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adult recreational dancers' trend watch - what's in, what's out, what is all time no-no


mimi66
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If you have been to open ballet classes long enough, you will have noticed that even in adult open ballet class, there are certain trends in class room attire. 

 

I thought it would be fun to share what might be considered in, out and NEVER for adult amature dancers in classes they go to. 

 

I would like to keep it as light-hearted as possible, so please keep that in mind when you post. Also please limit your comments to class room attire (or hair) only, not for repertoire workshops or performance related classes.

 

I also look forward to comments from dancing men!

Edited by mimi66
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The trend I have noticed is the return of the wrap chiffon skirt - although this time it is very short (just below the clotch - almost!) and plain (no patterns).  Tiny shorts (knitted or otherwise) seem to have had thier days, at least for the youngish.

 

I have pulled out my old wrap skirt (very short, but patterned)  from its retirement home  - I pair it with my short leggins (instead of tights). 

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Men in white tights.  NEVER in class.

 

I really want to stress this as a chance conversation revealed that someone who wanted to strat learning ballet were put off, because he (and others around him) thought he had to wear white tights in the class.... :blink:

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I have noticed the trend for wearing black and for wearing skirts or shorts. Mimi66, as you say, there seems to be more skirts around than shorts at the moment. I wonder whether adult dancers choose these cover-ups because we are a bit embarrassed about sweat showing through?! There was a changing room discussion recently about picking specific leotard styles - and cover-ups - to hide areas where you feel self-conscious about sweat showing!

 

I think whoever invents a leotard material that stops sweat showing through will become a millionaire!

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I would say crocheted bun nets probably not the best idea and even as a beginner dancing in socks not a great idea in case you slip. Teachers are always very happy to advise on appropriate footwear to meet the needs of the individual. If you wear soft ballet shoes then get someone to show you how to sew the elastics on properly if not already attached.

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Degas leotards are the same and I agree, meryl does not show stains. I danced in one on one incredibly hot August evening, when two fans made no difference but my leotard was fine, whereas I could have been wrung out by the end of class!

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Yep the Meryl that the degas Leo's are made from helps and the full front lining they have soaks up the sweat - it is sopping after my class (sorry to much detail!) But it barely shows through on the Leo - which means I can wear all sorts of colours and not worry about sweat patches...but I am a black Leo person, which means so far I've ventured to burgundy and purple ;) but that's progress :)

Skirts are definitely back in vogue. I've always worn one to help me with the whole pink tights thing ;) but rather than just black chiffon they are getting quite flamboyant! So between my colouful skirts and legwarmers, I can continue to wear black leotards - clever! :D

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You haven't got a grey flimsy floaty net type skirt wrap have you Sheila!! No only joking!! (Big Ballet thread)

 

Ive seen some very pretty wraps in classes recently and am tempted too.

 

The irony is that although I hated being a horrible spider dressed all in black....guess what I mostly wear now! Well black tights and black tunics often over a black Uniglo top......though have ventured into some other colour tops recently.....mostly hidden by the black tunic of course.

The trouble is more pastel colours really require pink tights I think.......which haven't ventured into.....and pink tights somehow require pink ballet shoes.

Perhaps I need someone to nag and drag me away from all this black!!

Now who could that be.....Michelle.....where are you.....

.....but absolutely NO white okay!!

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Dance sugar plum: I think they have, at least mine doesnt show sweat! It's a material called meryl I think and its in one of my capezio leotards. It's thicker than nylon but nicely stretchy, very good at keeping me warm or cool and its never shown sweat.

 

Munchkin - Thanks for the tip.

 

I used to have a shirt, which I think was made of a nylon type of material (that was what it felt like). It was nicely fitted and looked smart but awful if you were sweaty! The material seemed to make you sweat even more if you were sweating, which is why I have stuck with the cotton leotards. I wouldn't like to wear a leotard made with the same type of material as that shirt, which is why I made my earlier comment about leotard materials!

 

I have a navy leotard, which is a nylon-y (that's the best word I can think to describe it) material. It's pretty good at hiding sweat, but if it were a lighter colour I think the sweat would show through. I'll definitely look into the meryl material leotards. I'm still trying to decide which of the Degas styles I should get. I can't decide whether to get one with a skirt attached or not!

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My favorite classroom get up was a black tank leo over a pair of pink tights that I had converted into a top.  That kept me warm while at the same time was easy to take off (a sweaty long sleeve leo is a pain to take off) and relieved the totally black look.   Also the converted pink tights into a top was not only warm but  light to wear.  I had some which I let the sleeve (legs) remain long for chilly mornings and others I cut quite short for warmer days.

 

Then a black chiffon wrapped skirt (midd thigh length - I made my own) covered by a dark sweater wrapped over my hips.  I once said to another dancer that if I ever lost that beloved black sweater, i would never dance again - and that is exactly what happened.

 

I also knitted a pair of pink warmies to cover my ankles and arches - they were secured by a wide elastic that ran under my shoes.

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I take three classes:

  • Northern Ballet Academy's class in Leeds for the over 55s on Thursday morning or if I miss that Tuesday morning;
  • a mixed age, mixed sex and mixed ability class at the Base Studios in Huddersfield on Tuesday night; and
  • a mixed ability class at Huddersfield University on Wednesday night where most of the students are women undergraduates.

The only class with a dress code is Northern Ballet's which mandates as follows:

 

"Clothing should be loose and comfortable so that you can move easily. No denim please. Footwear is dependant (sic) on each dance style but on the whole we recommend that students have bare feet or flat ballet shoes."

(someone can't spell).

 

I normally turn up in a t-shirt and leggings.  One or two people turn up with expensive looking dance wear but they are not the ones who stay when the clocks go back or the exercises become more difficult.

 

I have taken one class at Pineapple where everything including the dress code is much more serious.

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Well, I never thought ballerina buns are also subject to the fashion of the day...

 

I have noticed lately that youngish ones began to do their hair with bigger buns placed higher on the head - sort of after Marge Simpson.  Then after watching video blogs from this year's Prix de Lausanne (OK, they are talented young people in vocational trainng), I think it's official - big buns a la 60's are back!

 

Not that it is likely that I would follow this "trend"...I find it rather amusing to see those hair-do on today's teens and bearly 20's: because those are how my mother and young aunts used to were when I was very young.  Brings back those nice memories of childhood. :)

Edited by mimi66
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Generally speaking, the low bun was considered very romantic - such as in Giselle  Act II.  However, in La Sylphide, which is certainly one of the oldest of the Romantic ballets, the bun was very high  on the head, but that was to accomodate the hairpiece which circled the top of the head.

 

In Swan Lake the bun is usually in the middle - between low and high - on the back of the head.  This is often done to accomodate the ends of the feathered head piece.

 

If one looks at pictures of dancers before Balanchine, seeing a dancer performing with hair in a bun is fairly rare - except in ballets like Giselle Act II.  Every picture in Kschessinskaya's "Dancing in St Petersburg" - has her hair down.  If you google/images of Galina Ulanova, in almost every picture of her in performance her hair is not in a bun, it is down - controlled but down.

 

Balanchine dancers often placed the bun high on the back of the head to give length to the neck. 

 

An interesting classical look was a bun in the back - while two coils of hair circled the ears.  I tried that once and I couldn't get it to work with pins - it would mean some kind of glue to keep it in place.  I wasn't willing to glue my hair.

 

My hair was well below - well, I could sit on it.  So, I had to devise a very special way to create and pin the bun - my hair was not only long but heavy.  I noticed in a documentary on Russian ballet, how the hairdresser was fixing a dancer's hair and I used that method and in all the years of dance my hair never came down.  

 

It's interesting how we assume dancers always danced with their hair up.

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And the doughnuts often make the buns bigger and both my DDs have seen more people using them this past year.

 

Adult classes at our school, mostly black leotards, a few dark burgundy with either black tights or leggings and short wrap around black skirt.  Skirts seem to be mostly plain but leotards with lace or fancy back details are very much in.  Detail rather than strappy.  Hair - mostly pony tails for the adults.  The only ones with buns are the younger adults with longer hair.

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I tried using the doughnut for my bun but it just made my head look bigger! Well, I thought it made my head look bigger the first time I used it so I've not used it since.

 

I used to put my hair in a ponytail for class when I first started ballet. But the teacher said he didn't like people adding 'extra movements', such as flicking the head after recovering from a forward port de bras to get your hair out of the way, so buns were encouraged. Many teachers have said ponytails are not good because they ruin your pirouettes - you become worried about your hair hitting you in the face that you don't spot properly.

Edited by Dancer Sugar Plum
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I should have said the teacher was talking about anyone who had long hair that was long enough to go into a bun. If I remember correctly there were a number of women in that class who kept their hair completely down at the start of term and the teacher had to explain why this was not helpful for ballet class. Needless to say it was a beginners' class. But if it was not explained to me why it was a good idea to have your hair in a bun (if it was long enough to go into a bun) I wouldn't have worked it out for myself!

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At first pirouettes are difficult, too, in a tutu.  

 

I find this very interesting and it's something I've not thought about before.

 

I'm interested to know how wearing a tutu would make pirouettes more difficult? Would the weight placement need to be different to do pirouettes?

 

And would doing pirouettes feel different wearing a practice tutu compared with a stiff performance one?

Edited by Dancer Sugar Plum
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I find this very interesting and it's something I've not thought about before.

 

I'm interested to know how wearing a tutu would make pirouettes more difficult? Would the weight placement need to be different to do pirouettes?

 

And would doing pirouettes feel different wearing a practice tutu compared with a stiff performance one?

 

The first time I put on a tutu - a long practice one - I noticed immediately that when I finished the pirouette (stopped moving) the tutu skirt kept moving (a bit of a swirl) for a second or two after my body was still.  When you were iittle and if you swirled a new skirt (as I always did) you probably didn't notice the tiny  difference between when your body stopped moving and when the skirt stopped moving.  You probably weren't sensitive to it and in any case it didn't matter.  But, as a dancer, when you finish your pirouette and something keeps moving - even for a second or two - it is distracting at first.

 

It was especially noticeable to me in doing fouettés because that is a sequential turn with many starts and stops.

 

It does make a difference in the newness (crispness) of the fabric --the different kinds of fabric - the weight of the fabric - its density -  and the length of the skirt.  

 

You do fairly quickly learn to expect it and to disregard it.

 

It also makes a difference if there is any costume design on the skirt - sequines, embroidery, etc.

 

The other thing I found startling when I first put on a tutu - was that I couldn't see my feet - or -  especially in a short tutu - the entire lower half of my body. We have trouble relating to that which we can't see.  We are visually dominant creatures.

 

It is then that you truly know what  your teachers meant by "don't look down to fix something  - learn how it feels when it's correct."

 

I remember thinking "I wonder what my feet are doing?"   :)

Edited by Anjuli_Bai
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