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Ballet Talk for Dancers

New to Ballet Do I need to wear underwear under ballet tights?


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I am a male 38 and just started ballet private class last Monday. I went and did it and was told I need something where she could see my legs and feet. I did a little looking and bought my ballet shoes and she asked if I was dancing with or without socks and I have no clue. She said I need thin socks under it so got me thinking and I ordered a white pair of men’s ballet tights so I could dance footed or footless and a pair of trash bag shorts to wear over the top and was wondering since I won’t wear a leotard Do you wear underwear under the tights with the shorts on top or no. I don’t know what to do and don’t want to look like an oddball. I also got Bloch booties for over my ballet shoes. Do I wear the booties in class or are they just from home to the car and the car to ballet? Heard many diffrent things on that. Is there anything I need to get or any help or advice for be being a total beginner? I have really never done it before and any tips advice, exercises, things to work on or items I need or advice or anything would be helpful. I will be doing a 45min private lesson once a week. Is that enough to progress to anywhere and not a waste of time? 

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Hi Brandon,

Welcome to BT4D and good on you for diving into the ballet world!

We do have a mens forum where you can read (in detail!) what most men choose to wear under and over their tights and shoes.  In short, generally most men would wear a dance support or mens leotard underneath tights as a minimum - a lot of it is personal prefernce on comfort, but I would not advise wearing tights only as they will be too thin and not supportive enough to hold everything in place... (That's what a dance support is for!  There is a whole thread on them in the Mens forum). 

Socks can go under ballet shoes if you like, but they are not "essential" many dancers just wear bare feet in their shoes - again, personal/school/uniform preference.  

Trash Bag shorts and "Booties" are warm-up gear.  You would be expected to take them off after the first exercise or two so that the teacher can see you movements in full.  I would not advise wearing Bloch Booties outside (although I have seen people do it). They are more designed for keeping feet warm in between classes. If you wear them outside and then into the studio, you risk traipsing damp and dirt into the studio with your shoes which most studio owners will not be too pleased about!

There are many, many, many tips on adult ballet learning in the forum - just look and read through the threads and you will find a lot of info.  As for private lessons - in my opinion it's a trade off.  They are expensive, can be very intense learning on your own, and can be less enjoyable that learning in a group setting.  On the flip side, you get personalised attention and can ask detailed questions there may not be time for in class.  Personally, I only use private lessons as an extra when required to group lessons, to brush up on something, work on a specific skill, or prepare for an event.

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Welcome to Ballet Talk for Dancers, and to the Adult Students section, Brandon. As Miss Persistent says, there's lots of information here, and in the Men's Forum.

For the sake of your fellow classmates, please wear appropriate male dance support or a dance belt under your tights. It's a health & safety thing for your body, but it's also about everyone's dignity & privacy.

Women generally just wear leotard and tights, and tend to need support for their bust - I tend to wear black tights over the top of my leotard, so the leo acts as underwear (and it has a built-in 'bra shelf'). But if you're just wearing tights, as a man, you need supportive underwear: a dance belt, basically.

I like to have bare feet in canvas split-sole shoes, as it helps me feel & use the floor, and stops me scrunching & gripping my toes. But socks in shoes are nice too. I tend to wear warm ups or warm knitted shorts for maybe the first one or two exercises at the barre, and then as my body gets literally warmer, I get down to just leo & tights. But I like to dance in a warm/hot studio - at my age (early 60s) it helps oil my joints!

Bloch booties are warm up gear - another way to warm up your feet is to do some simple foot exercises such as 'doming' and also try a Mexican wave with your toes. Or try picking up a light piece of fabric with your toes. Also just rolling through your feet standing at the barre, as if you are walking on the spot, but much more slowly.

Maybe these are things you can also ask your teacher about in your classes? As for private classes, I totally agree with Miss Persistent - group classes are actually a lot of fun, and you can learn from the corrections given to other class mates. You also learn about space, spatial awareness, and moving through space in a group without crashing! A very useful skill. 

But I understand that most classes feel like a very female environment which might be overwhelming at first. However, you should be reassured that in class, most people are really not looking at, or particularly conscious of, other people's dancing struggles. We're all too absorbed in focusing on our own bodies and how the heck we get them to do what we want them to do!

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Hello, I would suggest tights with a dance belt underneath and an athletic t shirt on top (dry-wick material). The booties can be worn to and from class to keep your feet warm you can keep them on to warm up if the teacher allows but I definitely would not wear the booties past the barre portion of the class. 

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