Jump to content
Nicola H

what does what you wear say about you as a Dancer ?

Recommended Posts

just some slightly tangential thoughts  on the topic ... 

obviously  if you  wear a uniform  for class  - what  does that say about you ? it says i'm dancing at such and such school or i'm doing a particular syllabus

but more the subtle things  -   i did  hear a comment   from someone  that they felt  that despite  several years of  classes and a merit in VGE they didn;t feel they had 'earnt'  the right to wear a long skirt ...  as    long skirts are 'teachery'  unless you  are  doing  the  advanced VGEs

also various people;s thoughts on   leotard sleeve / strap options  can be telling aobut  mindset and their own bodily security/ insecurity ... 

 and it's not just  what  the girls / ladies  wear  , what does the various options for a chap 'mean' ... 

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Other than wearing certain things to indicate a recently injured (or otherwise sensitive) body part, I honestly don't think what people wear means anything.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think it means anything.

 

Long sleeves/dark tights could mean I haven't shaved or am cold. Leggings might mean I'm a bit bloated and tights are too tight to be comfortable. Shorts generally mean I didn't think about what knickers I put on under my leotard and they're sticking out the leg holes.

  • Like 13

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it can mean something to the individual person, but it's hard to generalise what that meaning is. 

 

For example, the majority of people at my dance school wear the classic pale pink ballet tights - I imagine because that is what you come up the grades wearing, so you have plenty of pairs and feel comfortable. My friend and I were discussing recently that we'd switched to black tights upon becoming pregnant - because as the body 'swells' we were less self confident. However, amongst the intermediate foundation and intermediate lot (age 11/12/13 so neither 'swollen' of body nor pregnant!) it is very trendy to wear black tights for any free classes to show that you are 'cool' and have moved onto the vocational stream (where free classes are more prevalent). They swan about like they are Margot Fonteyn feeling awesome. 

 

So in both cases, wearing black tights is saying something about us, but VERY different things. Us oldies are saying 'uh oh, we're getting a bit old and fat'. The young, trendy whippersnappers are saying 'we're SO cool and SO advanced that we're too grown up for pink tights'.

  • Like 9

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

whereas wearing greyish/pinkish/blackish tights means you a dance student who is too time and cash poor to wash them separately. At least that is my dd's excuse.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, mnemo said:

whereas wearing greyish/pinkish/blackish tights means you a dance student who is too time and cash poor to wash them separately. At least that is my dd's excuse.

Ah yes "grink" as that particularly fetching colour is known in our house. All DD's tights seem to end up that colour in the end!

  • Like 13

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not dance wear (but then I am not a dancer) but what I wear says about me is that I have absolutely no dress sense whatsoever!

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Or semi-laddered means they are a bit laddered, usually “grink” but still wearable.

 

usually with canvass shoes with toes poking through or soft blocks from a ripped apart pair of pointe shoes covered in ribena that leaked. 

 

Then the week or so before the exams rush out and buy new stuff because you realise how scruffy everything is.

 

When you say “VGE” does that mean vocational graded exams? I didn’t even know there was a skirt for these exams. I’m sure someone has mentioned a practise tutu for one of these though 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In RAD vocational exams, they can wear a short lycra skirt for the 'modern/neo' variation and practice tutu for the classical variation. In Grades 6 to 8 they wear a long chiffon skirt and also a character skirt. With a silk scarf for free movement and character shoes as well, there was quite a lot of gear to haul in to the Grade 6 exam!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What I would like to know is HOW TO KEEP BALLET PINK TIGHTS PINK?????? 

 

No matter what I do the tights lose all their colour after a few washes. So frustrating as I always ensure they end up in the white wash.

 

The pink ballet socks were no better. Any suggestions gratefully received. ^_^

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is the heat as well as colour from other items that turn tights grey. Wash on a wool or delicate wash setting on a low temperature with a delicates wash liquid.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just put them in a delicates bag with light-coloured things and wash at 40 degrees. They are still pink, but look greyer next to a new pair. We just keep a few new pairs in reserve for competitions, exams, performances. I figure the idea is for them to be 'leg-coloured' and the colour when they are new is very pink compared to most legs ;)

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My red shoes are special to me. I wanted a pair ever since I was little and my first ballet teacher wore red shoes, That was in 1959 - she wore black ski pants to teach and was cool and chic in an Audrey Hepburnish way. As a child I was fascinated by the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale (scary and gruesome as it is) and of course I love the film. I can't wear them often as my classes are either syllabus (so soft blocks) or on dance floors where leather shoes are too sticky. However I do have red pointe shoe covers that I can put on to preserve my pointe and soft block shoes.

 

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, balletbean said:

What I would like to know is HOW TO KEEP BALLET PINK TIGHTS PINK?????? 

 

No matter what I do the tights lose all their colour after a few washes. So frustrating as I always ensure they end up in the white wash.

 

The pink ballet socks were no better. Any suggestions gratefully received. ^_^

Ah, there's pink and there's PINK. Some come in a much pinker shade than others. Those can go in a 'pink/red' 30deg wash. My dd preferred them paler, so they went in a white 40deg wash, with shedloads of added Vanish. 

 

Oh, and faded navy leotards regain a bit of colour if you wash them on cool wash with a brand new pair of jeans! Faded black leotards get the new black leggings or socks treatment - the colour runs out of the new clothes and into the old (worked for me anyway). And never hang them on the washing line in bright sunshine :)

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just remembered – I treated DD to a Cloud & Victory leo for her 14th birthday (on sale, I add). It's the white 'Almond Blossom' one, and is beautiful – as well as organic. But the washing instructions? "We recommend you dry-clean this item". After I'd finished laughing, I threw it in the machine and told DD if it didn't survive, we'd chalk it up to experience :blink:

  • Like 14

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have 3 types of tights in this house

 

1 - Brand new - oooh look how clean and pink and pretty they are

2 - Grinks (I love that term!) - washed a few times,but still decent

3 - The desperation - Aaah all the good ones are in the wash/need washing and we have to leave in 15 mins, which of the desperate pairs to go for, the one with the hole in the toe or the one with a ladder from ankle to thigh.

 

Obviously most of the tights are a number 2 because I (or my husband) just chuck them in the washing machine with anything else pink. For a while I did hand wash them and that helped retain the pinkness and also helped get out the sweaty/dirty foot shaped marks on the bottom better(with lots of scrubbing) but I really can't be bothered doing that every week. So it's grinks unless she has an exam and then we buy 2 new pairs, never making the mistake of only having one new pair after she turned up for her grade 4 exam (straight from school) got changed into her new tights and managed to rip a little hole at the top of her inner thigh. As she waited (and practised) it slowly got bigger and bigger until you could just see a tiny patch of her skin right at the top of her thigh, I had to hike them up and skilfully twist/tuck the tights under the leotard.

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

on the subject of tights ... just don't wash them! She only gets about 3 wears out of them anyway on average. I figured if she can't be bothered to pick up dirty clothes from her bedroom floor, I can't be bothered to wash ballet tights :) 

 

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In my experience the boys are equally fussy about attire (and what is the current fashion) as the girls. DS has had a huge variety of weird and wonderful practise wear even when he was in uniform (even with the uniform  there were trends about just how high up that wide black elastic belt went, whether you ripped the arms off your t shirts, had round neck or V neck, wore a clown suit warm up effort, leg warmers or not etc). Now he's older he's even more fussy and it seems to be the dictates of 'showing the line' that are followed hence his recent birthday request for a veeery nasty (IMO) flesh coloured shorty unitard. Bleugh. Still, I guess at least he can get away with it figure wise (maybe part of my shudder is due to the concept of what it would look like on a less than Adonis-like physique haha).

  • Like 7

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
39 minutes ago, CeliB said:

In my experience the boys are equally fussy about attire (and what is the current fashion) as the girls. DS has had a huge variety of weird and wonderful practise wear even when he was in uniform (even with the uniform  there were trends about just how high up that wide black elastic belt went, whether you ripped the arms off your t shirts, had round neck or V neck, wore a clown suit warm up effort, leg warmers or not etc). Now he's older he's even more fussy and it seems to be the dictates of 'showing the line' that are followed hence his recent birthday request for a veeery nasty (IMO) flesh coloured shorty unitard. Bleugh. Still, I guess at least he can get away with it figure wise (maybe part of my shudder is due to the concept of what it would look like on a less than Adonis-like physique haha).

Lol, it's definitely not just a girl thing! Cycling sons are just as bad. The time my son spends preening before he goes for a ride is legendary. And whilst his big sister wears her grink tights without batting an eyelid, there's no chance he would be seen in cycling socks that have suffered any laundry mishap - he has to be immaculate and perfectly coordinated at all times!

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dd always seems reluctant to ever throw away any old tights, regardless of condition and despite the fact that there seems to be an unending need for new ones. Thus, we have a drawer full of ‘50 shades of grink’ - no two seem the same, even though I have spent endless hours lovingly hand washing them. Now they just go in the school laundry with heavens knows what, it doesn’t seem to make any difference 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ok I have a confession to make... I went into DD's room once and saw her 'dance drawer' half open with tights spilling out, lots of grinks. I was worried her drawer would break under the strain. She had a lovely pink cushion on her bed so I decided to remove the cushion inside and stuff it with all these grink tights instead .. genious :) 

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 hours ago, annaliesey said:

on the subject of tights ... just don't wash them! She only gets about 3 wears out of them anyway on average. I figured if she can't be bothered to pick up dirty clothes from her bedroom floor, I can't be bothered to wash ballet tights :) 

 

Oh, I must be the lucky one.

DD is 15 and I last bought her two pairs of tights back in Aug/Sept for the new term. Except for the grink colour they are still going strong and get washed daily in the machine! They even survived 16 performances of Panto. Not a ladder in sight. :rolleyes:

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

DD has to wear black tights to school as well as pink/grink for ballet. When a pair ladders, she just adds a second laddered pair – on the basis that ladders will never be in the same place B)

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What ballet clothes I wear mean several things to me. I think camisole leotards are prettiest. I love ringing the changes with different coloured leotards and skirts. I love leg warmers when it’s cold especially ones by Harmonie. If I wear tank leotards, it means I feel too plump to get away with a camisole one. My dds always went to schools that were very strict about uniform and everyone complained about the burgundy leotard they had to wear at one school - it didn’t suit anyone.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

An interesting title to the thread Nicola

 

My first response intuitively, it doesn’t say anything.

 

My second response is it depends where you are in terms of confidence and expressing your preferences. For example when I first started it was black tights, black ballet slippers given to me by one of the other ladies in our small country ballet class and a long top, after that was a school with a uniform protocol of pink tights and ballet slippers, black cap sleeve leotard and black chiffon tie round skirt, although I found I was the only dancer that fully complied.

 

My own preference as time went on changed to dropping the capped sleeves to either half inch shoulder straps or spaghetti strapped leotards, as for colour, these days it depends what my preference (mood) is on the day. I know many positively don’t like wearing pink or white, for me I’m quite comfortable in either with matching skirts or not. I have a whole range of colours. I do remember my first Christmas with my first country ballet class; I went there in a red long sleeved leotard and skirt to be in keeping with the Christmas spirit. These days I would never wear long sleeves unless it was called for in a performance piece.

 

My third response, it depends where I’m dancing,

  1. if  its  a normal regular ballet class, then it’s a leotard and skirt of my preference with pink tights and pink ballet slippers.
  2. If it a rep workshop it tends to be more appropriate to the piece being taught, eg I have in the passed I have worn a white leotard and skirt where we have been doing swan lake. If its one of my favourite pieces or likely to be, then I may go all out with a professional tutu, especially for the final run.
  3. If it’s an intensive, it’s very likely for me to wear a tutu especially if I can do it justice, it really doesn’t bother me that I am the only dancer in one. It’s a question of relevance. If for some reason I can’t do it justice, then I won’t wear a tutu as I believe it would look silly and inappropriate.
  4. The one-to-one intensive I attend with my boyfriend Adrian and PDD partner at Ballet West in Scotland, each piece we dance on the final day is always performed in costume, the costumes and accessories have to be relevant and realistic to the character rolls we are performing. In fact we are currently looking for crowns for the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier as we will be doing the Grand Pas de deux from the Nutcracker at ballet west this year.
  5. Performing on stage as a group, for me it makes no difference weather it’s an amateur performing group, or part of a ballet school showcase performance. There you wear the same as your fellow dancers irrespective of your own preference. I have unworn  tan and black tights left over from performances I have done in days gone by as well as the dreaded capped sleeve leotards

 

 

 

Other; following on from Fix’s remark about leg warmers and warm-up boots. Basically although I have these, I regard them as functional objects. I must confess I have never worn my warm-up boots to keep my feet warm, but to allow me to travel from the Centre for Business Art and Technology in North London to the Rambert Ballet School in Richmond, by underground. I was travelling in costume (covered) with my warm-up boots over my ballet slipper to allowing me to cross the road at Richmond Station to a waiting taxi to take me to my next performance.

As for leg warmers, yes I have used them for that, but also for repetitive kneeling down on a piece of Swan Lake rep( Opening of Act 4) that we were rehearsing once at RBS with LAB, that certainly helped protect the knees.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote

My first response intuitively, it doesn’t say anything.

 

People often say that about clothes. They're always lying (mostly to themselves). We're taught to think it's frivolous to worry about such things. Often the people putting the most effort into what they wear are the ones who claim most loudly that it's not important.

 

If it's a uniform it mean "I've agreed to wear what the teacher says" with all that goes with that.

 

In an exam I'll wear the specified exam gear as one of the hoops to be jumped through. I have  a bad attitude to exams. 

 

Most of the ladies I dance with seem to be constantly looking for the balance point between keeping themselves covered up enough to feel comfortable and exposed enough to show their line. Worrying if skirts are long enough or too long and so on. It's a pretty vulnerable outfit for a non-traditional ballet student living in our weirdly obsessed world to put on. 

 

My dance gear (closely fitting thin polo shirt and tights or dance shorts for preference) is partly chosen because it would feel inappropriate to be much more covered up than them in a class where I'm the only boy. I always feel like I'm out in my underwear in a t-shirt so it's almost always a polo shirt. Dark colours mostly because I prefer dark colours, an undershirt to keep me covered if the polo shirt rides up. 

 

Quote

I have unworn  tan and black tights left over from performances I have done in days gone by as well as the dreaded capped sleeve leotards

 

I have white tights from last year's performance because I needed to wear them to match the ladies. Scared the living daylights of them when I rushed up before going on stage and whipped off my tracksuit bottoms. There was a moment of fear followed by relieved giggles when they worked out what they were seeing. Not going to be wearing them to class!

 

I realised I was utterly lost when I started wearing leg warmers to/from class, if under my leggings. 

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Colman

 

I think if you were to summarise holistically what I was saying, it would be “it all depends what criteria you are applying”

 

In very basic terms, what you are wearing doesn’t say how well you dance.

 

I understand the general point you make in your first para.

 

For me it sort of reflects my position when I was at work, I was head of a design department and as such I was always dressed smartly in a dark skirted suit, I think basically it went with the territory, most of the office girls were either in trouser suits or slacks, the only other person who was similar dressed was my HR director. I guess I always wanted to present as a successful business woman not only to my company but to the suppliers and clients I dealt with especially our long standing transfer of technology clients around the world. I remember on such client where I had to travel to India to assist with a multimillion pound transfer of technology implementation as I was the design authority. The people on the ground I was working with were well qualified young ladies of about late 20’s to mid 30’s dressed in the most beautiful sari’s and it appeared to be a new clean sari every day, I don’t know if that was for my benefit or not. I was out there for a couple of weeks; during that time I was asked if I was wearing my companies’ uniform. I really did want to buy one of those sari’s, but never had the opportunity as I was working all the hours god sent either with that company or in my hotel working on documentation.

 

As for your comment about wearing a uniform, for me I would have no real objection, at least it does tend to suggest by appearance a flat hierarchy structure between the dancers of that class; anyway to me it just makes good sense.

 

The extract "I've agreed to wear what the teacher says" with all that goes with that. This is dangerous ground for me as a thinking dancer, there are some brilliant teachers out there, but there are some not so good. I will make my own mind up on that that one, that why a partnership relationship works far better for me and I guess why I do so much one-to-one work.

 

As for exams that doesn’t feature in my priorities

 

OK about most of your ladies finding a balance about being covered up against being exposed to show their line, I guess I can understand that.

For me I have a slightly different perspective, short skirts for ballet class as most of us tend to wear that, but the exception is where we a practicing rep that utilises a long skirt in the port de bra, a case in point is Giselle’s solo from Act 1.  I do remember doing a practice run at one of the studios I hire, at the same time the school was running a musical theatre summer school for youngsters. We all appeared to finish our sessions at the same time, this little girl came up to me and said “are you Snow White”, I couldn’t help but well up, she was so sweet, I will always remember that as a special moment.

 

I had and interesting observation concerning guys gear. I ran a group for about a year up to last summer called Glen Ballet, we had 3 guys in that group including my Adrian, all the guys swore blind they would never wear tights, but they were happy to wear leggings. I bought my Adrian both black and white footless tights and he’s happy that he’s wearing legging. However for the pieces we take up to Ballet West he has appropriate Tunics for his PDD character rolls. For me it’s important that they are as authentic as we can practically make them.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For me it's getting the balance between wearing something substantial enough not to fall out of, versus getting too hot! (i.e. neither spaghetti straps or tracksuits).

My first preference is definitely for a uniform, as long as it is one that comes in my size and provides enough support - if not, I will wear something of the same colour but in a style that suits me better.

 

Having said that, like Michelle, I have attended many classes which allegedly have a "uniform" to find I was the only one wearing it....

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, Michelle_Richer said:

I had and interesting observation concerning guys gear. I ran a group for about a year up to last summer called Glen Ballet, we had 3 guys in that group including my Adrian, all the guys swore blind they would never wear tights, but they were happy to wear leggings.

 

I don't get that. Really don't. I started with leggings, but only because that was all that was available locally. I've dressed in tights of assorted colours and as far as I can tell my male functions haven't noticeably deteriorated ! 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...