Offbeat Ballet has no formal uniform, however the clearer the outline of your body the better I can teach you. You’ll be moving your body to its fullest range of movement. Your feet need to slide on the floor, and also move through their full range.
Bike shorts, a snug t-shirt and socks will be fine.
However, traditional attire for a ballet class is a leotard, tights, something over the top for older girls or adults, and ballet shoes. If this appeals here are some pointers.
Small differences in leotard style can make a big difference in comfort and how it looks on your unique body.
When trying on, wear the bra you plan to wear in class. The bra must to allow you to move comfortably and jump without discomfort.
With the leotard on, move your legs to the fullest range, bend, jump and do arm circles. It shouldn’t cut in painfully anywhere, and everything should stay where should. Sleeveless is best for Darwin. Beyond that, choose the leotard you feel the most comfortable and confident in!
I highly recommend going to Dance World Darwin to try on a range of leotard styles, sizes and materials, rather than purchasing online.
If doubtful about size, go up, not down. You’ll appreciate it in the build-up! And light dusting of talc can help you ease them on when very humid.
Convertible tights – these have a hole underneath the foot (shown below) enabling them to be peeled off the feet and up over the ankles. Good for travelling to and from class in street shoes. You can feel the hole when wearing them with ballet shoes, but it’s soft.
Footed tights – the same except with no hole, so you can’t peel the feet off.
Dance-socks – made of tights fabric they have the benefit of tights when wearing your ballet shoes but aren’t as hot as full tights. Bear in mind though that full tights might be more comfortable when stretching either on the floor or at the barre.
Ordinary socks with ballet shoes – their extra thickness means you may need a slightly bigger shoe size. If you’re prone to blistering, tights or dance socks are a better option than bare feet or ordinary socks.
Pantyhose don’t stand up to the rigours of ballet.
Over the top
Chiffon skirt – pretty, practical and doesn’t hinder teaching.
Shorts – if skirts aren’t your thing. You just need to be able to move to your full range of movement in them. eg Stretchy shorts like bike shorts work well. Yoga trouser do too, so long as they hug the legs.
Please no harem-style trousers, they don’t allow me to see your technique clearly.
Legwarmers and cardigans won’t be needed! Tights are more than warm enough on active legs in Darwin!
Properly-fitting ballet shoes have no excess room in the toe or heel, and are snug but not tight across the width of your feet. Try them on with what you will wear on your feet – bare feet, socks or tights. Test all the variations by pointing your feet, slide your feet along the floor, jump. Then buy the ones you prefer.
Flat ballet shoes – In the longer term you’ll go through fewer socks if you wear proper ballet shoes! These need to be flat and soft like the picture above, not ‘Pointe shoes‘. They are made in either leather or canvas, and both of these materials come in a split-sole (below) and a full-sole (above). There are pros and cons to both. To be honest, I buy based on comfort – dancers do a lot of miles in these shoes. Shoes also come in varying widths.
Ordinary socks – these are fine. They allow for complete movement of the foot and for it to slide on the floor.
Again I recommend buying locally. No, Dance World Darwin isn’t paying me a retainer ;-P. I just find them reliable. I’m also old enough to remember how hard it was to choose the right gear when mail order was the only option! It’s wonderful to have access to an actual shop.
Firstly, go to the hardware store and buy a packet of cement mix.
Oh ok, I’ll be serious ;-P Hair needs to be fastened so when you flick your head round quickly (‘spotting‘) you don’t blind yourself. It also needs to still be properly fastened and not blinding you by your 3rd or 4th or 10th turn.
Little whispys round the face are very disorienting and blinding too.
The solution is, of course, the ubiquitous ballet bun. Unless you have hair like mine. *
If you like the ballet bun idea, all kudos to you. If you don’t, I ain’t gonna judge! Just fasten your hair securely, then quickly shake your head to test it will stay up. A headband can keep fringe and whispy bits at bay.
I googled for tutorials on making ballet buns, I have no idea how helpful they are, but enjoy!
*Generations of ballet mums have failed miserably to ballet-ify my hair. The bun is easy, but it leaves a frizzy halo impossible to smooth. Eventually ballet mums give up trying, and horrified, have to send me out on stage with unkempt hair. If a ballet mum can’t ballet-ify my hair, no one can. Ballet mums are Scary Creatures!
No jewellery in class please. Sleeper or stud earrings are fine.