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Ballet Talk for Dancers

Leg warmers for men

Grandad dancer

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Hello everyone, 

This was not going to be my first topic to post but it cropped up this week. 

I normally wear a sweatshirt and jogging bottoms over my tights and t-shirt for plie and tendu to warm up. Not ideal as I cannot see my legs and neither can my teacher. I mentioned this to one the ladies who suggested leg warmers and kindly gave me a pair to try this week. I was surprised how much my decrepit knees liked them.  But whilst the leotard wearing ladies who do more than one class a week thought it was normal, the looks a couple of the none leotard wearing one class a week ladies exchanged suggested they thought it was odd. 

So to the questions. Do men wear leg warmers in class? And what do the ladies think about it? The other classes I take have fewer or no ladies in leotards who do more than one class a week. I shall discuss this with the other teachers before wearing them in other classes. 

I should add I am the only male in the classes.


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Yes, indeed, men wear leg warmers in class.  Take a look at some of the class photos of professional dancers and you'll see plenty.  if you're self-conscious about wearing them, you can find them in black or grey to match your tights.  And they come in all lengths - from the top of the thigh to just covering the ankles.  Pay no attention to any odd looks from others (although I have no idea why they should be giving you odd looks).  Your comfort and the ability for your instructor to see your lines are the most important things.

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I'm a male and I've worn leg warmers on and off over the years but more to keep the muscles warm and pliable rather than to hide something (I've got ugly knees also).  Doesn't matter what others think, they do have a purpose however I am surprised the instructor isn't asking for them to be removed after warmups. Personally I prefer sweatpants over leg warmers to keep the leg muscles from cooling down too quickly.

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Thank you both for your prompt responses. I firmly believe that form follows function. Ballet attire has evolved to protect our modesty whilst allowing the teacher to check our line and provide freedom of movement. It does it very well. It should have come as no surprise that leg warmers are so effective at their task. They are thigh length black. I shall continue to wear them for the sake of my knees and muscles. 

Only the absolute beginner class has a warm up as part of the class. We keen ones do our own warm up before class. The rest treat the barre as the warm up. 

What happens in a professional class might not always transfer to a small class in a church hall or scout hut. As the newbie I have been welcomed warmly into classes that have danced together for years. I do not wish to alter the class dynamic or make people feel awkward. I think lack of previous experience of men in leg warmers by the less intense dancers was the cause. I shall proceed carefully. 

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Leg warmers are fine and men do wear them. I get black fleece lined tights and cut the toes off. Work great and they don't hide your legs. 

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Thanks Sivergreydancer, I shall consider it. One of the other dancers also cuts out the heel like stirrup tights.

To update, l have talked to two of my teachers and some of the other dancers. No problems.

However, I did get some history. In one class they had had a gentleman who attended class in a tutu and in another class a gentleman with a different problem I will not go into. It gives some perspective. 

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  • 5 months later...

Yes. Men can and do wear leg warmers. I  have and continue to wear them over my tights for class. It was a little ackward at first as one of my ballet teachers noticed I was wearing them to class, but all she said was she needed a pair for her. They do help keep my legs warm and are great to wear  to warn up in cold weather and a cool studio.  

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