I am often asked by students “what should we wear to class?” Here are a few tips for new dancers.
Attire: Instructor responses may vary on this but my rule of thumb is cool, casual & comfortable. Some dance class venues are very cold; some are quite warm. If you are cold natured, bring a sweater the first night until you see what the temperature is like. This is a social outing so if you are trying to impress someone I’d leave the frayed jeans at home. But, if its summertime and you are attending a dance workshop in a warm room with no AC, then shorts can be acceptable.
Shoes: When you are just starting out you want all the help and stability you can get. Ladies, I do not recommend wearing spiky open toed/heel shoes for your beginner lessons. You haven’t discovered your “dance balance” yet and exceptionally high heels might make things worse. What I like to do with bridal couples is to get their choreography under their belt while wearing more practical shoes; then graduate to the wedding shoes for the last couple of lessons.
Chances are you will step on toes or be stepped on which is why I recommend closed toe shoes for beginner lessons. Avoid flip flips or shoes that you slide into (i.e. for ladies this includes clogs, mules, etc.). A secure shoe that can’t fall off your foot is best. You sure don’t want to risk injury on the first lesson. A rubber soled shoe, like a tennis shoe is really not ideal as it may cause you to stick on the floor. A leather sole is best and should allow you to “slide” a little.
You don’t need to purchase expensive dance shoes or “practice shoes” unless you know for sure you are going to continue with this new and exciting time on the dance floor. A street shoe will be fine for beginners. As you progress and you want to purchase a dance shoe you can expect to spend anywhere from $50-150. Several of my students have taken a pair of their own shoes to a shoe repair store and have had a dance sole put on the shoe. This is generally pretty budget friendly at your local shoe store. But, remember, they are now dance shoes, so protect them – don’t wear them outdoors or get the soles wet.
Accessories: It’s good to bring a bottle of water with you to class to keep hydrated. If you are dancing an hour of high energy East Coast Swing you’ll probably need it. Bring a towel if you tend to perspire. Those who know me well know I don’t go anywhere without my sweat towel! I don’t glisten when I teach and dance, I down right sweat – so have one handy. If you do tend to get overheated while dancing, you might want to bring along an extra t-shirt and change into if needed. If not just for yourself, then for your dance partner.
Social Dances: Locally most of the ballroom/social dance venues are hosted by local USA Dance chapters (www.usadance.org) have a “dressy casual” dress code. This translates to no jeans. Ladies typically wear dresses, skirts, or slacks and a dressy blouse. Men don’t generally need a tie or jacket (unless indicated) but a nice button down shirt or seasonal sweater is nice. Be sure to inquire about the dress code of a dance event prior to arrival. It may be black tie or cocktail attire so don’t be caught off guard by arriving in a sundress when everyone else is wearing formal attire.
There are 3 USA Dance chapters in our area: Salisbury and Easton, Maryland and Dover, Delaware. Check them out!
Other questions? Feel free to contact Pam at www.ballroommadesimple.com.
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