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What is Dancewear?

Jun 14, 2008
There are a range of items commonly worn by dancers and known as dancewear. The types of dancing covered by the term dancewear include ballet, urban dance, and tap dancing. Dancewear items are also worn by other types of performer, such as acrobats, circus performers and some rock musicians. Certain types of dancewear have also become popular as fashion items with the general public.

Ballet shoes, also known as ballet slippers, are well known items of dancewear. Made specifically for the purpose, they are soft to the touch and light in weight and colour. They are in fact a precursor to pointe shoes, which are specially designed to allow the dancer to stand on their toes. Ballet shoes are worn by trainee ballet dancers until their feet and toes are strong enough to allow them to stand 'en pointe' meaning on the tips of their toes. Then they graduate to pointe shoes, which are also known as 'toe shoes'.

Pointe shoes tend to be worn by female dancers for dancing on the tips of their toes. This type of dancing is one of the classic attractions of ballet and demands great skill and strength. While female dancers normally wear pointe shoes, male dancers use this item of dancewear only occasionally, for specific roles.

Tap shoes are worn for tap dancing which is a highly rhythmic and percussive dance form that originated in North America in the nineteenth century. These items of dancewear incorporate small metal plates in their heels and toes. These are used to make rhythmic tapping sounds on the dance floor. So in addition to being dance shoes, tap shoes are musical instruments like castanets or drums that are 'played' by the tap dancer.

Tights are a popular item of dancewear. They are a form of light, tight trouser that fits closely to the body and are made from thin, stretchable material. They are ideal for dancing for many reasons. They accentuate the legs, show the feet, and give freedom of movement. Tights are usually made of nylon, cotton or lycra, or blends of these materials. Tights can be footed, unfooted, or with a stirrup to keep them from rolling up the leg.

Legwarmers are like long footless socks made of wool-type fabric, and are used by dancers to keep their calf muscles warm and so avoid strain injuries to their muscles, ligaments and tendons. This is another item of dancewear that has become a fashion item with the general public.

Leotards are one-piece items of clothing that cover the body but not the legs. Skin-tight and usually worn with tights, leotards can be long-sleeved, short-sleeved, or without sleeves. They were made famous by a French acrobat of the same name who was born in 1839. Leotards are popular dancewear items, used both as practice garments and performance costumes.

Unitards are like leotards and tights combined. They cover the legs and sometimes the arms too. In addition to being a popular item of dancewear, unitards are also worn by rock stars, wrestlers, circus performers, gymnasts and acrobats.

A tutu is a skirt worn by ballerinas for ballet performances. Tutus that stick out horizontally are known as 'pancake' tutus, and need to be carried in a special round bag to keep them in their correct shape. Other types of tutu can hang down, and these can be carried in normal clothes bags. Both pancake tutus and hanging tutus can be made in single or multiple layers.

All of these dancewear items can be bought online, where you can browse the items you are interested in. Whether you are a professional dancer or a student, you will find something to suit your needs and there are many good deals to be found.
About the Author
For further information regarding our range of dancewear, please visit our website at http://www.dancedirect.com
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