Equipment For The Beginner
You will definitely want to invest in ballet shoes, canvas or leather. Usually women wear light pink shoes and men wear black. Even though some studios might allow you to try out the class for the first time in socks or bare feet, you might have trouble turning and socks can be slippery. If you are taking a pointe class you will need special pointe shoes.
Rent available (RA) or Purchase (P) (next to the item note if RA is available)
You don’t want someone else’s sweaty leotard or stinky shoes so I suggest buying everything new!
Gear For The Beginner
- Water bottle (Stay away from sugary sports drinks!)
- Powdered Rosin to reduce slippage if you are taking a pointe class. Most studios will provide rosin for you.
- Hair bobby pins, Ponytail holder, Hair net, Hair Spray
- Band Aids to help break in those new shoes
Apparel For The Beginner
Call ahead to your studio and find out their dress code. When in doubt, wear pink ballet tights and a black leotard with warm-up clothes layered on top. Men usually are expected to wear black tights, a dance belt, and a tight fitting black or white shirt. Show off your muscles men! Don’t forget your ballet or pointe shoes.
Some classes will allow you wear whatever dance clothes you want but keep in mind that the tighter and cleaner your outfit is, the more constructive and beneficial the feedback about your body lines will be. On that note, if there is not a strict dress code, then the most important thing is for you to feel comfortable and good about yourself and your body. Dress accordingly!
For basic children’s classes, there is usually not a strict dress code but again it depends on the studio. If they are not required to wear a black leotard and pink tights, the room tends to look like a princess fashion show complete with poofy ballet skirts in every color of the rainbow and sparkles galore. Have a stubborn child? Let her take class in her street clothes at first and she is guaranteed to catch the ballerina princess fever. She will soon want her own outfit like her classmates and be excited to strut her stuff in class. A tight bun is applicable for a stricter dress code however if anything goes then bring on the butterfly tattoos, sparkly headbands, and bows.
If there is a strict dress code for the class, this code will translate to your hair as well. Pull your hair back into a tight bun away from your face. Secure with bobby pins and a hair net. Spray any flyaway hairs down with hairspray to achieve a clean look.
If you have a cute pixie cut and your hair is too short to pull into a bun just make sure it is away from your face and secured. Headbands work great for that! For a less strict dress code in a beginner class, sometimes a ponytail will work just fine.
Ballet slippers come in all different shades of pink and black, canvas or leather materials, and full or split-sole. It is a personal preference however the most popular shoes for ballerinas are typically light pink, canvas, split sole ballet slippers because they are comfortable and allow for a higher arch in your point. Usually you will want to order your street shoe size unless it says differently.
Almost all ballet shoes for children are leather. If your child is just starting ballet, usually their dance studio will carry them in stock so you can purchase them right before their first class. When in doubt, always go with the bigger size to accommodate those growing feet!
Sometimes children’s shoes are cut wider than adult’s shoes. (For example sometimes a size 1 child is equivalent to a size 3 adult).
Pointe shoes are a greater investment and for your first time you will definitely want to try them on in a store with the advice of a sales associate. There are many different styles of pointe shoes and you really want to find the right fit otherwise your feet will be much more prone to pressure in the wrong places and painful blisters. Start with your street shoe size and work up or down from there.
E/G/A Intermediate / Advanced
Apparel and gear is pretty standard across the board whether you are in a beginner, intermediate or advanced class. If you decide to progress to pointe work at the advanced level you will need pointe shoes and the accessories that go along with them.