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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Dress code of dif. leotard colors per levels


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Up until now, my dd's school has always had a strict dress code of black leos with pink tights for all levels except pre-ballet (in which they wore pink leos w/ pink tights). This has all been fine with dd and me, and it seemed to lend a professional and serious tone to the classes.


But, come this fall, dd's school will incorporate a dress code of specific colored leos for each level. i.e., blue for level X, burgandy for level Y, lavendar for level Z, etc.


Though I'm grumbling under my breath about the extra $$ involved in investing in a new set of leos for dd when she has plenty of black ones in her drawer, I'm wondering what is the thought process behind a color coded dress code for each level at a ballet school?


Aside from being able to visually identify each student's level by the color she's wearing, what are the advantages to doing it this way? (The boys still only need to wear black tights with white shirts.) Does it really lend to helping with the quality and tone of a ballet school? Does it really matter at all?


Thanks much!

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Go Gators, good question and I'd like to hear how various teachers would weigh in on this, too. I'm sure many like the uniformity, whether it is all black, all pink, all navy or some other color in one room at one time. And others probably don't care. Dd attended the same prestigious SI two years in a row. Last year, black leotards were required, while this year, any color was allowed!


In our home ballet school there has always been a designated color per level, until you get to the very top level, where any color goes..this of course is perceived as a privilege earned. For the younger kids, the changing of colors is kind of a rite of passage associated with moving up, which can be a nice thing if you can past the extra $$ involved! Lets just hope the directors pick leo colors where we have lots of choices -- I remember the "hunter green" phase when a few of the companies decided to discontinue many leotards in this color :)

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Thanks for starting this thread…I have always wondered about this as well. At my dd’s studio the girls have to change leo colors when the class changes. Black for technique and navy for Pointe etc. I remember when she was younger and it always seemed as soon as you invested in leos of one color they would promote her to the next level! :shrug:

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Gogators, my DD’s home studio also has a designated color leo per level until you reach the top two levels; where everyone wears black leos . I always assumed it was to help the teachers recognize students who are taking a class outside their assigned level. :shrug: Sometimes before a student is moved up to the next level she may be invited/encouraged to take one or two classes/week with the next level. By wearing the lower level color leo the instructor is reminded that this student is new to the level. Also when a dancer has missed her class and is taking a make-up class with a lower level the teacher is aware/reminded of that also.

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That is one of the reasons, thedriver, and a good one. It is helpful to the teachers, especailly in a large school. I also like the variety of colors for different levels from a personal viewpoint, just to make it more interesting :shrug: Also, I think that it is more fun for the students to be able to change colors and not wear the same one forever!

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Colors in a classroom, when one is accustom to black day in and day out, can be extremely uplifting for student and teacher alike!


The idea of a color for each level and in the upper level pastels or fruity colors sounds great. It is difficult to find "perks" for the senior level class, but that could be one!

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I call seeing and wearing different colors "food for the soul". :D:wacko::shrug: and it is well worth the price. :) I really do feel that when people feel fresh and new (as in wearing a different color), it inspires the dancing too, making it just a little bit fresher, adding a little new spark here and there.


When my daughter was growing up, her studio used different colors too: to denote different levels, and then when daughter was in the top levels, they rotated different colors on different days. They loved having the variety. There's so much about daily ballet class that's the same; it feeds the soul (and brain!) to have a little variety.


An unexpected blessing was that daughter filtered out old leotards more readily. Black leos hide a lot but sometimes we'd rather they didn't!

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OK ladies, you've convinced me of the positive aspects of this dress code change. :shrug:


But what do you do with the colored leos once dd is moved up to the next level? Do any of your schools have some sort of leo "co-op" where dd's trade or give their "gently used" leos to others who may need them, as students are promoted to the next level?

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Put up a message on the studio bulletin board if they have one.

Ask registrar or teacher if any student needs the leotards you have.

Donate them to extended family relatives (that's what I did :grinning: ).

Donate them to school's outreach program.

Sell them on Ebay.

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One or two requires too much laundry at our house! :green: My daughter's old school had the graduated color plan and we have a wide array in each color pallette. A couple of years ago my daughter hit on a grand money-making scheme and sold them to younger students for $5 and $10 each, depending on wear. She got a kick out of it because one younger girl asked her to sign the inside tag of the one she bought. :grinning: This endeared her to my daughter forever!


Due to the penchant my daughter has for also choosing SIs with very specific color requirements, we now are the proud owners of just about every color leo in the rainbow, and we seem to have about 4 or 5 of each hue! :blink:


Her residency allows only black, a color she has never been required to wear and so her few audition leos don't cut it when she must wear a leo from morning to night, from ballet to academics and back again. So, we now own assorted styles in black as well. When she goes to SIs, she always packs her 'extras' (additional suitcase required) and if the performance has need of a certain color - she is sure to have it! :grinning: We've loaned out many for various needs over the years and I don't really mind if they never return. They seem to multiply anyway... :wink:

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knock knock I dye the old 90% cotton ones to the new color. Hunter green became navy last year and navy will get dyed black. First I put them in dye remover then dye to the new color. In addition to rit dyes I also use dye remover and dyes from this company http://www.dharmatrading.com/

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As a teacher, yes I like to look around and see an array of colors (sometimes it helps me remember names - or in the case of identical twins - who is who!!). And I understand the 'rite of passage' as your child moves up and changes color. But as a mom, I think it is expensive. And as a teacher who has worked with some very talented, but poor dancers, it can create embarrassing moments.

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My DD school used to keep the pre ballet through level As in pink. This could be up to age 10 for some girls. Some girls that are developing early would benefit from darker colors, so this year the level As are in lt blue and the Bs go to navy. The navy gives a bit more coverage and is a bit more forgiving. At these levels most students are taking more than one class a week but still only have one leo so that means alot of washing. Between growing bodies and fading leos a new one or two per year shouldn't break the bank. They also have a gently used box of leos and slippers for girls that forget them at home or need one, no charge.

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