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I don't mean to be difficult... but, clothing wise


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Ok, so I'm starting an open class at Steps on Broadway soon, and I called to find out if there was anything specific I needed to wear, and she just said ballet slippers (duh) and something the teacher could see my line in. So here are my questions.

1) Is a dance belt absolutely necessary for a beginner in a beginning ballet class?


2) Is there any alternative to tights that will let my instructor see my line?


3) Is it possible to wear a "wife beater"(I HATE that term" under your shirt? or is that a no no?


That's it guys, thanks a lot!

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Many adult dance classes don't have a specific dress code. But if you want to really learn ballet and get the most out of every class, you have to give your instructor the best opportunity to observe and correct you.


Sorry, but that means you've got to wear tights. Nothing else clings to your legs, revealing what the musculature inside is doing and the exact placement of your body. And if you're a guy and you're going to wear tights, you've got to wear a dance belt under them. A relatively tight T-shirt or a "wife beater" will cover your torso. (If you don't like calling a sleeveless undershirt a 'wife beater', why do you use the term?)


It's actually more important for beginners to wear tights, because they are totally dependent on teacher feedback to correct their placement and alignment. Advanced students and professionals know how to self-correct, which is why they can get away wearing looser clothes.


Bottom line: wear whatever seems right to your first class, then make whatever corrections seem appropriate.

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1) Is a dance belt absolutely necessary for a beginner in a beginning ballet class?


2) Is there any alternative to tights that will let my instructor see my line?

You might as well get used to wearing tights and a dancebelt, because it's part of what you signed up for when you take ballet.

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People seem to get too hung up on the whole dance belt and tights thing. Bottom line is it's the gear of the activity. This is just as demanding, perhaps more so than most sports. Just as you'd want to wear the right gear for baseball or soccer, you want to be prepared for dance. It's about your body and the teacher cannot make corrections if they cannot see your body. For that matter, as you progress you'll want to see your legs and arms, etc. so you can see for yourself in the mirror if you are doing things correctly.


Also keep in mind, if you're self-concious about dance wear and how you look in it, it lasts about ten seconds the first class and thats it. You'll quickly learn nobody is really looking at you and judging you by how you look in dance clothes. They're all watching themselves, thinking about the steps and working on technique. So no one else there is going to judge you by what you wear.


All this said, you may not want to rush out and invest a lot of money in clothing up front. Take a few classes and see if you like it first. You will definitely want dance shoes and a dance belt (I cannot imagine doing grande battements au naturale), but you could save money and do your first few classes in shorts. At least the teacher will be able to see your legs and ballet shoes are not expensive. This way if you take a few classes and feel like it's not for you you're not out too much money. Also, I don't think Steps has airconditioning. Something to keep in mind as we head into the peak of summer.


Foremost is make yourself feel comfortable. Getting into a studio the first time can be a scary experience for guys but I think we all agree that it's a step we're all glad we took.


Enjoy and report back. Let us know how it goes.

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Never heard that usage of the term 'wife beater' before... In UK slang parlance, it's a pint of a particular Belgian lager! How did the US meaning come about?

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One shirt maker cites the TV show "Cops" as the origin of the name, as that was what wife beaters on that docudrama usually were wearing when they were arrested. Another cites the movie Raging Bull (1980) as the source. The title character wears one as he...well, you get the idea. I think it goes all the way back to Stanley Kowalski of A Streetcar named Desire as played by Marlon Brando. Stanley is kind of rough on his women, but then they kind of do head numbers on him, too.


If you're uncomfortable with the term, just say "tank-top undershirt" or "A-shirt" (Athletic shirt). A Tee shirt is so called because its form is the letter T.

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Mmmk, so the shorts... Do they have to be Short? I'm thinking just above the kneee, or is that too long?

Oh, and do I wear socks with my shoes? I know I sound completely clueless, but yeah, I am!

Thanks for all your help guys!!!!

Edited by maksimate
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I’m certainly no expert, but my sense is that a good teacher can tell a lot about a person’s alignment regardless of what the person wears. Also, it seems reasonable to assume that most all beginners have generally poor alignment and that there is a set of beginner corrections that a teacher can apply almost universally.


I do think costume plays a role in developing oneself in ballet, however. I think it illustrates commitment to the activity. There are certain things like dance belts, for example, that say you are a real dancer rather than a pretender. At least that is my thinking.


If one is a real adult taking a real adult class, there probably isn’t anything like a dress code. If I were new, I’d show up wearing whatever, knowing that I am probably going to look like a raw beginner (but you will dance like that too, so who cares what you wear), and I’d look to see what the other males were wearing. Essentially, I’d wear the same until I felt comfortable enough to wear whatever I wanted.

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"Ok, so I'm starting an open class at Steps on Broadway soon..."

I've never taken a class at STEPS, but I've heard that classes there are very fast and demanding. Maybe somebody who has experience with their classes might comment?

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Knock, knock... I was debating about invading the Men's Forum to post this, but as I take classes as Steps, including beginner classes, I thought you might be interested.


Basically, guys show up to class at Steps in many different sorts of outfits. Lots of guys come to class wearing sweatpants, shorts or track pants and T-shirts. Many of the male students, especially the ones who come to class regularly, go for the black tights/leggings (or those longish black spandex bicycle shorts) with a white or grey fitted t-shirt. I've seen a few guys wearing leotards with the tights over them, but seldom in the beginner classes. Most of the guys in my classes seem to wear thin white socks with their shoes... I have no idea why. Wear what you feel comfortable in, but once you begin to move past the basics, you'll probably end up wearing tights.


If you are just starting out in ballet, I would highly recommend taking Cindy Vallone's Absolute Beginner class (Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7:30). BarreTalk is right, many of the the classes at Steps, even the ones marked 'beginner', are really fast paced and quite advanced. Cindy is a great teacher- very focused on alignment, gives lots of personal attention, and she won't let you develop any bad habits! Her class is actually quite demanding physically; the difference between her class and the other beginner classes is that it just doesn't go as fast, so that you can concentrate on learning to do the movement properly, rather than just trying to make it through the combination. In fact, after several years of ballet, I still take her class in addition to my other classes (though now I take it en pointe). Incidentally, I don't know if this matters to you, but there are usually at least three or four men in her class, so its not all girls.


If you can't take classes at those times, my only other suggestion is Kathrine Sullivan's class. Although Ms. Sullivan's class is is much faster than the absolute beginner class, she is very patient and a wonderful teacher. Most of the other classes at Steps would probably be above the head of someone with less than a year's experience in ballet.


Broadway Dance Center and Ballet Academy East both have variations on the "basic" or "intro" beginner class. I haven't taken any of them, so I can't give you any guidance.


Hope that helped!

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Womens stretch shorts in Cotton/Spandex are good. My legs are too hairy to wear shorts, my calfs rub against each other and chafe.

Most men do not wear sox anymore, unless required. Socks lessen the feel od the floor.

Steps does not care what you wear.

I hear BAE has a men's class. There is no place to park on the UES.


I could go for a wife beater right now.....




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Mmmk, so the shorts... Do they have to be Short? I'm thinking just above the kneee, or is that too long?

Oh, and do I wear socks with my shoes?

Try rowing shorts. They'll make you eager to wear tights. And yes, you wear socks with the shoes.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Let ne just insert a little opinion, if you think its uncomfortable to wear dance belt and tights (I can understand you very well, I once felt just the same):

Imagine a soccer team, and everyone on your team is wearing their shirts exept you, because you think you look odd in it.. who is the one that looks odd - you or them? :thumbsup: Its not much to worry about - its like 2 l.f. says - its necessary for you to get the best possible corrections. Youll get used to it! Good luck.

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