What to Expect and Wear to Your First Adult and Children’s Ballet Class
Maybe you have always wanted to become a professional ballet dancer, or perhaps you're just curious to try a few moves.
Perhaps your child has been begging to take ballet lessons - whatever your reason for starting ballet class, rest assured that Ballet is fun no matter how old you are or what goals you wish to accomplish through ballet.
Learning classical ballet holds several positive benefits. Apart from learning the traditional techniques of ballet, ballet lessons aid in fostering positive self-image and teaches grace, poise, self-discipline, and self-confidence.
Your First Ballet Class
If you are very new to ballet, the top questions in your mind are usually related to what you should wear and how you ought to style your hair. You may wonder what ballet class will be like, and what kinds of things you will be learning.
The first ballet classes will introduce you to the basic positions and techniques of ballet. Key learnings will be how to hold your body correctly, how to keep your hands and how to point your toes.
A practice of simple skills such as skipping and jumping will be part of it to improve coordination and flexibility. The class will begin at the barre where a series of exercises will warm up specific parts of the body.
The next set of practices will be performed in the center of the room, without the use of the barre.
So, How Should You Prepare?
Well, first, and most importantly, call your teacher or dance studio and find out what they recommend.
Find out if the studio has a dress code - the teacher may be relaxed about your outfit but could be teaching at a studio that has a strict code. Or, the reverse could happen where the studio may have no dress code at all, but the teacher might be fussy and be expecting a specific uniform.
With comfort being the key, you could wear fitted jogging pants or leggings and a t-shirt that allows for the full range of motions. Shoes and proper attire are best purchased at a professional dance-wear shop or through a professional online dance-wear company.
Do carry a water bottle and something to put sweaty garments in after class. A small towel can be a useful item; from catching sweat to creating a more comfortable surface, it is multi-functional.
Dance shoes are reserved only for the studio to enable their longevity and so that the floor is kept clean for other dance classes, so do carry a separate bag to separate them from the rest of the gear.
Dress Guidelines for the Adult Ballet Class
Since an adult ballet class is recreational, the dress code is relaxed. However, investing in some ballet essentials or suitable alternatives will ensure you get the most out of your class.
Leotards are the most common apparel for ballet students and look like one-piece bathing suits. They make you look incredible, flatter so many different body types and add that ballerina glamour to any look.
Typically, leotards are black or pale pink, and simple, though they come in a variety of colors, textures, and designs. Men usually wear a white, fitted T-shirt, or a full-body tight; while an adult ballet class will not require you wear a leotard, I would highly recommend it.
A bra may not be necessary since many leotards come with inbuilt shelves for added support.
Wear a tank top as an alternative to a leotard (with a sports bra if required).
Avoid T-shirts as they are baggy and are bound to restrict your movement. Choosing breathable fabrics that wick away moisture will keep you comfortable.
A sweatshirt over the tank top is acceptable in colder weather. Just shed it once you are warmed up.
Wearing tights or leggings will enable the see and feel of a true bend and stretch through the knees and also keep the leg muscles warm and help reduce the risk of injury. Legwarmers are essential to keep the muscles warm and flexible during workouts.
The color palette is all about personal choice. Pink tights are traditionally worn underneath your leotard.
Tights come as footed, footless, and convertible with popular options being pink convertible tights, and black footless tights. Lightweight form-fitting yoga pants or knit leggings serve as great alternatives.
Ballet slippers help grip the mat while also allowing for sliding gracefully along the floor. Ballet shoes are the most critical thing you can wear to ballet class. It is not only inappropriate to go barefoot or wear socks but also unsafe as you may slip and cause injury.
Always buy your shoes and have them expert fitted at your local dance store.
Ballet shoes can be leather or canvas, and come with a full-sole or split sole. Typical colors are pink, black and white. Beginners will need a flat leather or satin shoe, with leather lasting much longer than the satin.
Always try the shoes out a bit at home first to get used to them and keep them prepped for use.
Dress Guidelines for the Children's Ballet Class
When very young children start with ballet class, girl ballet students will be required to wear a leotard in the color code prescribed by the studio along with pink tights and pink ballet slippers. Boys will usually need black or white ballet slippers, a white t-shirt, and black leggings.
Leotards - I recommend parents buy a couple of leotards; a long Sleeve Leotard is perfect for the winter months while a camisole leotard with adjustable straps will fit well for any size and be an appropriate choice for the warmer months.
Boys will usually need to wear a white crew neck t-shirt; do check with the ballet teacher for color-specific dress code.
Tights - A children's ballet class requires pink tights that should be worn under the leotard and be fully-footed in the ballet slippers. Young boy dancers usually wear black leggings, such as Capezio'sChildren's Low Rise Leggings
Hair - Ballet students should have their hair neatly pulled back, and, if possible, in a bun. Capezio sells a convenient product, the Bun Builder™, Jr. is a reusable way to create a perfect ballet bun. Boys with long hair should have their hair pulled back for ballet class.
Ballet slippers - Young dancers' ballet slippers are recommended to be full-sole leather ballet shoes, such as Bloch Dansoft Children’s ballet shoe or Daisy® Ballet Slipper which are both comfortable and durable. Buy the slippers in half a size larger than their street shoe to allow for growth, but no larger than this.
After class, students should store their slippers in a cloth bag for ventilation so the leather can breathe and remain supple. Some dance bags come with a special mesh compartment to store shoes.
Top Tips - Essentials for Young Dancers
Before making new purchases, it is best to check with your studio as to its dress code. If a studio determines a dress code based on proficiency levels, double-check your child's level.
Children new to ballet will not need pointe shoes as Pointe is taught to more advanced, mature dancers and that too after careful evaluation.
A tutu usually isn't necessary either as they are usually reserved for the stage. A pull on circular skirt or chiffon or georgette wrap skirt can make a lovely addition to your young dancer's outfit.
Capezio also sells lovely, simple children's ballet sweaters: the Crop Tie Wrap Top or the Long Sleeve Wrap Sweater.
Importance of a Dress Code for a Ballet Class
An enforced dress code helps in many ways - by wearing a uniform of sorts, a dancer understands they are going to a structured class and develops the right mindset. The outfit is not a distraction during class while also making sure that a dancer is appropriately covered.
As a dancer gets older, wearing proper dance attire will enable the teacher to have a clear view of dancers' positions and movement. This knowledge helps a teacher make necessary corrections to the dancer's technique and form. A dress code also teaches discipline, which is critical in the art as demanding as dance.
To all of you contemplating the start of a ballet class, know that starting ballet is a great decision, even regardless of a dance future. Do not let a dress code or lack of what you perceive as the perfect ballet dance attire prevent you from exploring this beautiful and grace-filled dance genre!
At On 1 Dancewear, we've got you covered with a wide array of dancewear, shoes, accessories, and equipment that will support you every step of the way in your decision to take up a ballet class.