damian McGinty, danced the rumba and earned a 29-point rating from the judges.

A former professional dancer on Strictly Come Dancing whose spouse, dancer and choreographer Lilia Kopylova, additionally works on DWTS, Bennett’s position contains devising every little thing from the general look of every quantity to the music and costumes to hair and make-up.

“This can be a very well-respected model of the present. Most exhibits around the globe have this scale and finances and what we do when it comes to the present — the wonderful manufacturing, graphics, lighting — it stands by itself,” says Bennett of the Irish present.

This yr’s DWTS is the closest he’s ever seen: “Previously now we have had celebrities with extra dance expertise and you recognize they’ll be within the ultimate, however this yr anybody might undergo or depart the present. It’s a bit cliched to explain everybody as a ‘dance household’ however it actually is like that — it’s so arduous to see folks go.”

Bennett says that, for the movie star dancers, DWTS goes approach past fancy footwork.

“It goes a lot deeper than studying the dance strikes. Having danced with six celebrities myself on Strictly, I can say that it’s in regards to the improvement of self consciousness — the arrogance that, after this, they will go and obtain something.”

Because the remaining {couples} take their ultimate turns tonight, audiences can stay up for dances showcasing what the {couples} have realized and been by means of prior to now 11 weeks in addition to a giant opening quantity that includes all of the returning celebrities.

Later, I catch James Patrice on the brink of hype up the studio viewers and go stay for DWTS on social media.

“I like the constant glitter and glamour from January to the top of March,” he says, “I like that everybody right here has the identical purpose, to supply a terrific present and to convey a little bit of pleasure and craic to the world every Sunday night time.”

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