Dance is an elegant and graceful art form, and a very thrilling activity to take part in for both children and adults alike. An exquisite blend of movement and beauty, any kind of dance is a sight to behold with its eye-catching costumes. Since dance is all about motion, it makes sense that it would have its own special kind of clothing that is worn to allow this to happen more freely. Dancewear, is the name given to these garments, and it includes shoes, leggings, bodysuits, and skirts that relate to dance. These are the most frequently worn items associated with dance.
A leotard is standard to all types of dance and is worn at some point by all dancers. Similar to a bathing-suit, a leotard covers the body but not the legs, usually tights are worn with it. Practice leotards are usually made of stretchy cotton, and performance ones from satin. These garments free up the body to permit complete movement. Several styles are available; sleeveless, long or short-sleeved, skirted, frilled, tank, or camisole.
Tights are also a staple in the dancer’s wardrobe. Worn against the legs and similar to pantyhose but thicker, tights draw attention to the legs and like the leotard, allow a full range of motion. They are worn for all types of dance; ballet, tap, jazz and modern alike. There are various forms tights come in footless, footed, footless with stirrups, and convertible which can be with or without feet.
For ballet, two different types of shoes are worn. Those just learning ballet wear light, flat, slippers that have a simple design built for movement. Mostly they are pink or white and are made of leather, satin, or canvas. Sometimes for shows, special brightly colored slippers are worn. These must be worn for a number of years until the dancer is ready to dance “en pointe” or on the tips of her toes. Once this stage is reached, pointe shoes can be worn. These shoes feature a solid toe box to support the toes and a shank in the sole to support the arch, and they tie around the ankles with ribbons.
Special footwear is also worn for tap dancing. These shoes are well-known for their rhythmic, percussive tapping sound they make in time to the music as they contact the floor, uniting the dance act with the song. Most of them are black, shiny patent-leather and either tie with ribbons, lace, or buckle up.
Jazz and types of modern dance like hip-hop use a special jazz shoe. These shoes are very light, flexible and soft and are constructed out of canvas or leather. They may have either a slip-on or lace up design, and some are split-heeled which permits even more movement of the foot as the arch is free. Some designs also have a suede patch built into them for more flexibility that is needed for quick turns and twists.
Skirts worn for dance come in different styles, but the most common is the “tutu” worn in balance performances. These pretty little skirts are made in 2 styles; “romantic” which is long and flowing, and “pancake” which consists of ruffles of netting or organza that come out from the dancer’s hips. Various other types of skirts are worn sometimes for recitals in other types of dance as well.
All of the types of dance; ballet, tap, jazz and modern have their own appropriate types of apparel that most dancers wear. Dance schools will also specify what particular items they want their students to wear. One thing that all dancewear has in common is that it was made to be moved in and to look lovely in the eye of the audience.