What to Wear In Dance Class
by Barbara Denise Files
Recreational skaters usually wear street clothes on the ice. Even though they don't follow a strict dress code, they learn what kinds of clothing keeps them warm and dry at the rink.
More serious skaters wear clothing designed for figure skating. It's not just a fashion statement. Skatewear is designed to enhance your warm-up, your practice and cool down sessions. The apparel is the appropriate weight and consists of fibers that keep you dry and comfortable on the ice. Also, skatewear is cut to fit your body, yet allow you freedom of movement.
Similar to skatewear, dancewear is designed to enhance your performance, keep your comfortable, and keep you safe in dance class. It fits your body closely so you and your dance instructor may check your posture and see your body lines clearly. Professional dancewear also avoids things such as large buttons, heavy metal zippers or hooks that may fly in your face during class.
For ballet class, dancers wear a leotard and tights. (Men often substitute a dance shirt of snug fitting t-shirt for the leotard.) Some dancers prefer the look and convenience of an "all in one" unitard. Ballet slippers with elastic straps complete the basic dance outfit.
Many students are unfamiliar with the proper look and fit of a ballet slipper. It should be sized to fit your biggest toe. Laces may be tied and hidden away by tucking them under the front of your ballet slipper.
Some ballet slippers are designed with a distinct right and left foot. However, most ballet slippers come with a rounded toe design. You'll see how your ballet slippers fit more comfortably and wear longer when you rotate them from your right to left foot each class.
Everything else is optional. Accessories include chiffon dance skirts, dance shorts and legwarmers. Chiffon is a common fabric for dance skirts because it is light and allows the dancer to move freely. If permitted by the instructor, dance shorts should allow the skater and dance instructor to see and evaluate the skater's posture and body lines. Many instructors limit the use of legwarmers to the first half of class...until the student's muscles warm up.
What NOT to Wear to Dance Class
Jewelry is the biggest culprit. Necklaces or earrings may swing around in the air, snag on your dancewear, or scratch you during class. Rings are a problem, especially if you work with a partner. Simplicity works best in the dance studio.