Taking your first ballet class? Ready to shop? Here are the top 8 things to remember when buying your dance gear:
1. Class requirements: In this article, we will be talking about what is generally acceptable to wear in a beginning level ballet class. For specific details on class requirements, talk to your dance teacher or check out your school’s website for more information.
Some schools may ask you to wear a specific color depending on your level. Others may prefer all dancers to wear only one brand of leotard. Hip alignment belts, footed vs. convertible tights, skirts vs. no skirts and warmups are other options that may or may not be allowed (see Accessories below). In general, for beginners, it’s important for the teacher to easily see your form. Consider wearing a plain solid colored leotard, footed dance tights and properly fitted ballet slippers unless you are directed otherwise when you sign up for class.
2. Shoes: ballet slippers are soft and flexible and are fitted to mold to your foot. These are not to be confused with pointe shoes. Pointe shoes have a sturdy shank that allow you to dance on the very tips of your toes. Only your teacher can make the call when you are advanced enough to get fitted for pointe shoes. Jazz shoes, hip-hop sneakers or bare feet are not ideal substitutes for ballet slippers.
3. Support: for most women, a bra is not usually necessary especially if the leotard fits well. For those who are more endowed, however, choose a bra or body liner for extra support on top. All men young and old should wear dance belts.
4. Top: leotard styles include camisole, tank, short sleeve and long sleeve. Try different styles in various materials. For the little ones, short sleeves are easiest to fit vs. camisole or tank styles. For adults, short sleeve or tank styles may allow you to wear your favorite bra. Ultimately, comfort is key. If you have the opportunity, try different materials, too (nylon vs. cotton vs. supplex).
5. Bottom: your options are many, however, many ballet teachers appreciate the opportunity to see your form. Dance tights made from a blend of breathable supplex or microfiber feel and look great in class. Pink is the classic ballet color. Footed tights are the favorite choice for beginners.
6. Hair: take care of your hair so that you don’t have to fuss with it during class. Pull it off your face and neck, and if it’s long enough, tie it back securely. Use hairspray, gel, bobby pins and hair nets as needed.
7. Accessories: Wrap sweaters, knit shorts, printed skirts, leg warmers, shrugs, stirrup tights, sweat-off shorts and full body jumpers are sometimes functional and most times fun. Especially when it comes to accessories, don’t forget to check in with your teacher before you buy.
8. What not to wear: heavy cologne or perfume and dangling jewelry are two definite no-no’s. And unless you’re in creative movement, pre-ballet or in rehearsal with a professional dance company, absolutely, positively no tutus. Same goes for that rhinestone tiara, my friend.
OK let’s go. Time to dance! 5…6…7…8!