“The dance can reveal everything mysterious that is hidden in music, and it has the additional merit of being human and palpable. Dancing is poetry with arms and legs.” - Charles Beaudelaire
If you have decided to do ballet, you will need to be fully equipped in order to practice comfortably and safely. Even though some elements of ballet attire are mandatory in some dance schools just for formality, other accessories are made for you to get the best practice possible.
Here we will review a list of the basics that you will need at a dance school, but that is also recommended to have if you are learning with a private tutor. We will also mention other accessories and part of the outfit that is used for advanced levels or ballet recitals. This will help you consider a starting budget for your ballet lessons.
The basics of ballet
Some clothing and accessories are considered basics because you will need them for training and for recitals. They are also considered to be essential to have practice sessions in the most comfortable and adapted gear.
This clothing is important throughout the year, but even more during the winter months. Warming up is also an essential part of your training, being properly warmed up will avoid possible injuries.
Among the warming up clothing, here is a list of the essentials:
- Warm-Up Jumpsuit: €15 – €25*
- Leg warmers: €5 – €10*
- Wrap-Over Top: €8- €19*
*The prices are from Decathlon and might be fluctuating with time.
A leotard is an essential of ballet, and you will always need them for practice or recitals. Leotards allow the professor to see your full body movement and correct you if required, it is also a very comfortable way of moving your whole body.
They exist in a large variety of prices, materials, and styles depending on the brands. Children leotards usually cost less than an adult leotard.
They are fabricated in different materials like, lycra, microfibre, cotton, or even viscose and each material has its pros and cons. It also depends on what you feel more comfortable wearing.
A leotard can have thin straps, thick straps, short sleeves, long sleeves. It can be backless, with straps, with a plunging neckline, crew neck, or boat neck. Some styles may be better than others for your body type. We recommend that you always try a leotard before buying it, especially if it’s your first one.
Some brands are dedicated to ballet gear such as Repetto, Wear Moi, Bloch and Temps Danse. Although they create beautifully crafted leotards and ballet accessories of top quality, they are also expensive. If you are on a budget or just starting, Domyos or Decathlon offer plenty of ballet gear with different materials and simple designs.
A leotard can cost from €13 to €115 if it has a lot of details or has a tutu attached to it.
We recommend buying a few for practice and one for recitals or special events. This will also allow you to have different looks depending on your mood but also be able to clean them before your next practice.
Tights are another essential of ballet, they allow you to keep warm enough but also to cover your legs, slide easily or protect you from hurting when touching the ground.
Here again the design, material and brand affect the price considerably. Decathlon as options starting at €5, while Repetto tights can go up to €95.
Keep in mind that you will need to wash them after every class, and some tights will have better quality to resist movement and washing, while others will only last for a few lessons. You can also buy a few to always have a pair available.
There are also very different types that you will use throughout your ballet practice, here is a list :
- Footed tights
- Footless tights
- Stirrup tights
- Convertible tights
- Body tights
They all come in different colours as well, you will need to see the guidelines of your dance studio or decide which is the style you want to go with.
Soft ballet shoes
Every beginner needs soft ballet shoes, there are also different types:
- full sole
- split sole
The economic option starts at €10 and the renowned brands sell them to around €30 for a soft leather ballet shoe. The price will vary again, depending on the material and brand you choose.
We recommend you to start with a full sole option because they will help you build stability and strength in your heels. Once you've got a bit of experience, you can move up to split sole and later to the pointes and demi-pointes. Your teacher will be your guide and will let you know when you are ready to upgrade your shoes.
Advanced ballet items
Once you have an advanced level, you might require accessories and gear that is more specific for recitals or for advanced levels. Here we gather a few examples.
Tutu or skirts
Maybe you prefer to dance in a flowy outfit, or you will need a tutu for your next recital. Ballet is one of the few sports and arts that has so many styles available, the possibilities are endless!
Tutus price will have the following range
- Short tutus: €30 to €80
- Long tutus: €100 to €125
- Short skirt: €10 to €32
- Long skirt: €50 to €135
Pointe and Demi-Pointe
These shoes are for intermediate and advanced level pupils. We strongly recommend not buying second-hand pointe shoes because they will adjust to a dancer's foot, it is best to start with your own and avoid having to rebuy or hurt yourself.
- Demi-pointe shoes: the price can start at €15
- Pointe shoes will start at €40 and can go up to €70
Make-up and other accessories
When it comes to dancing on a regular basis, there are a few accessories you will need.
- hair accessories
- a comfortable bra
- toe silicon protectors if you get pointe shoes
- a pouch for your pointe shoes
- rosin for your pointe shoes
These accessories are used on a regular basis by ballet dancers to improve their comfort and have better practice each day.
What budget do I require for a whole outfit?
If we make an average or take the most economic option of all the items, this is the budget you will need to have a complete ballet outfit:
- Warm-Up Jumpsuit: €27.
- Leg warmers: €5.
- Wrap-Over Top: €18.
- Leotard: €13
- Tights: €10
- Ballet slippers: €18
If you want to add more accessories for your recitals or comfort, you should consider adding these to your budget:
- Short tutus: €30
- Long tutus: €100
- Short skirt: €10
- Long skirt: €50
In addition, if you consider all the other items you will need:
- bags, around €12
- hair accessories, around €5
- a comfortable bra, €20
- toe silicon protectors if you get pointe shoes, €30
- a pouch for your pointe shoes, €8
- rosin for your pointe shoes, €10
- make-up, around €30
If we sum up everything, your budget should be around €396 to have the full gear required for a committed ballet dancer. Remember that you do not need everything at once as you build up and gain experience in your ballet lessons. You should also always ask your professor or tutor what you require and if they know someone renting their tutu or if they have local shops to recommend you that can adjust to your budget.
It all depends on how strict is your dance class, some dancers choose different clothing for practice. If you rather start with leggings and a t-shirt and your tutor allows it, you can take it easy and buy all your outfits step by step.
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