Offbeat Ballet has no formal uniform, however the clearer the outline of your body, especially your torso and your knees, the better I can teach you. Your feet need to slide on the floor, and also move through their full range.
Bike shorts, a snug t-shirt (as snug as you’re comfortable in) and socks will be fine!
If you fall in love with ballet, you can buy proper ballet shoes from Dance World Darwin
However, (and here’s where the fun begins!) …
Traditional attire for a ballet class is a leotard, tights, a skirt or shorts of some kind over the top for older girls or adults, and ballet shoes. There’s a good reason for this. It’s the easiest to move in, shows off the beautiful balletic lines of the student’s body, (which beginners will be starting to develop), and is actually extremely flattering to every body.
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 needs 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 it should. Sleeveless or cap sleeves 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 in doubt, size up, not down – you’ll appreciate it in the build-up! A 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 peel off the feet and up over the ankles. Good for travelling to and from class in
daggy thongs street shoes. You can feel the hole when wearing 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 full tights will make it easier for your legs to slide past each other (think 5th position) and 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, flattering, 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!
For beginners, ordinary socks are fine to start with. But eventually (assuming you fall totally in love with ballet!) you’ll want proper shoes.
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, sliding your feet along the floor, jump. Then buy the ones you feel the most comfortable in.
Flat ballet shoes – flat and soft like the picture below, 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.
Shoes also come in varying widths.
To be honest, I buy based on comfort – you’ll do a lot of work in these shoes.
Preferably, buy locally as you really need to try various shoes, with the help of a trained fitter. 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 securely 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. No matter how much gel, there’s a frizzy halo that’s impossible to smooth. Eventually even 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 – if it comes unfastened it could cause injure 😦 Sleeper or stud earrings are fine.