Why use a dance leotard?

The dance leotard is an essential piece of dancewear for many styles of dance such as ballet and jazz. Available in a wide range of different styles such as tank, camisole and polo neck, the dance leotard has been used by dancers for over 100 years.

To fully understand why the dance leotard is so popular for dancers we should look back to its origins in the 1800s. It was developed and made famous by a highly successful French acrobatic performer named Jules Léotard who lived from 1842 – 1870. By the 1920s and 1930s, the leotard had begun to influence the style of bathing suits and they could also be seen on professional dancers such as the showgirls on Broadway. Since then, the leotard can be seen in gyms, yoga classes, under-clothing garments and even street wear.

The main reason that the leotard is so well suited to the dancer is because of its formfitting quality. This refers to the skin-tight fitting which holds the dance leotard close to the dancer’s body. This accentuates the dancer’s physique which in turn enables the audience and dance teacher to clearly see the placement of the dancer’s body. This quality is highly important for many styles of dance such as ballet.

Jazz dancing also requires the dancer to clearly see the placement of their body. Though this particular style of dance may have a more relaxed approach to dancewear, the dance leotard is still considered the most appropriate, particularly for students. This is because it allows both the student and teacher to closely assess the technical development of the dancer. This is almost impossible when the dancer wears baggy or heavy clothing which hides the intricacies of their movement.

Dance leotards are most commonly manufactured from Nylon Lycra and Cotton Lycra. Both of these materials have the same formfitting, thermal and breathable qualities which enable them to keep the dancer’s body warm without the need for additional heavy clothing. The main difference between Nylon Lycra and Cotton Lycra dance leotards is the Nylon Lycra has a slightly glossy finish whereas Cotton Lycra is matt. Both of these fabrics are available in a wide range of different colours though black is the most popular in many dance schools.

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