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.
The 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:
Nylon 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:
- Try it on and move around.
- Bend forward, backward and maybe to the sides too.
- 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.
- 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?
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.
Capezio 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 http://www.dancegeardirect.co.uk.