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#1 Guest_prism_*

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Posted 25 January 2004 - 02:02 AM

I thought I'd start this discussion to try and centralize the sprinkling of questions found throughout the board to make it easier for new comers to find info and the more experienced to share tips on various dancewear that has worked well for their sons.

One thing I learned recently is that all tights are definately not created equal even when they say "dance" tights. My son is not required to wear tights at his current school although he was required in his first year he started out at another school. He recently needed tights and a white t-shirt for a performance he was in. The one store that carries "real" dance tights was out of stock. I figured I'd go to Wal-mart where many of the Moms buy "dance" tights for thier little girls. Found them in their little dancewear section - "opaque dance tights". Cool. He tried them on and there was nothing "opaque" about them - sheer to the waist!!!! This is fine for girls wearing them under the leotard but for a boy with nothing else but a dance belt - whoa! Luckily the others came in just in the nick of time. :yucky: They were exactly what we needed - OPAQUE and nice form fit. I think they were Capezio if memory serves correctly.

I thought other parents could share info about good tights/bad tights to save each other some grief. All I can say is that it was a good thing I had him try them on well in advance!

While Wal-mart blew it on the tights they carry, they hit it right on with the "black pants" which is my son's current requirement.

Omoni5 had asked about where to get such a thing in another forum. I didn't get to answer her there and hopefully she will see this here. I suppose you can find them online at some of the dancewear companies but our Wal-mart (which isn't really huge) gets them in every Fall. They don't restock them when they run out so I pick up several pairs in two different sizes in case he outgrows them in the current year. They are plain and fit like tights only much thicker and footless. I could also point you to "jazz pants" you mentioned but I would be really surprised if the teacher would really want those. They are cut differently and don't form to the leg so the teacher can't really see proper positioning and form.

The other question I have is regarding dance belts. Anyone know of a good resource?

#2 Mel Johnson

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Posted 25 January 2004 - 07:34 AM

Michele, the basic uniform worldwide for beginning subteen boys is black bike or rowing shorts (short inseam) with a fitted white short-sleeve top whether tee-shirt or leotard. White socks and white shoes complete the outfit. This is what the RAD and several other schools mandate or at least encourage for their young male students. After primary, then there's a switch to tights, and there's some subtle change in shoes and tops worked with each transition from grade to grade, but this is not absolutely necessary, and it does provide a morale boost for the boys, to have some "outward and visible manifestation of change".

Dance belts provide some of the funniest finagling that a lot of catalogues provide - some of them won't even picture them (dancer not included), so you're buying blind. Strange example of prudery. If they bother them that much, show them on a torso mannequin or as a line drawing!
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#3 dancemomCA

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Posted 25 January 2004 - 10:37 AM

:cat: Prism - you will need to find a good dancewear store and order tights if necessary. Does he need footed or footless? If footless, I often bought a heavier unisex black footless tight (like the pants you mentioned) and Hanes underwear white T-shirts. When he was older he found a men's undershirt with lycra in it that stretched with him and was long enough to tuck into his tights. Downside is the price - $38.00 per shirt. Make sure the t-shirt is also cut high under the arms. Sansha canvas slippers are a great shoe and relatively inexpensive. You can order them at the dancewear store, or they may carry them. Don't know if your son has to wear leather slippers or not.

If he takes jazz get him a pair of jazz pants - they are pretty well unisex. Don't buy the shiny lycra kind - get the matte finish - boys do not look cool in shiny lycra. I know a new brand called "Over/Unders" makes unisex pants. However, check with teacher that she wants him in jazz pants??


Dance belts come in various styles, but I don't think he would need one until about 12. He will need to try them on. Capezio makes a really good dance belt for boys in colors nude or black. Get the nude color. This is a tough one - some are made small, some big - it is a challenge. We actually drove to Montreal in Quebec, to buy dance belts this summer - the store "Rosettis" services the dancers of "Le Cirque de Soliel", so they carry a great stock of dance belts. He ended up buying the Capezio brand. The local stores don't stock very many belts and often keep them in a cardboard box in the back corner of the store!!! You will need to order several types and sizes to find a belt that fits. Personally, we have never ordered belts, he prefers to try them on at the store.


My son also likes the Freed white dance socks which are a beautiful thin cotton blend but really hard to find in a store. Freed is a UK dancewear manufacturer. I order them from "The Shoe Room", the National Ballet School's dancewear store in Toronto. They cost $7.95 CAD per pair. This is his indulgence.

When the dancer is older, he will also need character shoes - a leather oxford shoe with Cuban heel - they are required for the RAD exam and probably other exams as well. He buys Freeds at $95.00 CAD per pair. We have always had to order these shoes from the dancewear store.

That's all he wore when he was dancing at home. Hope you got some ideas.

#4 Guest_momto2.5dancers_*

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Posted 25 January 2004 - 03:02 PM

Our challenge is shoes. My son wears a size 13 street shoe and if his foot grows any bigger I'm not sure we'll be able to find ballet or jazz shoes that fit. Does anyone know of any company that makes them?

#5 Mel Johnson

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Posted 25 January 2004 - 03:26 PM

They all make them; you just won't find them on the shelf. You have to order them.
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#6 ajg

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Posted 26 January 2004 - 08:05 PM

In the past I have had good luck buying heavy weight footless dance tights in the women's exercise section of discount stores like TJ Max and Marshalls. They may now be out of style because the last few times I looked I could not find any but you might try. My older son (17) now wears M. Stephens tights with black shoes and I think the younger one (14) will "graduate" to them this summer. Both wear a piece of black elastic that is sewn to form a belt that holds up their tights. Recently boys at the school have found it cool to either cut off their tights at mid-calf or roll up their tights and go sockless with black shoes. Some teachers tolerate this but others enforce the dress code.

They both wear white cotton t-shirts but both have lately asked for more form fitting shirts. Both want to try them on though especially my older son. He is getting more selective about what he wears for special occaisions like auditions etc. He has always been neat but now he wants to make sure his dance attire complements his line. For some classes he is allowed to dress down and for these he wears the odd pair of tights from a piece, t-shirts w/ sayings on them and a wide variety of shoes from performances (orange, green!) depending on his mood.

I think both started wearing dance belts around 9 or 10 because they don't bunch up under tights. They wore the plain Capezio nude dance belt when they were younger but now wear the quilted kind - again because it gives a smoother line and more support.

And warm-ups - don't forget them. Have to have those warm fuzzy tops, and some kind of loose pants to wear before class and sometimes for the very first part of barre. I found a pair of slipper socks that just had a little tread on the bottom which my older son sometimes wears over his ballet shoes.

And finally both of the boys like Sancha split sole canvas shoes but our local shoe store does not have a wide variety of men's shoes to choose from. I have to say I am glad we have not had to navigate through the pointe shoe choices and prices!!

Hope this helps

#7 Guest_fastfeets_*

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Posted 27 January 2004 - 12:40 AM

we've had some measure of trouble fitting a 10 yr old in proper dance shirts. I have yet to find a fitted white shirt for him. We make do with hanes white t's....and his pants for ballet are slightly undersized dance pants (the non bootleg variety) that are fitted all the way to the ankle. So far, so good, but I do wish he had some manner of choice. My son absolutely refuses bike shorts or capri length pants in any measure, and who am I to argue. What he is most comfortable in is completely allowed so I cannot comment at this point. The downside is that if he decides to go for summer intensives in the next few years, he'll have to adhere to different requirements....

at this time, though, I'm just happy he's not bothered by the dreaded dance belt....

#8 dancemomCA

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Posted 27 January 2004 - 07:26 PM

I think that finding correct form fitting t-shirts is a problem for boys. The Hanes T is OK, but not form fitting unless you buy a size smaller. I've sometimes had luck with figure skating tops for male skaters. They are a soft lycra stretch with the necessary high cut under the arms. Or, you can always order Capezio/Mondor t's for a price.

Now, he wears a made-to-measure leotard (which is another story!!!), so the T-shirt probem is not so great anymore. :wink:

#9 werlkj

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Posted 27 January 2004 - 08:52 PM

Womens' and girls' workout wear have been our salvation for several years. We've found that the Target womens workout wear department has some good tight leggings, in black, dk. grey, lt. grey, and sometimes other colors, which can be useful for teachers when shows roll around. Have your boys try on the extra-small, small or petite sizes. I've had good luck with several brands for several years on my oldest boy. For boys 10 and under, I've found tight black leggings in Target's girls department. None of these have been remotely see-through. Many of them are skin-tight, though last time I looked there were a lot more baggy, hip-hugging capri length.

I found stretchy girls tank tops (for Jazz) at a local shop last year. They were cut like a plain round necked leo, were long enough to stay in, and their cotton/lycra blend shrunk to fit closely the way my son wanted. I got 10-12 of them in multiple sizes and in black and white for $5 each.

#10 Momof3darlings

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Posted 28 January 2004 - 07:41 AM

I manage a small dancewear store. There are several options out there for boys but you just have to plan ahead if your local store is small. My belief is the sooner you can get boy's in true boy's wear, the longer you'll keep them in dance. Not that it's the clothing that really matters. But it's something about getting a package of dance wear with a boy/man on the package that carries some weight. Much the same weight that minorities being able to find dolls in our image carries.

Baltogs has a line of Boy's wear in both cotton lycra and nylon lycra. Sizes as small as child's 4. Leotards (all kinds), bike shorts, tights, jazz pants, unitards, dance belts and shirts that can be customized a few different ways. And in every color imaginable. (For jazz the raglan sleeves on their shirts can be a different color from the shirt which is very nice look) Everything is custom done to order though so a minimum 2-3 week turnaround from the time you placed your order at the store. Our clients have been pleased and have learned to call ahead to order.

SoDanca has a nice line as well but not for little boys. Their line is for men and teens. Their dance shirts in supplex are VERY nice. The small men's would probably work for a young man wearing a Large Child, as they are true fitted shirts not just shirts made from stretchy fabric but also with a shape to them. SoDanca only carries black in stock. So a 4-6 week wait on other colors.

Neither of these can companies can compete with Wal-mart and Target for prices. But the fact that they are true dancewear can carry some weight. Maybe you can plan ahead this summer for your back to school purchases and have some things waiting on your sons at the store. :wink: I love the smiles on the boy's faces when I pull out the packages. Hope that helps some.
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#11 Mel Johnson

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Posted 28 January 2004 - 08:26 AM

Mom, you sure nailed that one from a morale standpoint - nothing quite says "acceptance" to a boy than having a specific product come to hand marked "men's"! :wink:
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#12 its the mom

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Posted 28 January 2004 - 10:25 AM

I have a 12-year old dancer. He wears Bal-Togs or Eurotards cotton lycra pants. We have worked with local dance stores. He wanted them to fit a certain way, so we tried lots of different kinds, and these seem to work the best for him. It took a while to find the right fit. We have tried the boy's white leotard, but this was uncomfortable. He has found that Hanes or Fruit of the Loom t-shirts in a size smaller work okay. He wears thin white dance socks and white shoes. For warm-ups, he used to wear just plain old sweatpants, but then he found that BodyWrappers makes those "trash-bag" pants in pre-teen sizes, and he loves them.

Funny story about dance belts - My son is about two to three years older than two young boys at his old dance studio. Several years ago, neither of the younger boys at that point had a dance belt. I had a whole load of them I had inherited from a dance teacher whose son had hardly worn them. The younger boys had been asking their mothers for dance belts, and the moms were having a difficult time finding the belts. I gave them each a belt to give to their sons. Well, when they got the belts, they were jumping up and down, swinging them around, acting as if they had just received something really wonderful. I wish I had had a camera. They were so excited. It probably doesn't sound that funny now, but I thought it was precious. It was something important to them.

I do think it is key, if at all possible, that we try to find our boys their own dancewear, nothing inherited from their sisters, or from the girl's section of the dance store. My son really wanted to make dance "his own thing" and not his sister's, so I went to great lengths to make sure he had the dancewear he wanted. It was one way we could show our support. I also had some really wonderful local dancestore owners who were patient and helpful.

#13 werlkj

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Posted 28 January 2004 - 11:49 AM

My two boys must be somewhat different. My oldest is very body-conscious--maybe that's typical of the age--and proud of how he looks. Neither boy cares at all where their clothes come from other than they fit comfortably and correctly, meet the visual requirements of their various teachers and schools, and have no wrinkles or bagginess where they and their teachers want to see what is going on with their body as they work. Eurotards leggings are quite heavy and thick, and my oldest feels that it disguises the leg too much. Perhaps my son can see how nice it is for women to be able to see their legs as they work. I know Hanes or other brands of t-shirts are popular, but my boys don't like their bagginess and their teachers don't care for them. They want to see their ribcage and middle. So we've found we have to do a lot of searching.

Our problem with finding clothing for ballet class results from living in a very small town in a state with less than a million people. Nearly everything must be ordered by catalog or website if we want it in less than three months. We generally order more than one size and item at a time, which I find very expensive, and it's always a surprise how poorly many of them fit--too baggy, too tight, too short, too long, too broad through the shoulder, too high under the arms, etc......

For example, we have found that BalTogs leggings are too tight for a boy with muscular hips and thighs. Their waistbands can be quite tight and sometimes the rise is too high. Bal Togs leos seem to run very small and are very short vertically in the midriff--a problem because both my boys want their tops to stay tucked in. Their leos, also, run very short in the body. Girls leos in all brands are cut for girls--even the highest necks seem to be cut down too low in the chest for my boys to feel comfortable. In fact, I think buying boys' ballet clothing is similar to buying dancebelts. The fit is all over the map.

We've tried every brand of dancewear available for boys, through numerous catalogs and ordering from both popular and obscure web businesses. Though I send most back, I've kept the potentially wearable stuff, which amounts to about 15 pairs of black dance pants, leggings, and tights in various sizes and fabrics, in both black and white. I also have at least five white leos and shirts--with and without sleeves, cut both high and low, and fitted and loose, and of course, numerous dancebelts in all sizes, shapes and colors. We go into it regularly, searching for something that is suddenly required, and sometimes we get lucky. Most often, they say to me, "Let's just go find something at the mall, Mom."

For the boys in this country, I think there is a definite need for a specialist seamstress, who can make a shirt or leo to order. That could truly make a boy proud.

#14 werlkj

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Posted 28 January 2004 - 07:57 PM

I take it back -- at least as far as tops go. I just cleaned out the dryer and found a Body Wrappers tank that fits great and is long enough through the body.

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Posted 29 January 2004 - 03:49 AM

I haven't read the entire thread, but from what I did read, no one seems to have mentioned the dreaded word "alterations," but for several years my son, who has always been very tall with long legs, bought whatever size "tights" (when he was younger he often got what were described as "leggings"-not as transparent) were long enough and then we went to the tailor and had them taken in in the waist, hips and legs. It wasn't too expensive and it solved a problem. You might be able to order more things that are sufficiently opaque on line and then alter them to fit properly. If you can sew, this is not a very difficult thing to do! M. Stevens makes excellent tights that come in long lengths, if that is of interest to anyone.

Dance belts didn't show up as a regular feature except for performances until they were needed around age 11 or 12.

The only suggestion I can make in this regard as I, fortunately, do NOT have to wear one, is that especially when dealing with a younger boy, look for one with a soft narrow piece of material in the back. KD Dids makes one that is really nice and soft and the waist band is a soft body-friendly elastic...less like an "iron maiden" than many.

As for socks, I just couldn't manage the Freed's, but found that the VERY thin womens/girls socks at places like Target work as well and look as good. You can get them in black or white (as he or his school prefers) and they come in what I think, if memory serves, a blend of cotton and lycra. These are NOT trouser socks, just very thin regular socks. Even though the women's say 9-11 on them, my son still wears them once in a while although now that he is an adult he prefers to have bare feet in his shoes.

T shirts are indeed a problem for younger male dancers. As an adult, my son shops at Gap Body and can always get a tank shirt in a small which is very form fitting! Other than custom order and a couple of items from Bal-Togs, the easiest thing is to go with the Hanes and buy them on the smallish side, then launder them the first time in HOT water and dry in a HOT dryer. You can always take them in just like the tights!


By the time they are professionals it seems to me that most male dancers wear their oldest rattiest clothes to class and only trot out anything newish for auditions. Maybe they are "rebelling" against all those years of uniforms!

:wub: