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Ballet Talk for Dancers

How many adults actually wear a leotard/tights to class?


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I wear a dark-colored leo with pink or black tights. I often wear a camisole over the leo as well. I love looking like a "ballerina" - for me, it enhances my experience in the studio. The more I look the part when I see myself in the mirror, the more motivated I am to work harder, pull up more, point my toes more, etc. You'll never look out of place in a classic leo/tights combination, but if you feel out of place or uncomfortable for any reason, you won't enjoy your experience. :)

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'Usually black and white shoes are reserved for men because they tend to wear black or white tights. The general rule is: "Extend the line of your leg".'


So that's why they do it. And I dont think having (for a male at least) tights, socks and slippers all in black does extend the line of the leg at all - especially if the dancer has muscular upper legs and buttocks. It just makes the whole leg look to taper down to a small point in a rather silly way. The most major and famous dancers have this look too - not just amateurs.


But clearly, the weight of the ballet world is against me. But does anyone else agree?



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Sorry...I'm in the "one color, one long line" camp. So often you see students in black tights with white socks an white shoes...and I think "why break the line like that?"

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Well, Jim, I am another heretic! I wear < gasp > black tights (footless) and pink shoes. Sometimes with white socks. I'm just in class to dance, and it's my muscles and use of my body that make my line (such as it is). And I try not to judge others in class -- they're there to dance as well. I find anything else extraneous.

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I am totally with you Jim. Black tights and black shoes do not look at all flattering on someone with even just slightly bulky thighs, so I never wear black tights and black shoes. I have on occasion worn pink tights and black shoes because I'd forgotten my other shoes elsewhere.

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Well, regardless of what our opinions are on what looks good and what doesn't, men aren't about to stop wearing black or white tights anytime soon paired with black or white shoes anytime soon. I'm one of those heretics that wrap duct tape around the holes of my canvas shoes because I forgot to order new ones. I'm definitely a hobo-dancer or a rainbow-brite-candy-colored-leotard wearer. I have a lot of black leotards because they're classic, acceptable in most class situations, and of course are elegant... but I get tired of them quickly. My next purchase is going to be a hooped rehearsal tutu... I'll probably never get to use it, but I want one so bad! :D I regret not having one during the time I was in a full time pre-pro program. Now I'm out, but I wish I had just had a hooped tutu. Oh well, I'm an adult. I can have one if I want. It'll hang on my wall like a relic.

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I do! :) We're allowed to wear various colors, so I have leos in a lot of different colors.

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I do! :) We're allowed to wear various colors, so I have leos in a lot of different colors. I'll usually wear a skirt, I always wear pink tights and shoes. :)

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Deep breath, Jim - I've often seen, for men, dark tights or unitards with white socks and shoes, not just in Balanchine ballets (like Agon, link to picture below), but also as part of school uniforms.


Agon picture


We might be straying a bit from the original poster's question, but after re-reading this thread, what I take away is that we all of different things that we find aesthetically pleasing, have different concerns as to how we present ourselves and what we feel comfortable in and how 'professional' or 'fun' or 'comfortable' or 'fashionable' we want to be in class, and that we may present ourselves in different ways in different classes or situations (an audition vs. open class, for example).


But... we all seem to just want to go and dance.... so I say, wear what works for you in the situation (and abides by the studio's wishes), but otherwise... just dance! :)

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Oh, I dug out not a really old but - ehem - ugly leo and I have had a nice idea about altering it (some nice back cut...) Hmmm, let's see if I can take a before and after pictures (if it works what I want to do with it). I never wear it so if I have to trash bin it afterwards...who cares? If it turns out nice, better!

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Thanks again for everybody's input. It seems like the majority wear some variation of a leotard/tights/skirt/shorts. I do want to look like a "serious" student, because I really want to learn ballet. I bought a pair of tight shorts and a short wrap skirt, and I think I will wear those with my leotard/pink tights until I feel more comfortable.


I hope it is okay to ask another question on this thread, since it is sort of related to attire- Do you wear split or full-sole shoes? I read that full sole shoes are better for strengthening your feet, but the only full sole shoes I could find were online. The sizing is really confusing for ordering online, so I didn't want to buy my first pair that way. I bought split-sole shoes at a dance store because that was all they had. The girl helping me seemed confused when I asked for full sole shoes.. She said they only come in kids sizes.

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That girl doesn't know her stuff as you can easily buy full sole ballet slippers in any size! I don't know what kind of dance store wouldn't have at least one model! Strange!


My first pair when I returned to dance were full sole leather but now I wear Bloch pro arch split soles in canvas which I love as they conform to the feet and make the arch look nice in my opinion. You can also wash them!


I wouldn't worry too much until you try them...they don't cost too much and you will eventually learn what works best for you :)

Now if you ever end up en pointe like me...then you will have worries trying to find the right shoe ;) I am not sure it really exists! ;)

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I wouldn't worry too much about split sole versus full sole anyway. The majority of us wear split soled shoes, and as for full soles strengthening your feet... I think it's probably not a hugely significant difference at this point when you're simply trying to learn the general gist of ballet.

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Over 50 dancer

As a purely recreational daner (I only started at 55) I would feel out of place if I were not wearing tights (black) and a fitted white T whatever everyone else is wearing - it just would not feel like I was taking it seriously. As for white socks/shoes I do alternate but my teachers tell me they can see more of my progress when I'm wearing the white socks and shoes.

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I have a few leos and tights of different colors that I wear. Sometimes I feel silly, as I take a few different classes and I am the only one wearing a leo/tighs. Like lilcris, I do love to just feel like a "real dancer" when I'm in class, so I wear the proper attire. :)


Right now I wear the same slippers I bought when I started dancing last year-- Capezio full-sole leather shoes. I just bought the only kind of shoe that the store stocked. I kind of wish now that I got canvas split soles, simply because I like the look of them, although my leather shoes have been beaten to death and still aren't dead yet, so I guess we'll see. :)

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