The term dancewear refers to any specialist items worn by the dancer. Ballet is a very popular style of dance to learn particularly amongst young girls. If your child is considering taking up ballet, then here is a quick guide to the different types of dancewear and dance costume available for the ballet dancer.
The most widely used item of dancewear for the ballet dancer is the leotard. This is a skin-tight garment which covers the torso but leaves the legs free. Its skin tight element allows the leotard to be formfitting so as to allow the teacher and audience to clearly see the movement and positioning of the dancer’s body. There are different cuts of leotard known as tank, short sleeve, camisole, polo neck and long sleeve though within each of these cuts there are many variations to make each leotard unique. Other variations on the leotard include unitards and catsuits. Unitards cover part of the legs, and catsuits cover the entire legs and sometimes the arms too.
Another important piece of dancewear for the ballet dancer is the ballet shoe. This is a light shoe designed specifically for ballet and is manufactured in leather, satin or canvas. The sole of the ballet shoe is usually made from suede and will either be a split sole or full sole. The full sole is usually preferred by beginners because of the extra support it provides and is usually preferred by beginners who will advance to the split sole which enables more flexibility of the foot as they gain more experience.
Once the ballet dancer has gained significant experience, they may well advance to pointe shoes which enable the dancer to stand on their toes – or en pointe. This is the most mesmerising element of the ballet dancer’s performance as it creates the impression that they are moving weightlessly around the stage. As every dancer has a slightly different shaped foot, pointe shoe manufacturers produce more than one style of pointe shoe to offer several different fits.
The most widely recognised form of dance costume for the ballet dancer is undoubtedly the ballet tutu. This is a skirt worn as a dance costume in a ballet performance which often has an attached bodice. The skirt sometimes consists of a single layer which hangs down but the most recognised dance tutu consists of multiple layers of starched netting which jut out from the ballet dancer’s hips. Types of ballet tutu include the Romantic Tutu and Classical Tutu.
Most of the above dancewear items will be accompanied by ballet tights or ballet socks. Which of these the dancer chooses is largely down to personal preference but can also be dictated by the uniform of a dance school or dance academy, or the costume required for a particular performance. Ballet socks, however, tend to be preferred by young children who choose to switch to ballet tights when they get a little older.
One of the most popular suppliers of ballet dancewear is Roch Valley which is a popular dance brand based in the UK and recognised throughout the world. They produce comfortable dancewear for dancers of all abilities and disciplines and in particular choose a wide range of dance leotards.