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How to Choose the Right Dance Apparel

Kashmira Lad
It's not just enough to shake a leg on the floor. Your dance wear also has a huge role to play. Here's how to find the right threads to complement your dance form.
Dance can never be complete without the use of appropriate dance wear. Can you ever imagine the 80s' screen scorcher 'Dirty Dancing' showcasing its female lead, Frances 'Baby' Houseman (Jennifer Grey) in pink jazz pants and fluffy tops? Not a chance! 'Baby's' stunning moves were complemented with dainty figure-hugging dresses and Lycra-based outfits.

If you are a dancer, you can probably gauge the significance of a dance wear. Life would be very bland without color. The same holds true for any performance sans the right costume. From the professionals on stage, performing to mesmerize audiences, to the nervous student learning his/her moves across the floor, dance apparel has many roles to play. And how!

To the novice, dance wear is the term affixed to the apparel worn by dancers. Different styles of dancing require varied treatment in colors, patterns, textures, and fits, and also the uniformity in design, if it is a group dance. It could be a tutu, skirt, leotard, or even a particular heeled stiletto.

Comfort is the keyword. Every dance form has a particular technique, and the costume should allow maximum freedom of movement. Some dances require a lot of aerobic styled steps, whereas some incorporate slow, sleek, and sensuous moves. The dance wear has to enable the dancer to express himself/herself in the best possible way. 
A costume that causes the performer to fret about it all the time, is simply not going the right way. When a dancer rehearses or performs on stage, any uncomfortable costume will prove to be a hindrance in performing his/her moves.
The ultimate attire will give that added boost to the dancer. It could be seductive for those who love to accentuate their figures. Some go in for 'safer' options. This choice will depend heavily upon the kind of dance, and the place where it will be performed.

Choosing the Appropriate Dance Costume

Ballet Dance
Mention the term ballet dance, and the mind conjures up images of delicate, flexible, and elegant dancers, with every move expressed in a graceful way. Ballet dancers possess the charm and rhythm that requires years of dedicated practice.
What to Wear:
When in class, the attire should be more practical. Avoid the fuss and frills, as it may take many a step to actually master the finer nuances of this art form. A simple leotard teamed with tights and slippers, is more suitable for your first few pirouettes.
While performing on stage, tights are the basic and most common kind of dance wear seen on the circuit. They offer flexibility without making the dancer feel uncomfortable. However, there is more to ballet dance wear than just plain leotards. It can range from exquisitely crafted skirts and tops to leggings.
The 'En Pointe' form of ballet requires the use of pointe shoes. Worn mainly by women, these sturdy pairs assist the dancers in their toe-work, which is the most important factor in ballet. An uncomfortable pair of shoes will have the dancer appear in a bad light. The ballet tutus were specially designed to show off the dancer's legwork.
Jazz Dance
Though this dance form also requires a lot of flexibility and grace, it is poles apart from the ballet style of dancing. Many forms of jazz that are rising in their popularity. Which is the reason why, we have the mushrooming of numerous dance classes on every nook and corner. Modern Jazz, Old-Fashion Jazz, Street Jazz, are some of the popular categories.

What to Wear:
Think jazz, and think flashy, bright, and sexy, well-fitted costumes. The jazz dance primarily concentrates on every movement of your body. You, therefore, cannot have layered clothing or fluffed up skirts. It has it own distinct glamorous touch. 
Short-cropped tops, leotard pants, flared jazz pants for men, halter tops, palazzo pants, booty shorts (hot pants), etc., form the base for jazz dance wear. These can be further embellished with crystals and sequins to add a subtle shimmer. The cut of the silhouette is of prime importance, and they should have a blend of stretch.
The ensemble cannot be complete without the perfect pair of jazz shoes that are a must-have item to provide flexibility to your feet as well. Some of them are crafted to give a feel of wearing no shoes at all!
Ballroom Dancing
It takes two to tango for this form. Popular in Latin America, this requires discipline, and of course, a partner! Cha-cha, Waltz, Foxtrot, etc., are dances that require the partners to have a high level of chemistry, and ooze sensuality on the floor. Don't let the intricacy of the steps deter you. A good instructor can transform you into a dancing diva.

What to Wear:
Shine on the floor with flowing fabrics, fitting halter-tops, bright colors, and sexy, elegant dresses. The ladies are spoiled for choice, by the variety of the sparkling, shiny numbers available at all leading stores. 
Apart from being comfortable, these gorgeous dresses and skirts boost the morale of the ladies, as they feel good, which, in turn, makes them look good! Highly glamorous, it will encourage you to be fit for that most awaited party of the year.
High-heeled stilettos available in a splash of colors complement the look. These are usually preferable when fitted with back-straps. Choose the right height for your heel, as it proves to be an important factor for all your swirls and twirls.
Men are not left behind, when it comes to Latin dance wear. You can find an array of options from fitting pants with clean cuts, to the sleek formal shirts available in fresh colors.
Hip Hop Dance
Hip hop dance offers a freestyle form of dancing, and gives the dancer the freedom to showcase his/her attitude. It can be performed in groups, and can be done as a solo. It has carved a niche for itself in the music and fashion industry.
What to Wear:
Be yourself and wear your attitude on your sleeve. That's the motto. White cargo pants, flashy shirts, trucker caps, racer backs, funky leggings, micro minis accessorized with heavy gold or sliver jewelry! Take your pick. 
Girls can team their low-waist denims with a sexy, stylish undershirt. Whatever you wear, add a dash of originality and get ready to sizzle!
Break Dance
Also seen in hip hop, the break dance has caught the fancy of many. Head spins, cartwheels, splits, and the moonwalk have found their way into the rooms of many Michael Jackson wannabes. 
Whether it is on the stage or the dance class, break dance requires you to groove on the floor with a lot of power combined with athletic moves. Hence, it is thought to be more suitable for males.
What to Wear:
You need your apparel to be highly comfortable, if you are thinking of doing that head spin on the floor. Hooded jackets, nylon tracksuits that minimize friction, fitting vests, etc., can go hand-in-hand with sporty wristbands and colorful bandannas. The upper wear can be less baggy as compared to the pants combined with it.
If you still need something exclusive, you can get your own costumes made, in order to have a designer touch.