It’s never too late to sign up for dancing classes! While it is true that kids learn faster and easier, adults can overcome challenges as well. Now in order to do it properly, you’ll need dance apparel, one of the most essential pieces being the leotard.
First of all, leotards were designed for dancers to focus on the moves without being distracted by clothing. The idea was to allow teachers to better see the student’s movements, while providing the student with the required flexibility for the challenging spins. For many dancers, leotard feels like a second skin. According to your body type, you can find the one that suits you best and the following are the most common leotards NZ dancers love and their characteristics.
They’re very comfortable and are a common choice for children, especially those who have just begun taking classes. Usually, they come in a wide round neckline, however, new trends offer other designs as well, suitable for adult dancers.
Traditional ballet leotards have rounded neck or so-called boat-neck style. Modern designs gather the material in the centre of the chest and form the “sweetheart” neckline, which is quite a popular option. Other options of leotards NZ experienced dancers choose are V-neck, turtlenecks and halter top necklines. V-neck offers a glorious and classic look, accentuating the front, while halter neck leotard accentuates the shoulders and the back, creating a modern, stylish look. Turtleneck, or also known as mock neck leotard, has a close-fitting neckline that makes the neck look longer and creates an elegant and sophisticated appearance.
These have a classical look and the thin straps are a nice fit for the upper body. Sometimes referred to as “spaghetti-straps”, you’ll find this type in a backless design or with lattices on the back, showing off the dancer’s shoulders and providing a soft overall look. Criss-cross straps, or V-back, whatever you choose, make sure that the back is not too low, otherwise, it can make you feel uncomfortable when performing some particular moves. If you’re thin or overweight, avoid lattices, and if you have a short or long torso, opt for adjustable straps. You can combine camisoles with other pieces of dance clothing when needed, or you can use them as exam dancewear.
This type features a working zipper, located in the front, close to the neckline, or in the back. Besides decorative purposes, the zipper is easily adjustable and very convenient when dancers need a quick change.
Sleeveless leotards usually attach behind the neck. Apart from the sleeveless option, short-sleeve leotards are very popular, especially with young dancers. There are also three-quarter sleeves or long sleeves that can be a great solution for fall or winter season or large shoulders. They provide an elegant look and are very comfortable. The best thing about long-sleeve leotards is that they bring the focus to the dancer’s arms, making them look longer and create a flowing illusion while you perform.
The leg line accentuates the length of the leg, so you need to make sure it fits properly over your bottom. Leotards’ traditional leg cut is a low line on the hip, while modern designs introduce a bit higher leg line. Ballet leotards are rarely high leg cut, it’s more common in gymnastic or fitness apparel.
Choose your leotard’s colour according to what you will be wearing it for. If you’re looking for a leotard for ballet classes, then your best choice is one colour, since it shows the dancer’s classical line more clearly than a colourful leotard. Apart from classes, colorful leotards can be used as performance wear for various dance shows. For a ballet audition, a black leotard is preferred most of the time. Given the classic look of black leotards, having one in your collection is always a good idea. Something like that little black dress every woman should have.
Also, you may consider your skin tone and hair tone when choosing the colour. Warm colours like red, orange, yellow, or dark shades of pink go well with darker hair and skin tones, while cold colours such as blue, green and light shades of pink match better with paler skin and fair hair.
Leotards are made of different materials, offering different benefits and the following are some of the most popular choices.
Cotton is warm and comfortable fabric, but it retains moisture, so sweat patches might appear. It’s a long-lasting material, though the colour might fade faster compared to other materials. However, cotton is always a good choice for sensitive skin.
Leotards made of lace look very stylish, and that’s why they’re a popular option, though you need to make sure the one you choose has been manufactured to stretch with your body.
This material provides a beautiful look, but they can make you too hot, so keep that in mind if getting a velour leotard.
Nylon feels cooler and has a bit of brightness. The colour lasts longer and the leotard is extremely stretchy and flexible, which provides a fitted look. It is a great choice to combine with other types of dance clothes, too.
Spandex is a very common choice as a leotard material, mainly because it provides more support and fits the body perfectly.
Leotards with patterns and colours over the whole of the leotard are quite popular as well and are mainly used for training, gymnastics or dance shows.
Fit to the Bit
A leotard is supposed to be snug and fitted like a second skin to your body, without any excess material. If the leotard is too small, it will probably dig into your shoulder or the hips. Make sure it’s pulled up properly onto the hips and if the seams are stretched, you need a bigger size.
And What about Underwear?
There are no strict rules on this matter, you can choose whatever feels most comfortable to you, and wear it with confidence. Some leotards include support, but wearing a bra might be a good solution for women with larger breasts, to avoid back pain and/or chest pain. Just make sure it doesn’t show, stick out or bother you as you dance.