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Why are there no dresscode in adult classes?


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Just a little question: Why are there no dresscode in adult ballet classes? Is it that they don't think adult would ever learn, and therefore it is not important for us to do things correctly? (Yeah, I know I might be a little bit cynical)

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Some schools feel that adult beginners are so unused to ballet practice clothes that they are leery of taking class at all without the ability to "camouflage" themselves. Other schools have no dress code for adults, but enough adult students who didn't track to the job market, that they automatically wear proper clothing for class. Other schools still say "the dress code applies to all students equally." So, it really depends on where you take class and what the school policy is on dress for adult students.

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I think the schools may do this (no dress code for adults) because they want to make it easier for adults to try ballet out.


I don't know what dance attire costs elsewhere, but at least here in Finland the price of a basic leotard, pair of tights and technique shoes covers three months' worth of weekly classes in a reputable school. Most people would not want to invest that much money just to try a class or two out. :)


My school requires us adults to wear clothes that show the body, and most start in some variation of rolled up jazz pants or tight calf-length "capri pants" (or whatever they are called in english) and a tight t-shirt.

As the students progress to higher class levels, the leotard and tights possibly with a dance skirt or some of "warm-up gear" become the norm. Plain leotard and tights are pretty much the uniform for the more committed and ambitious adult dance crowd on the "upward track". :)


Personally, in addition to the money issue, I would not have felt comfortable in leotard and tights in the beginning. (I started in the tight t-shirt and biker shorts.) I felt that by wearing a leotard I would somehow be claiming to be a "ballerina" which I definitely was not. Stupid or what? :P I got over it when I realized that leotards are worn by normal adult beginner people and do indeed show the body so much better. :)



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Guest Jeujeucda

I wonder too. I think not having a dresscode is detrimental to adults. They stick out like sore thumbs -- the class doesn't look as tidy, and doesn't generate the same consideration.


I always wear the standard -- black leotard with pink tights and slippers, sometimes beige tights. It makes a difference -- other students, teachers, and parents take me much more seriously than the adult next to me wearing leggings and a t-shirt.


Reality is that no matter how you "camouflage", your body shape is still there. No one is fooled. It doesn't disappear nor morph into something else. All you end up doing is make it more difficult for the teacher to correct you. It also seems counter-productive to try to cover up, because ballet IS all about body lines after all. Plus in class, no one is looking nor judging at all -- every student is too absorbed in what their own bodies are doing and criticizing themselves to notice you.



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At my studio, the regular dress code of pink tights and shoes with a solid colored leotard is recommended for adults, but not required. I think this is so as not to discourage adults who want to begin ballet but are self-conscious about their bodies. Usually, as the adult student progresses, he/she chooses to adopt the dress code without prompting from an instructor.

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Guest Leigh Witchel

Not requiring a dress code of adult students is not a sign that you are not taken seriously as students, rather a sign that you are taken seriously as mature adults who are responsible enough to dress appropriately for class.


For children, the regimentation of a dress code is done for sensible reasons that don't really apply or are onerous to some adults. I know my own body and I know when I'm cold and need warm ups. Interestingly though, I wore some variant of tshirt and tights (though generally a silly tshirt; I had a huge collection of them) my entire dance career.

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Guest BBNButterscotch

My adult class that i started in had a dress code. Our teacher was somewhat flexible about it, but it was a black leo, pink tights, pink shoes and a black skirt. She definitely enforced the tights, shoes and leo part. Some people wore sweaters or shirts tho or no skirt... but for the most part we all followed it.

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I just love wearing my tights, leos and pink shoes!


Seriously, no one has mentioned this, but when we are all dressed similarly, the floor routines and barres are much more beautiful - we look more like a corps, than corpses with moving parts :eek:

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Guest Aleksander

I think that adult students should be mature enough to know that it is necessary to wear a correct ballet clothes to get as much as possible from ballet classes.


Unfortunately there are lost of people who is thinking that ballet training is an entertaiment.


Of course it should be place for fun, but everyone has to face that ballet is a hard work !:(

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But dance teachers, at least here in Sweden, never tell students what to wear or why. One teacher even said: "I don't care what you wear" we didn't even had to buy ballet shoes! There are only a few studios (I've seen two here in Stockholm) that require dress code for teens and none for adults. I think that's sad, because if a teacher doesn't tell the students, they don't know that ordinary "jazz-pants" which are wery wide from the knee and down, doesn't expose your knees at all. Then maybe the students don't think that a straight knee is that important.



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Guest Aleksander

Funny thing: one of my teachers, who was Swedish ask everyone to use ballet or at least very tigth clothes.


But I know the problem. Many Danish teachers accept baggy clothes as well as they accept people, who are not wearing ballet shoes.


Personally I think that it is not very wise. You have a different contact with a floor, wearing shoes.


I have also exeprienced English teacher asked to take off all leg warmes and things like that. She said that is CLASSICAL ballet class and not hip-hop party. :(

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What I've noticed is that while many adult students don't necessarily follow the strict pink tights/black leo rule, they progress to more "serious" clothes as they advance beyond beginning classes. Several people have mentioned the comfort/body image issue for beginners. I think this is a *huge* issue for people. If someone feels unfortable going to class for the first time with pink tights and nothing covering their bottom, then for goodness sake let them wear warm up shorts, or a skirt, or black tights, or whatever it takes (within reason) to just get them in class! Most people tend to get over the body consciousness thing once they realize that 1) no one else cares what they look like; and 2) the teacher needs to see your body to give accurate corrections. Then they start shedding the layers and going for a more traditional look.


Of course, you do get people in class who give the impression that they are there for a fashion show. The most egregious example that I've seen - and I'm not kidding here - was a young woman who wore loose cotten pants that looked like pajamas and what appeared to be a knee length bath robe to class :eek:

We all kept waiting for her to take them off, but she kept all of it on for the WHOLE class. I think this student should have known better as looked like she had been dancing for some time and should have been familiar with etiquette/clothing issues. I think the teacher should have taken her aside and said "now, listen...." but she didn't. She did however, basically ignore her and gave her no corrections. The student didn't come back.

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Guest Jeujeucda

You are all quite right, it's true that as a class progress, it seems more and more of the adult students start to adhere to the leo and tights standard. I think that wearing the clothes also has a psychological factor -- suddenly they look more like "real" dance students and therefore they feel like one more and put more effort in.


On the other hand, there are many for whom it seems every class is a fashion show, as they never show up in the same clothes twice! Then there are those whose clothes are so baggy and unpresentable that you can't even tell if they have one or both legs in the same pant leg.....


Well, to each their own. As long as their appearance do not affect the teacher's attitude toward the entire class.



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I've noticed that serious teachers specify what people should wear. Now you won't find a teacher that will insist on some type of RAD uniform for adults but I find that the good ones set out guidelines and give the adults choices.

Letting people with negative body images take class in baggy clothes is fine if it gets them to start the class. Unless the teacher has X-ray eyes how can the tell if they are doing something incorrectly or not, and possibly hurting themselves.

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Guest pumukau

I have a standard uniform of my own... black leotards and black sleeveless t shirt. Our school doesn't require it but a) the teacher pays more attention to your posture if you are dressed like you care :D I'm too old to waste time on vanity c) I dislike anything that has to be adjusted after class has started.


I didn't worry about posture corrections too much until I saw a video of myself dancing. I recommend it to everyone once you're committed enough to ballet not to quit in horror.

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