Your one-stop guide for getting and caring for the right dancing gear.
Once ballroom dancing becomes a part of your life, it has the tendency to take over. What starts as an innocent first dance class can easily evolve into a sincere passion for the craft and an insatiable desire to continue improving. In fact, many of our students get so hooked on dancing that they decide to enter competitions—an extremely exciting part of their dance journeys!
But dancing isn’t always fun and games. In order to be the best dancer you can be, you’ve got to get your hands on the right gear. And in the dance world, that means dance shoes and ballroom dresses. These two elements are crucial to your success as a dancer, especially if you want to compete. And we’ve realized that there are a lot of unanswered questions about there when it comes to buying dance shoes and ballroom dresses, so we decided to help out all those seeking answers.
Here’s everything you need to know about buying dance shoes and ballroom dresses so you can step onto the floor more confident than ever.
Your feet when dancing are like a car’s wheels—essential. Without the proper dance shoes, you risk hurting your routine, or worse, yourself. Once you’ve find the right pair, you’ll be able to dance longer and better. When buying dance shoes, be sure to use this checklist:
- Snag a snug fit. You want your dance shoes to fit like a glove; you might even want to go down a half or full size to make sure there’s no extra room. The reason for this is to establish control.
- Open- or closed-toe? The type of shoe depends on the dance. Closed-toe shoes provide a classic look and thus are usually suited bed for standard dances such as the Foxtrot or Waltz. Open-toe shoes, on the other hand, are best for Latin dances such as the Salsa or Rumba because of the way the toes need to be pointed. If you’re jsut beginning, though, you might consider closed-toe shoes just to protect your feet from getting stepped on, and that’s totally fine! The type of shoe mostly matters for competitors.
- Say yes to suede. On the soles, that is. Suede is the recommended fabric for dance shoes because it provides the perfect balance of traction and slide—giving you just enough control while letting you float around the floor.
- Make sure to maintain. Dance shoes are notorious for getting damaged by moisture. Think about it: you can’t lose weight dancing without a little sweat! So it’s extremely important that you care for your dance shoes and use cedar shoe trees in-between wears. Doing so helps dry them out between dances. Keep in mind, though, that because of the materials and the tough wear-and-tear, dance shoes never last very long.
- Spend moderately. As far as cost goes, you’ll want to spend about mid-range to ensure quality and longevity without completely breaking the bank. The costs of ballroom and Latin dance shoes can range anywhere from $80 to $300, so shoot for about $180 if you want a balance of quality and affordability.
Ballroom Dresses & Attire
Dance costumes can be some of the most fun articles of clothing one will wear. Fashion has always been an integral part of social dancing. Ever since ballroom dancing began, it was customary for the woman to wear a beautiful gown that attracted tons of attention while the man would look refined. Of course, dance fashion has changed throughout the years just as the dances, so we’ll only focus on what you need to wear in this century.
WHAT TO WEAR TO DANCE LESSONS VS. COMPETITIONS
For dance lessons, you’ll want to dress in something that’s not too restricting and allows you to move around. For women, this means a flowy dress or skirt, and for men, this would be a comfortable pair of dress pants and a shirt. Think “business casual,” but appropriate for lots of movement.
Competitions, of course, are a whole other animal. Women should choose an eye-catching dress that sets them apart from the crowd, and men should wear a complementary pants-and-shirt combination that does not outshine his partner.
It can be overwhelming to buy your ballroom dress, but it’s important that you wear something you’re not only comfortable in, but that you’re confident in. The role of dance costumes in competitions is to stand out from the other dancers, so consider one of these memorable features when picking out a ballroom dress.
High leg slit
Interesting or unexpected mix of colors
Decorative details such as rhinestones, mesh, embroidery, etc.
REMEMBER THE DANCE
Also, when purchasing attire for your ballroom competition, keep your dance in mind. Many dance styles have notable historical elements you may want to incorporate into your dress. Similarly, depending on the main movements of your dance, you will want to highlight those movements with your dress or attire.
The cost of a ballroom dress can be as big or as little of an investment as you want it to be. Prices for brand-new dresses can range anywhere from $300 to $1,000, which can be intimidating. But you can usually find some on sale if you’re looking for a bargain or don’t want to splurge on your first competition. As you get more experienced and define your dancing style more, you can build up your costume closet with better quality pieces that you’ll wear more than once.
Ready to get your groove on? Our local partner Shall We Dance Designs has plenty of dance shoes and ballroom dresses for you to peruse.