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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Dressing for Class


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Judging from some posts, there isn't really a dress code for lots of adult classes. What I was wondering was, when I was younger, patterns and bold colors like red were out (so were fishnets, thongs, and such) and too baggy clothes were out as well. I've noticed plenty of red leos in catalogues lately that were not meant to be stage costumes. Is it ok to wear these in general now, have ballet etiquette rules loosened? Are they no longer considered distracting? This isn't exactly the worlds most important question, but lately I've felt like we've come a long way from black leos and pink tights. This isn't good or bad I guess (unless you're stuck behind the person in fishnets and thong lycra leotard), just different and I'm wondering what other folks make of it.

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A lot of the teachers I've taken adult classes with don't mind colored leotards (as long as they aren't like, neon colored, but nothing with patterns.....and it goes for ballet skirts as well.

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Guest Hilarie

Every studio I've taken at has a very relaxed adult dress code. Most people still wear pretty traditional clothes, but every once in a while you'll see someone in a tank top and short-shorts, or sweatpants (how do they see what their legs are doing?). There was once an older man in one of my classes who wore "wool tights" that I swear were long johns. :o


So yes, I'd say that if you want to wear a red leotard you can just go for it, and chances are someone will be dressed more distractingly than you are :unsure: Lately I try to stick with less vibrant colors, though, so that my leos will all be wearable if I end up at a studio with an actual dress code. Besides, I always feel like I dance just a tiny bit better if I look the part. :)

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Yes, I agree with your last sentence Hilarie. When I am all neat and tidy and my clothes are all 'proper' i.e. pink or black tights, sensible leotard, little ballet skirt, nice shoes, then I feel I dance so much better than if I am in one of my slouchy moods and go to class in jazz pants and skinny T. Then I just feel too relaxed and a bit too baggy.

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I agree, I think it's so much easier to dance confidently when dressed properly. I have even found lately that I like wearing a skirt more then shorts as a cover up. That being said however, I like colored leotards, they can be more exciting then just plan black as long as they dont cross the tasteful line ( I've seen some that were a deffinate NO) funny story: A few years ago I was in a pre-pro training program for jazz ( i've since converted FULLY to ballet) and they had a very strict dress code. black black and black ( unless pink tights/shoes in ballet). My friend told me me that the director lectured their class when she had a grey and black striped shirt on because she couldnt find solid black. so on haloween what do I decide to do? go in wearing an orange shirt black leo black shorts and those black and orange ( or green or purple) striped tights that they sell on haloween. :) oh man. I didnt actully get in too much trouble and all my classmates thought it was funny. :wink: ( a year or 2 later I wore the green ones with a black leo and black shorts to a modern/jazz class at my high school on haloween. but if you think that was bad you should have seen the teacher trying to dance in a gorilla mask!)

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As a teacher of open teen/adult classes, I have no problem with colored leotards, etc, but I have spent entirely too much time this summer quietly whispering to new students that they need to be wearing more clothing :grinning: A ballet class is not an open jazz class or a visit to the health club, beach etc.

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Please forgive me if I am being too forward, but, being a Chicago resident, I was wondering where you teach. With your Balanchine background, I was wondering if you teach at Ballet Chicago.

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Since you mention that, just out of curiosity: do you request your women students to wear skirts? I always wear just a black leo and pink tights, no skirt.


Just curious if it is viewed as unseemly to NOT wear a skirt after a certain age or shape, etc. Because it seems that most if not all of the other women in my classes have a skirt (or shorts on if they are not in traditional dress).


Thank you!

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I don't request that the women wear skirts. I am comfortable with almost anything (see above post regarding decency :thumbsup: ), as long as I can see the body. When anyone comes in shrouded from head-to-toe in layer upon layer, I give my "If you want to let me help you improve, I'm going to have to see what is happeing" speech, often followed by the "Are you expecting both teaching skills and x-ray vision from me?" :thumbsup:


hart, I sent you a PM

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I like color. A lot. A lot of color too. I can see how in a pre-professional environment one would want to cut down on distractions/competition/etc, etc.

Unfortunately black and pink doesn't prepare me to work hard; it only makes me feel bland and depressed.


No baggies, and certainly no fishnets or neon but I dance better in bright colors.

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Guest nicoal

Myself having put on some weight, I know that I'm driven to distraction by seeing that pudgy middle in the mirror and opt for a baggier warm up over a leotard. I try to compensate by pulling up the legs up to my calves to give a good view of my feet and ankles.

The teacher doesn't mind so much - I know it's preferred to wear just leo and tights but I find I have a worse class because I'm annoyed with how I look. Maybe one day I won't mind, but until then I'd rather be comfortable and not worry about it. :wink:

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Guest LaurieM

Our class has a suggested dress code that most students adhere to: black leos, white tights, and slippers. No bulky legwarmers or t-shirts allowed. Senior stuents can wear a dance skirt, and hair must be held back off the face (neck should be exposed).

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Nicoal, Where do you dance? I grew up in Miami and went to South Miami for dance and BAM and In Motion for Ballet.

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