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Full-Sole-Ballet-ShoesWhen you come to choose a pair of ballet shoes you will find that there is a whole host of different types on the market. Other than the type of fabric from which the shoe is made, one of the most prominent differences is whether the shoe has a full sole or a split sole.

The sole of a full sole ballet shoe covers the full length of the shoe from the ball of the foot to the heel. A split sole, however, has a break in the middle to allow for added flexibility. The best soles are usually made from leather, as it is very hard wearing, thus allowing it to withstand the heavy usage throughout dance classes.


Split-Sole-Ballet-ShoeBut which sole should you choose?

If you’re a beginner, you should wear a pair of full sole ballet shoes. This is because full sole shoes require your foot to work much harder in order to achieve pointe. This helps build the muscle in your foot which is required to dev  elop the very precise control you will require for ballet dancing. Only when you become more advanced will you be able to benefit from the extra flexibility allowed by split sole ballet shoes.


Pointe shoe

Pointe-Ballet-ShoesIf you wish to move around the performance space as though weightless, a style which epitomises ballet, you will be required to progress to pointe shoes. This is an altogether different type of shoe which has a unique structure that includes a “box” and “shank”. Should you progress to the pointe shoe, these two features will work together to support your foot and allow you to stand on the tips of your toes. This is an incredibly rewarding skill that takes many years of hard work and commitment to master.

Dance Gear Direct are experts in providing dance wear with over 30 years experience. For more information about our extensive range of ballet shoes please visit our website

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What are Summer Dance Schools?

A Summer Dance School can offer programmes that run from a week to the complete school holidays, with most being residential based. They are an excellent way for children to learn and explore all types of dance. During this time, dancers progress quickly and experience a new approach to learning with exciting new teachers and choreographers.ballet-3

Most summer dance programmes will offer a wide range of dance genres to include Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Modern and Hip Hop. Emphasis is generally placed on overall dance technique and working to advance the dancer’s artistic skills. Some summer schools are rather more specific in their genre, such as high-end ballet classes that aim to polish a dancers skills in preparation for entry to a dance academy. Summer schools of this category usually take the format of daily classes in techniques such as classical ballet and repertoire work, devised to enhance students’ classical technique and are designed to fulfil their desire to improve and advance in their chosen genre.

What do I look for when choosing a Summer Dance School?

Choose a summer dance school that offers the disciplines that will enhance your child’s needs. This of course will depend on the age of the child and what the type of dance is that they want to focus on.

A younger child could benefit from a programme that offers a range of classes, and different styles of dance, where an older student could most likely prefer to choose an intensive program that will provide a certain degree of challenge to help strengthen the abilities and focus on their individual needs.

The other consideration is whether you and/or your child is happy to stay away from home, residential schools tend to be more intensive and therefore a greater level of commitment and dedication is required. These tend to be more suited to older children.

Why do Summer Dance Schools take place?

Dance teachers incorporate summer dance programs into their studios for various reasons. Most of which allows them to;

  • Focus on the individual needs of a child
  • Incorporate all of the important aspects in training such as strength, and
  • Increase the child’s knowledge of dance.


In addition to the benefits that dancers may gain, summer schools are also a chance for colleges and dance academies to get a glimpse of the potential talent they may have auditioning, and gauge an idea as to a dancers’ possible suitability for their courses.

What are the benefits of attending a Summer Dance School?

There are numerous benefits for your child attending a Summer Dance School, apart from the obvious benefit, that in such a short amount of time the dancers will gain valuable techniques learned during summer dance training. Other benefits include:

  • Provide the chance to meet other like-minded and motivated dancers
  • Can be a welcome break from the confines of their regular dance school
  • Allows them to connect a little more with their individuality away from their dance school regulation
  • Mixed abilities of students take part
  • Most importantly it is the chance to have lots of fun!

What do you need to take to a Summer Dance School?

Most summer dance programmes finish with a dance display or competition, therefore an eye-catching leotard or tutu is a must. Apart from your


usual dance wear attire, accessories are always must needed along with a fashionable but practical dance bag. Dance Gear Direct have a fantastic selection of made-toorder dancewear along with a variety of dance bags and branded items from Bloch, Capezio and Roch Valley. If your dance wardrobe is need of a refresh, how about browsing the latest selection of bags, dancewear and accessories online at and get ready for your dancing holiday!

How do I find a suitable Summer Dance School?

Many Summer Dance Schools advertise online, or your regular dance school maybe holding a summer programme or may know of one to recommend. If not, you may find this link of use in locating a suitable dance school programme this summer;

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What are dance sneakers?

Dance sneakers are a type of footwear designed for dancing. They are specially designed to support the feet, but still allow for bending, spinning, and movement. Dance sneakers should only be worn for dancing; they are not intended for general use, because they often do not provide enough arch support for daily walking.

What types of dance sneakers are available?

There are different dance sneakers available for different types of dance, such as street and hip-hop.

sneak1Often, dance sneakers are designed with a split sole. This means that there is sole support in the front, underneath the toes and ball of the foot, and the back, underneath the heel of the foot. There is no sole in the middle of the foot under the arch, however.

This split sole design allows the foot to bend much more freely when dancing. Some feature straps along the side to give the arch a small bit of support. Other types of dance sneakers have a very thin, extremely flexible sole over the entire sneaker.

Some dance sneakers feature additional benefits, such as smooth spots on the soles to make spinning sneak2easier, or notches in the heel to make it easier for a partner to lift another dancer. Sneakers are typically lace-up; slip-on shoes are not common. The sneakers are typically made of leather, canvas, or suede; leather and suede shoes tend to be more expensive than others. Again, the style, type, and features of the shoe vary depending on the type of dance for which it is intended.

What features should I look for in a pair of dance sneakers?

Dance sneakers are designed with keeping the dancer’s demands such as the flexibility and comfort during the movements. They employ innovations such as;

  • Dynamic Resistance Technology [DRT]; this makes use of lightweight materials like sleek leather along with mesh upper. This gives good breath ability to the feet with comfort
  • sneak3Smooth spin circles for the quick effortless turns and the finger notch in the heels provide the confident partner lifts
  • Variable lacing system and this gives a foot hugging fit to the dancer
  • Grooves on the forefeet increase the flexibility in the movements
  • The insole can be removed during the required time and cleaned; they are made up of Ethylene Vinyl Acetate [EVA] to provide the supplemented support to the feet
  • The mid sole is always made up of Poly Urethane [P.U] and this gives the perfect cushioning to the feet. This allows the dancer to be more convenient during action.
  • The split sole design gives the best arc support and enables excellent orthotic inserts
  • Light weight non-marking outsole gives the mandatory shock absorption to the dancer and they also add to the agility of the person.

What types of dance are dance sneakers used for?

Dance sneakers are used for many styles but are particularly popular for:sneak4

  • Break dancing
  • Hip hop
  • Street dance

Where can I purchase dance sneakers?

There is a wide range of dance sneakers available on the market from many major dance brands such as Capezio, Bloch, Roch valley and Dance Gear.

If you’re buying your first pair or if you’re not sure what size to choose, it’s a good idea to get them fitted at a local dance shop. However, if you’re confident that you know what size and style you want to purchase then you’ll find much more competitively priced dance shoes online. These sneakers are generally not found in general shoe stores.

Dance Gear Direct are experts in providing dance wear with over 30 years’ experience. For more information about our extensive range of ballet shoes please visit our website

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Step-By-Step Guide on How to Choose the Perfect Ballet Shoe

A ballet leotard is a piece of dancewear designed specifically for dance. It’s skin tight, covers the torso leaving the legs and usually the arms free, and its main purpose is to allow for complete freedom of movement.

Leotard1The ballet leotard is particularly well suited to dance because of its tight fitting – or formfitting – quality. This holds the leotard close to the dancer’s body to accentuate their physique whilst allowing them complete freedom of unrestricted movement. In turn, this allows the dance teacher, choreographer and audience to clearly see the placement of the dancer’s body which is highly important to provide the best possible performance.

Step 1: Choose your style

There are simply hundreds, if not thousands, of different designs of leotard available between which we can choose the one that fits us better. The most popular ones are:




Tank: This is the most basic of all leotards.It consists of a simple sleeveless tank-style torso.



Camisole: These are similar to tank leotards but have thinner shoulder straps which allow for more intricate designs such as double strap, criss-cross back, lattice back or rib back.

Cap Sleeve: This style of leotard has short sleeves and can have several variations on design such as an open back, ruche or polo neck.

Long Sleeve: As the title suggests, leotards of this nature have full length sleeves. Similar to the cap sleeve variety, the long sleeve leotard can have several variations on design such as an open back, ruche or polo neck.



Frilled or Skirted: The frill or skirt is usually attached to the leotard near the waist of the dancer. However, sometimes the skirt can originate from higher up the leotard such as on the Lyrical Dress where the skirt originates from just under the bust line.



Step 2: What fabrics are available?

When you think of ballet leotards, you probably think of cotton lycra or nylon lycra in black, white and pastel colours such as pink and blue. However, leotards actually look superb in a range of different fabrics too. Here we have some examples of the most popular ones:

pic4Nylon Lycra: It has a slight shine. It offers 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.

Cotton Lycra: It has a matt finish. As well as nylon lycra, cotton lycra also offers a wide variety of colours with the same benefits.

Metallic and Hologram: These fabrics have a light reflective quality to create a glittery or sparkly effect.

Printed Fabrics: Leotards made from printed fabrics are available in prints ranging from tiger or zebra through to harlequin and rainbow.



Velour: It has the rich appearance and feel of velvet.




Step 3: What’s my size?

If you want to know if a leotard fits you or you want to know if you’ve bought the right size, you can follow the next steps in order to find it out:pic6

  1. Try it on and move around.
  2. Bend forward, backward and maybe to the sides too.
  3. If the straps on the front of the leotard don’t move too much then it’s likely that the leotard is a good fit.
  4. Other good tell-tale places of a well-fitting leotard are between the legs and under the arms. If your leotard pulls under the arms or between the legs when you try it on you need to choose a larger size. If, however, your leotard is baggy in any way, try a size smaller

Step 4: What about children leotards?

The importance of choosing quality leotards cannot be underestimated in providing the correct fit for your child. More and more dance teachers are allowing their students to wear their own choice of leotard, so there is a range of factors to consider when buying yours so we thought we’d outline a few of them here:

Firstly, does your school follow a regulatory body?pic7

Before you purchase your dance leotard, check with your dance teacher whether your school follows a certain regulation such as RAD or ISTD. There are different uniform requirements for different exams, so your child may start in a short sleeved leotard but change to a sleeveless dance leotard as they progress through different grades.

Different styles make a huge difference

Fashion leotards with more intricate strap designs are generally more limited to adult leotards. However, an increasing number of leotards with fashionable designs such as criss-cross straps, spaghetti straps and low backs are becoming available to children which further increases your choice.

Ensure that you get the correct size

When your child tries their leotard on at home or in a shop, allow them to do a few simple movements to see whether there is any irritation and whether there is a suitable amount of growing room. If you get the leotard too large though, there may be the risk of the leotard falling down off the shoulders. Equally, if the leotard is too small it may cause some discomfort in areas such as under the arms.

pic8Capezio and Bloch Leotards

Capezio and Bloch provide excellent choice of style, design and quality to all their dance leotards and now provide a large variety of children’s leotards. A number of these are in cotton with a mixture of nylon to give better stretch but also breathability. More leotards are also available in different choices of colours, purple and pink colours are particularly popular with children. Don’t ignore other makes as well, Roch Valley do a variety of different styles for children.

Dance Gear Direct are experts in providing dancewear with over 30 years experience. For more information about our extensive range of ballet leotards, please visit our website