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Ballet Talk for Dancers
BlleFille

Class in Leotard SANS skirt?

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Guest Pas de Quoi

I feel it doesn't matter what the dancer is wearing, it matters what the dancer is doing. One can go to YouTube and see the videos of the Royal Ballet company class, or several other professional ballet company classes and one can see the attire of those dancers. It seems the pros make themselves comfortable wearing a variety of garments. I see their artistry, talent and training no matter what they are wearing.

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morninglorie

To answer the original question, alas, no I have not been brave enough to take class without something on my lower half. I usually wear pink tights and a colorful leotard with black capri leggings, or black capri tights and a skirt (the pink tights are a hold over from my dancing days as a youngster, I think). I have a curvy hip/bottom and can't help but want to camouflage/minimize that area (especially because apparently dance wear companies can't seem to make leotards that are a little roomier in the leg. SIGH). I would really love to be brave enough to go sans capris/skirts, etc. eventually; I'm working on it.

 

This is indeed a delicate topic, but I do enjoy hearing other folks ideas/suggestions because I have yet to find something I'm entirely comfortable in. Yes, how I'm dancing is the most important thing, but when I feel better about myself I think I dance better (fewer distractions for one--evil mirrors showing all my "flaws" :wink: ).

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BlleFille

Thanks Gav and yes, perhaps insecurities are high lighted more than we think. I have always been insecure about my body from a very young age and now in my late thirties, funnily enough feel better about myself in ballet class oftentimes than outside in the "real" world as it's about trying to be beautiful and graceful with movement, artistry and expression through technique and not about having the type of body a lot of men fancy in the streets.

I find myself wanting to look lean and flat chested rather than buxom ;) haha but overall realize more and more that the loveliest of dancers have a certain je ne sais quoi that is very little about perfect ANYTHING, including perfect technique but comes from the soul. Of course the upper echelon of dancers have it all; the body, the technique AND the artistry from the soul!

 

Back to the original question and answers, I appreciate what everyone is offering regards to dress. I love fashion and love to try to look as dancerly as possibly but am not good enough yet to look that way wearing garbage shorts and a hoodie so attempt to appear elegant with nice leotards or short unitards, cute skirts or shorts and my go to black leggings. I, on occasion have worn pink tights and have felt very shy, exposed and self conscious in class so abandoned them for the moment. But perhaps I should be less embarrassed. Thanks to everyone for their input.

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ami1436

Gav is right on --

 

I don't there was offence or upset. I think it can be really helpful to identify people's deeply held beliefs -- so deep they didn't really realize they held them -- and to shine light on them. Dancers being self conscious is certainly nothing new, and I think it can be helpful to take note of how (1) we are often our own worst enemies and (2) the only accurate generalization is that every generalization is wrong some (maybe a lot) of the time.

 

What I love about this board is our ability to ask technique questions, offer gentle advice, get loads of feedback from awesome teacher-moderators, and support each other… For that last part, sometimes supporting each other means making each other take a hard look at the standards they are holding themselves to. And really, aren't we all here because we LOVE to dance? Redbookish hits the nail on the head:

 

We also need to remember that as adults, we dance for our pleasure, for the challenge of learning an exacting art, and for the sheer joy of moving. As I head closer to 60, that last reason for dancing is more and more important.

 

Simultaneously, I understand the pressure to look the part, and to be comfortable. For me, I've reconciled it by acknowledging that I dance better when I'm most comfortable in what I'm wearing. If I'm uncomfortable or fidgety, the dancing suffers, and that defeats the purpose. So… morninglorie:

 

To answer the original question, alas, no I have not been brave enough to take class without something on my lower half. I usually wear pink tights and a colorful leotard with black capri leggings, or black capri tights and a skirt (the pink tights are a hold over from my dancing days as a youngster, I think). I have a curvy hip/bottom and can't help but want to camouflage/minimize that area (especially because apparently dance wear companies can't seem to make leotards that are a little roomier in the leg. SIGH). I would really love to be brave enough to go sans capris/skirts, etc. eventually; I'm working on it.

 

This is indeed a delicate topic, but I do enjoy hearing other folks ideas/suggestions because I have yet to find something I'm entirely comfortable in. Yes, how I'm dancing is the most important thing, but when I feel better about myself I think I dance better (fewer distractions for one--evil mirrors showing all my "flaws" :wink: ).

 

There are no flaws… because there is no "perfect". We all think about how dancers are "perfect" - but really they are not. Have you seen pro dancers feet? Talk about how they need to work on their jumps more? Seen them pushed in class? Watched them through physic and massage therapy etc… almost daily? I mean. :) I hope you, morninglorie, have something to wear to class that makes you feel comfortable and allows you to dance and feel free!

 

Now, BlleFille:

 

 

Thanks Gav and yes, perhaps insecurities are high lighted more than we think. I have always been insecure about my body from a very young age and now in my late thirties, funnily enough feel better about myself in ballet class oftentimes than outside in the "real" world as it's about trying to be beautiful and graceful with movement, artistry and expression through technique and not about having the type of body a lot of men fancy in the streets.

I find myself wanting to look lean and flat chested rather than buxom ;) haha but overall realize more and more that the loveliest of dancers have a certain je ne sais quoi that is very little about perfect ANYTHING, including perfect technique but comes from the soul. Of course the upper echelon of dancers have it all; the body, the technique AND the artistry from the soul!

 

Back to the original question and answers, I appreciate what everyone is offering regards to dress. I love fashion and love to try to look as dancerly as possibly but am not good enough yet to look that way wearing garbage shorts and a hoodie so attempt to appear elegant with nice leotards or short unitards, cute skirts or shorts and my go to black leggings. I, on occasion have worn pink tights and have felt very shy, exposed and self conscious in class so abandoned them for the moment. But perhaps I should be less embarrassed. Thanks to everyone for their input.

 

Your first paragraph highlights exactly why I responded the way I did. You are so, so, so critical of yourself, both in your dancing and your clothing…. and you hold yourself to standards that no one else has! Forget both about the studio look and the street look -- as Redbookish said women everywhere are held to impossible standards. Amongst each other, can't we do a bit to fight that. Dance your heart out.. that's all that matters…..

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AncientDancer

I have a not very perfect body at the moment, but what I have noticed in the serious classes I take is that each student or dancer is so focused on him-/herself that no one really notices what others are wearing.

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Scuballerina

I always wear leotard and pink tights under. And hair in a bun. Am old, fat and sometimes take classes with kids young enough to be my daughter. My short legs made me uncomfy wearIng skirts or shorts, as it takes orecious milimeters off my legs hahahaha...

 

oh, but I need to wear pretty leotards. With laces, preferably.

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Redbookish

I'm loving all these stories! What I take from them is how hard we all are on ourselves about stuff that really doesn't matter. And by putting one foot over the threshold into the ballet studio, we're all doing what we can to recover a true sense of the joy of movement and enjoying that.

 

Most of us seem to have internalised the sort of low-level dislike of women's bodies that persists in our cultures -- our bodies are always too this or that, not enough that or this. What a pity we can't just BE. Bllefillle you are obviously a serious and talented dancer. I hope you're proud of what you've achieved!

 

This thread stayed with me last night, and I wanted to DO something to make a difference. So here's a suggestion (and I'm only half joking :) ). Let's have a day or a week at some point where all over the world (we are an international lot!) we go to class in "just" our leotards and tights. And celebrate moving!

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BlleFille

Redbookish, you made my day with that compliment. I thank you most sincerely :) I feel that dancers and dancer professionals don't say sweet things to each other enough. And I feel that there is ALWAYS something nice to say about someone's abilities. whether it's lovely port de bras, dedication, expression, work ethic, feet, whatever.. and I feel that we should ALL be kind.

I HAVE achieved a lot and I should indeed be proud as we all should as ballet is HARD. I have gained confidence, grace, a fitter body and an understanding of my mind and body through dance. It is all so very worthwhile.

 

I like your idea of a day with no cover ups. That may be a good lesson for all of us LOL Name the date! ;)

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LaFilleSylphide

Haha, yes, I'd like to know a date too! I'll send a selfie. LOL

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insidesoloist

I also like the idea of a day (or week) where we all ditch the cover-ups. Count me in!

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mamabear

I'm in!!! Freaking out inwardly because I'm pretty sure none of my classmates read BT4D, so I will be the only one, but if I'm given a date, I will do it.

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jd29

Give me the date too, I would like to be a part of the party !

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Hamorah

I always wear a short sleeved leotard and pink tights with thickish black footless tights over the top. I feel comfortable, not over-exposed but balletic enough to compliment my old school discipline of dressing properly for ballet class! The funny thing is that I am pretty much the only one dressed properly and I am almost old enough to be mother to everyone in the class and even grandma to some of the younger kids who join in the school holidays. Most of them are modern dancers who come in t-shirts and dance in socks rather than ballet shoes! Others are ex-pros who wear a lot of layers. I am who I am - they all know I am ancient and I do what I can. The fact that I'm still able to do class including allegro at my age is very satisfying and I shall continue as long as I can, but definitely not just in pink tights!

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tangerinetwist

Almost 46 year old mom of two and teaching three days a week, but I usually make it to class for myself twice a week. Nope...you will never find me in just a leo and tights- I am well known for always having a print skirt on to match my brightly colored leotards. I rarely wear black though have a couple just so that I still feel like a young dancer or for when my teacher has performance classes and asks that we all wear black.

 

Before kids, I loved wearing just a unitard with tights underneath, but alas, they no longer fit me well. Many of the adults I dance with wear Lulu tops and leggings though I would not be comfortable in that as I would feel like being at a casual healthclub. Everyone should wear what makes them feel beautiful because when you feel that way, it will be reflected in your dancing.

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BlleFille

Agreed tangerinetwist, I dance better when I feel I look my best :)

When I got to wear a tutu recently, I felt transformed and fabulous and full of vim and vigour and my teacher commented on it!

And in class I feel focused, dancerly and prettiest when I wear my go to "flattering" gear.

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