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General

Why is My Dancer Wearing That?

It’s no secret to the non-dancer some of our outfit choices are a bit peculiar. If you have a younger dancer you may see some of the older dancers running around the studio with one leg warmer on, or wearing a little elastic belt over her leotard. That leotard is pretty tight – there doesn’t seem to be a need for a belt. But, in actuality, there is a method to the dance apparel madness.

First, let’s look at the in-class attire. The dancewear of course depends on the style of the class. Tap class is going to allow much looser fitting attire than ballet class. Speaking of ballet, this is the strictest of the disciplines as far as attire goes. There is a reason for pink (or white) tights. The light color of the tights creates a more prominent shadow, therefore highlighting the muscles of the legs, and making it easier for teachers to give corrections. In a modern or jazz class, it’s likely that black tights are perfectly acceptable.

The reason for the tight-fitting leotard is pretty self-explanatory. It’s another tool that allows teachers to see the dancer’s body and movement more clearly so they can make the proper corrections. If you see the little elastic band around a dancer’s waist or hips, this is a tool for the teacher to check the hip placement of the dancer. It’s also a great tool for the dancer to self-correct by using the mirror. Many positions in ballet require hips to be level, so a brightly contrasting belt is very helpful.

Every dancer lovers her warm-ups. We wear them between classes and during the very beginning of class. We get to express our personality through legwarmer color choice, or a fun striped wrap sweater. They are called warm-ups because they aid in assuring that the muscles are warm and ready for movement, preventing injury. The girl wearing the one legwarmer probably has an injury to that area and wants to keep it warm and safe from further injury.

Rest assured, if your studio has a rather strict dress code, there is a reason for it. Just take advantage of those moments of dance fashion freedom and splurge on a new pair of funky legwarmers when you can!

What is the strangest thing you’ve seen dancers wearing at your studio? Share your story with us here!

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About amy

Amy Omernik is a dancer, choreographer, teacher, and active member of the dance community for the past 25 years – 10 of which were spent teaching. Amy received her BA in dance from Columbia College Chicago, and most recently was on faculty for a dance company based out of Southern California. She not only loves the All About Dance brand, but the wonderful community that comes with it.

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