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Hints & Tips

If you are shopping for a leotard, you may be surprised by the variety of styles available today. Be prepared to spend some time looking, as a leotard is meant to fit the body like a glove and may involve some trial and error. The following tips will help you find the perfect leotard.

Check with the teacher.
Many ballet teachers enforce strict dress codes, even for their youngest dancers. Some teachers assign particular colors for leotards, others prefer a certain style. Ask before you start shopping.

Choose a style.
Leotards are available in a variety of styles, including long-sleeved, short-sleeved, sleeveless, shoestring and bra strap.

Try it on.
Be aware that your regular clothes size will differ from your dancewear size. But the best way to get the right fit is to try the leotard on. Do a few stretches with your arms raised, noting any gaps in material or slipping of shoulder straps. Squat down, as in a plie', and check for pinching or gaping around the legs. Try several styles to find the style that best fits your body.





When deciding what to wear to ballet class, keep the following in mind: comfort and simplicity. The clothes you wear to practice ballet must allow you to move and stretch easily. Your clothing must also be tight enough for your teacher to check your body alignment during certain movements. Keep in mind, most ballet teachers prefer dancers to wear a cover-up of some sort to and from the studio. This is as simple as a pair of dance pants or a dance skirt paired with a crossover sweater or a sweatshirt worn over your leotard. Also, never use your ballet shoes as street shoes. Slip on a pair of Ballet shoe covers - available at Dance Gear, in order to prolong the life of your ballet shoes.

Women and girls:
A simple leotard and a pair of tights is the best thing to wear to class. Leotards are available in several colors and designs, including sleeveless, short sleeved and long sleeved. Young dancers delight in wearing small skirts over their leotards, but most teachers discourage them in older classes.

Men and boys:
A simple dance outfit is tight sweat pants or shorts paired with a tank top or t-shirt tucked in at the waist. Some prefer traditional leotards and tights, but with the tights worn on the outside.


Dancers, especially ballet dancers, tend to go through a lot of tights. Tights are meant to cling to the legs, so getting them on without a snag from a fingernail is sometimes tricky. Instead of pulling the tights all the way up from your toes, try bunching up each leg of the tights accordian-style in your hands before slipping in your foot. Then carefully unroll the tights onto your legs.

Always handwash tights or place them in a mesh bag before machine washing on gentle cycle. Allow the tights to hang dry.

If a small snag or run appears in the tights, apply a small amount of clear nail polish around the edges to prevent further tearing. This should allow you to slightly extend the life of the tights.

Note: Always carry an extra pair of tights to a recital or performance. Tights tend to snag easily, especially when worn on the legs of active little dancers.


One of the most important elements of a dancer's gear, dance shoes must be bought with great care. Each style of dance has a specific shoe designed for optimal performance and injury prevention. When picking out shoes for dancing, proper fit is of utmost importance, as wearing the wrong size shoes can damage the feet as well as the legs and ankles.

Check with Your Teacher
Teachers often have a preference for a particular shoe. Some teachers prefer their students to dance in bare or socked feet, while others require a particular jazz shoe. Some teachers allow gymnastic shoes or soft ballet slippers. Check with your dance teacher before you start shopping.
Make Sure They Fit
Make sure your dance shoes fit properly to avoid foot problems. Try on several sizes to make sure the fit is neither to loose nor too tight. Take your time to really make a good choice.