Category Archives: I Love Ballet Clothes!!

BalletNerd’s February Top Ten List

Advice for Adult Newbies from a Newbie – A few ideas I wish someone told me before my first class.

10. Buy ballet shoes. You will need them.  Socks don’t cut it.  The leather soles help strengthen your feet and the shoes provide support.  They aren’t that expensive and are easy to find on Amazon or Zappos.  If you don’t feel like going to a local dance store, order several sizes from a website with free return shipping.  Oh and buy pink.  Don’t buy black shoes unless you’re a guy.  Myself, I like leather split soles by Bloch.

9. Read and Research. Read as many ballet books and ballet websites as you can.  It helps immensely with understanding what is going on and for grasping combinations faster.  Understanding that a combination will most likely be performed en croix (front, side, back, side again) was huge for me.  Hahah – I had to have that explained by a book.  Not sure why, but I would have never picked up on that from observation alone.

8. Try wearing the leotard and tights. I know a lot of adult classes only require “clothes that allow for ease of movement”, but take the risk.  It immediately makes me feel more dancerish, even if I suck ass that day.  Capezio leotards are affordable and available on Amazon and almost any online discount dance store.  I like the super soft Capezio convertible tights, too.  Ballet pink is the easiest to deal with because black footed tights and pink shoes look a bit ridiculous.  If you’re dead set on black – go with footless or convertible rolled up.

7. Perform combinations without following others. Again, this was a concept I had to have explicitly explained by a website.  When the teacher marked out the combination, I was just paying attention to make sure I could physically do each step.  I wasn’t even trying to memorize how many times each step was performed because I figured I could just look at the others.  Push yourself to memorize the combination.  Standing at the end of the barre is also a great way to test yourself on this.  This also becomes much easier once you have memorized the common steps.

6. A little legwarmer goes a long way. You might want to hold off on the legwarmers until after the first couple classes.  I love how they look but won’t wear them yet.  Don’t want to over do it and look like I’m trying too hard, at least not the first couple classes anyway.

5. Work on stretching and flexibility. It gives you something to do to keep from being all weird and fidgety on the first day while waiting for the entire class to show up.  Plus even if you are not great at dancing, you can show off some amazing flexibility.  My goal is to be the 2nd in my class to get down in a split.  (Yeah 2nd? I know what you’re thinking why not 1st, but I’m trying to be realistic – see #3).

4. 2x a week minimum. Take class at least twice a week, even if that means going to different studios/schools.  You’ll progress much faster.

3. Realistic goals. You’re not going to go from zero ballet training to amazing arabesques by the third class.  Be happy with your baby steps.  It is so inspiring to hear of other adult beginners and their progress.

2. Show up and keep showing up. This is really a tie for #1.  Even if you stink one week, keep coming back.

1. Number 1 and most important.  For 90% of class – THE OTHER STUDENTS ARE NOT REALLY WATCHING YOU !!! Don’t be too self conscious.  Everyone else is too busy watching their own bumbling newbie selves.  Only the teacher is paying attention to the class as a whole.  At first I did not believe this one – but after a few classes you realize it’s true.

Capezio – the gateway leotard

I could easily spend a small fortune on leotards.  I quickly jumped on the leotard and tights band wagon as soon as I realized I was enrolled in a ballet class.  Some people cringe at the thought of climbing into a skin tight leotard.  I love it.  Not that I’m the thinnest or tiniest person in the room, but I do love everything about the “ballet class look”.  Lately, I’ve been switching it up between a black cap sleeve Capezio leotard and a burgundy version of the same style.  They were moderately priced, comfortable, and easy to find on Amazon.  I would also recommend them to any adult beginner hesitant to go the leotard route.  The Capezio tank style is also quite comfortable.  These are great starter leotards and perfect if your class has a strict dress code; however, I find myself seduced by ballet wear.  The plain Capezio styles just arouse my leotard appetite.  The standard dancewear sites offer the usual, a smattering of colors and styles, but I am looking and hoping for more.  After I spent an entire night combing the internet, I found a few sites that are heads and shoulders above the rest.  They are presented below in the order in which I found them.  The tricky balancing act – how to wear some of these leotards without looking like a complete wannabe that is over doing it.

Eleve Dancewear
Custom designs that are thoughtful and different.  The dancers modeling the leotards are beautiful.  I have to keep reminding myself that just because I buy one of these leotards does not mean I will instantly look like these women.  These are the first leotards I’ve seen with the option of patterned nylon or patterned mesh fabric.  I’m really impressed by the variety of different leotard style designs, not just color/fabric options.  I only wish there was a virtual leotard, which could be updated as I make color/fabric selections.  The designs may be over the top for some classes and are not for wall flowers.  You will definitely be calling attention to yourself – but in a good way!!

Yumiko
Hot and minimalist custom leotards.  Created the rehearsal leotards worn by Mila Kunis and Natalie Portman in Black Swan.  Note the Black Swan versions are available by phone.
The “Wendy” style is probably my favorite.

WearMoi
The designs are pretty and delicate.  I read rave reviews on discussion boards. Although you can not customize the leotards, the styles are very sophisticated and perfect for the classical ballet class.

Degas
French ballet leotards that are refined and professional.  The sizing chart is a bit confusing.  I recommend calling customer service with sizing questions to get it sorted out right from the beginning.
The good news – if they do not have your size or color you can place a special order.  A great range of solid colors and I love the seam details on some of the bodices.  Reviews have mentioned that the tulle added to some styles is a bit itchy.

Let me know if you have any other favorites!!