Dance leotards - Choose the right one for your costume

Leotards make a great base for a highly effective dance costume as they’re formfitting and allow both the teacher and audience to see the placement of the dancer’s body. They’re available in many different styles such as tank, camisole, cap sleeve, long sleeve, polo neck, frilled and skirted.

Tank leotards are the most basic of all leotards as they consist of a simple sleeveless tank-style torso. Camisole leotards are similar to tank leotards but they have thinner shoulder straps which allow for more intricate designs such as a double strap, criss-cross back, lattice back or rib back. Cap sleeve leotards have short sleeves, and are similar to long sleeved leotards in that they can have several variations in design such as an open back or ruche.

Leotards offer huge potential when it comes to colour and range of materials. Leotards are mostly available in either Nylon Lycra, which has a slight shine or Cotton Lycra which has a matt finish. Other fabrics used for leotards include velour, glistening, hologram and various printed fabrics. Velour has the rich appearance and feel of velvet, whereas glistening and hologram fabrics have a light reflective quality to create a glittery or sparkly effect. Leotards made from printed fabrics are available in prints ranging from tiger or zebra through to harlequin and rainbow.

One of the areas of greatest exploration for dance costumes is the use of colour as this has a direct impact on the audience’s emotions. Nylon Lycra and Cotton Lycra are available in a wide variety of colours which means that even the most basic of leotards can be used to either contrast or harmonise with the themes explored by the dance. Certain colours can be used to express certain emotions such as red to express anger or green for envy. Colour can also be used to portray temperature as colours similar to violet to create a cold feeling whereas orange evokes a feeling of warmth.

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