What is the purpose of a dress code?

In dance, like many sports, there are specific dress codes and required attire for each class. Something I hear, most frequently when dancers grow into the pre-teen/ teen age group is that they don't want to wear their fitted ballet clothes, uncomfortable tights, etc. or maybe a parent doesn't understand why a dancer may wear a crop top and expose their stomach. I understand the concerns and body image issues regarding dress codes and dance attire from both a dancer and a parent standpoint, but I assure you dress codes exist for good reason. I hope this quick read sheds some light on the importance of dress codes in dance.

I think it's so important for dancers, both children and adults, to feel comfortable in their clothing to dance at their best level. There are many options for comfortable leotards and tights nowadays. I would definitely test out dance wear at home before wearing to class, much like you would break in a pair of new sneakers before wearing for a race. If your dancer is having a hard time wearing certain clothing, maybe the fit truly bothers them and there's another style, brand, etc. that works better.

I can tell you from experience that when I can see my body, how i'm moving, what my posture looks like with fitted clothing, I'm much more aware of what my body is doing. I stand taller, make sure to close my rib cage and correct my alignment. When dancers wear baggy shirts, pants, etc. a teacher cannot see their alignment and it makes it very difficult to correct a dancer. For example, this past weekend at the gym I decided to wear a top that had mesh on the stomach/ back. I engaged my core during my whole work out because I was much more aware of what my body was doing. This helped me prevent injury or using poor form simply by being able to see my body. Try it during your next class or work out and see if you notice a difference in how you use your body.

Why do we have to wear our hair in a slicked bun?

In ballet, buns are required but I would recommend wearing them to all classes. When I was younger and still to this day, when taking any class I would wear my hair in a secure bun. I feel much more confident and comfortable in class knowing my hair isn't whipping me in the face, falling out, etc. When a dancer is in class, their focus should be on learning, growing and moving forward. With hair falling out or bothering you, you cannot give your undivided attention to your teacher, your technique or your growth. To truly grow you must be able to focus on improvement. Whether it's your clothes or your hair, if you are fidgeting with something you cannot focus which means you cannot use your full potential and that's just a shame to not be your best because of a silly thing like your hair is in your face.

Tights, what's their importance?

Leg circulation and injury prevention of tendons are very important issues for a dancer. When putting steady pressure on feet and legs, as dancers do, we need all the support we can get to improve and support circulation in these areas. Tights offer light compression that has been proven to improve circulation in the feet and legs. The ballet pink color helps show the muscles that are working in the legs, which is important for a teacher to be able to ensure proper technique is being used by dancers.

Ballet is the most strict of all styles of dance. It requires intense discipline on every level, so it makes sense to have the most strict dress code as well.

Aside from just ballet or wearing a specific color of tights, the first step to becoming a great dancer is showing that you can follow direction. To me, if a dancer cannot follow a dress code, it shows they are not very serious about their career in dance. I hope this quick article helps you in understanding the importance of following direction and wearing dress codes when required.

If you have any questions about clothing brands/ styles or dress codes in general i'm happy to help answer any questions.

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