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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Dress requirements to/from class


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Our ballet school (not attached to any company) has a strictly enforced rule that dancers have to wear street clothes as they arrive and leave.


There's one male and one female toilet, so the open foyer serves as a change room for around 30 dancers at class changeover time (2 studios). Today I was trying not to watch a 9 year old girl uncomfortably shimmying out of her leo and tights and into knickers and a dress - in front of dancers which necessarily included embarrassed 8 and 12 y/o boys ... and I just can't quite fathom the reason for the rule under the circumstances??


So far my own children wear long winter coats to/from the car (in spite of the extreme heat where we live) and I've noticed a couple others stating to do the same. But my 8 y/o son is old enough to feel so embarrassed and awkward about where to look in such a crowded area (while others change) that I'm tempted to speak up.


But I'm reluctant to speak to anyone about the rule until I understand what ballet etiquette it's based on? Any advice will be greatly appreciated!!

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In our studio, children wear outfits on top of their leos and tights. The way it was explained to us, leos and tights are appropriate attire inside of the dancing classroom, but not outside. Our studio is sharing its space with a large music studio, so it is important for dancers to look appropriate outside the classroom. Just bring a skirt or shorts and a t-shirt for your child and have them put the clothing on top, that should work fine. In the winter, we have several outfits like this one:




(random photo off an online catalogue advertising the general outfit idea, not an endorsement of the specific product)


No need for winter coats in the middle of summer. There is nothing shameful about having your child's tights be visible; just hide the leo-and-tights outfit under some loose-fitting clothing that easily fits in the ballet bag and does not wrinkle easily!

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Guest Blossoming ballerina

My dd wears a little dress in summer. or dance pants and studio jacket in the winter.

Her dance leotard and tights are underneath.

It looks fine and we can drop not the shops on the way to ballet or on the way home if needed.

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Yes I would understand the policy to just mean than the body should be covered so normal clothes could be put over the top of dancewear. They really can't expect people to change completely when there isn't a changing room!

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It's been my experience that this sort of rule is pretty standard. It simply means that you shoud be appropriately attired for "the outside world" when they are not in the studio. It certainly does not suggest to me that students should be fully changing in the foyer. Leotard and tights can (and in this case, probably should) be worn under their regular clothes and simply removed for class.

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Yep, that's a pretty standard policy, i.e., street clothes outside the studio. BUT, I really can't imagine that they mean anything other than to wear something OVER the leo and tights. It's just to get to and from, really. Leo and tights are not street wear any more than a bathing suit is street wear (well, unless you are along the beach strip).


DD often dressed for class at home (still does) and then just put some pants and a shirt or a dress over her leo and tights. Now, she walks a couple miles to class often, so she most definitely puts something on over her class clothes.

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My DD has class right after school so she changes into her tights and leotard when the school bell rings and then puts her uniform back on over them. She pulls her tights up above her skirt hem so they don't show.

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We don't have a rule for the studio, but the older dancers are told to wear something over tights/leo when they leave for the real world. :) We do have a decent dressing room, so lots of dancers simply change at the studio (I've been told the boys do not have an official dressing room but change in the restroom). This year my DD mostly has time to change at home before class and she puts on dance overalls, booty shorts/top or warmups before leaving the house, depending on weather.

I would say that most of the younger dancers arrive dresses in class attire minus shoes and leave that way as well.


For more official situations like perfomances etc of course we have rules that the dancers cannot be seen in dance attire in public, but not at the studio.

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Our old studio, much less formal and traditional in general, didn't care what the kids wore in/out. (Even to the point that some of the younger ones wore their ballet slippers outside-ick!)


The current school has a very strict rule about no dance wear outside the studios. But, all the kids keep leotard and tights on underneath and the administration doesn't care if the tights or random leotard sleeves & straps show. A sundress, pull on skirt & tank, or jumper/dance overalls in the summer and sweat pants & zipper jacket in the winter are what I see most. Some of the boys just slip on pants and leave their white T-shirts as is.

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I posted in the wrong forum. My apologies.

Edited by tentative
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I agree with those who suggest to dress at home with regular clothes on top. That's the way we have always done it, since our studio has no private space for changing (the one bathroom is always in use). But it sounds like your real issue is with other families that have lower inhibitions about changing in public. It seems to me that only the studio staff can address this, so I would definitely bring it up with them.


Today we had an uneasy moment ourselves when a girl from our son's class changed her clothes right in front of him, with the help of her mother. A couple of issues here, including that a third grader should be able to dress herself! I may need to keep DS in the other room whenever I see this family arriving, despite the fact that they chose to disrobe in a public area that not only includes the studio's only locker/storage space but also is the only access to three of the four studios. It is definitely not meant to be a changing area. If it becomes a habit, I will say something to the studio owner for sure.

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Sometimes these things are cultural. Americans tend to feel it's inappropriate for children to be seen naked after toddlerhood, but it's been my experience many European and Eastern Europeans don't understand why it matters when the child is prepubescent.

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I think you need to take into consideration the WHERE aspect. In our crowded city I have a real problem with children of any age walking the streets in a leotard and tights and no cover up. It just leaves the child open to the attention of possibly not good people. Not to mention the inappropriateness. Going from a car to the studio door in the suburbs is harmless in my view; how many actual people is the child exposed to? What burns my cookies are the parents at my DD's school who think it is okay to do hair and change in the cafeteria of the school when there is a large, uncrowded, clean locker (separate boys and girls) room in which to do everything!

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My daughter wears weather appropriate clothing over her leotard and tights and NEVER wears her dance shoes out of the studio. Why on earth would you wear a winter coat when a pair of yoga pants/sweats and a tshirt (with jacket/ coat etc) would do the job?


If she is coming straight from school or has not had a chance to change, she will change in the car... (any female who doesn't know how to do this modestly should learn!)

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My DD changes at home or if running from somewhere else changes in the bathroom at the studio...always wears street shoes and clothes when entering or leaving the studio.


Little kids with dance shoes on walking in the parking lot make me cringe...but I know it is because of limited experience, we all learn some things the hard way!

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