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Guide to Ballet Dancewear

Ballet, Ballet Lessons In, Dress Codes, Pointe Shoes

It is important to dress appropriately for your ballet class-not wearing the correct ballet dancewear shows a lack of respect for the teacher, the class and the art of ballet. If you go to class without wearing appropriate ballet clothes, you will be effectively demonstrating how you aren’t serious about improving your ballet technique.

The ballet clothes used in ballet technique classes are chosen for a reason-they display your body lines in a way that allows instructors to see exactly what you are doing right and wrong. If you wear baggy sweats to ballet technique instead of ballet dancewear, your teacher will not be able to see if your stature and positioning are correct. And when your teacher doesn’t know what you need to fix, he or she can’t correct you, meaning that you will not have the guidance to help you improve your ballet technique.

Ballet dancewear required differs among dance studios and schools. Many ballet schools have dress codes for ballet technique classes, with specifications for color of ballet dancewear, or the preferred style of the ballet dance clothes. Other ballet technique classes give little guidance in correct ballet dancewear and leave the decision up to the students. Some schools will require only black leotards, while others allow other colors. Some places make dancers wear pink tights with their ballet dancewear, and others allow black tights, tan tights or even no tights.

In general, wearing a modest black leotard with long footed pink tights is safe for ballet technique class. Wearing a modest black leotard as dance clothes means that your leotard should not be low cut. There is no need for cleavage in ballet technique class. It is also best to have a leotard that will not ride up the back. Nothing is less pleasant than realizing you’ve spent all of your ballet technique class mooning the other students since you have a leotard wedgie. When you try on your ballet dancewear, try on the leotard with tights and do a few grande plies to make sure that your leotard stays put when you straighten your legs.

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It is best to wear footed pink tights with your ballet dancewear, and many dance schools require that you do so. Pink tights are an effective contrast against your black leotard but will not blend into the background as white tights seem to do. They show your legs effectively, which helps the instructor see your positioning and help you improve your ballet technique. Make sure your tights are full length-cut off tights and leggings only make your legs look short and bent.

Your ballet dancewear should be in good condition, with no holes in the tights or leotard, and no runs or frays in the tights. As mentioned above, ballet clothes should fit well-tights, but not so tight that your butt or cleavage are hanging out.

Keep accessories to a minimum because they have a tendency to distract yourself and others, and they often get in the way during ballet technique class. Don’t ever wear dangly earrings or hoop earrings-these can easily get caught in your hair or someone else’s and, believe it or not, rip your earlobe (I’ve seen it happen twice!). Your hair should be pulled back in a tight bun, or clipped back with bobby pins if it’s too short for a bun. Long bangs should also be pulled back. Use hairspray, gel, or mousse combined with a plethora of bobby pins to make sure that flyaways don’t end up in your face during ballet technique class.

In addition to donning the appropriate ballet dancewear and accessories, you should have the correct shoes for the class, and they should fit well. Your shoes should match the class you attend-most general ballet techinque classes only require demi pointe shoes, but pointe ballet technique classes require pointe shoes (obviously!). When in doubt, bring both types of shoes to class. Your shoes should be pink and should fit well both lengthwise and widthwise. When buying pointe shoes, this means having a professional fit them, as an ill-fitting pair of pointe shoes can be a disaster.

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In general, ballet dancewear should be simple and modest, but should also display the lines of your body. It is best to check with the dance studio or school and ask about dress codes for ballet clothes before attending ballet technique class-better safe than sorry!