How to dress for a ballet class

Your ticket to the ballet might not come with a dress code, but that doesn’t mean dressing for the occasion has to be confusing. Dressing up rather than dressing down is a chic and smart way to attend the ballet. After all, you don’t want to show up in jeans when your fellow ballet-goers are styled in cocktail dresses and suits. While ballet companies or performance halls, including the Kennedy Center, typically do not dictate a specific dress code, several dress code styles are safe choices for this event. You’ll be appropriately dressed in business casual attire, cocktail looks and even formal clothes. Attending the ballet is typically regarded as a dressy event, so your attire should reflect the formality of the occasion. Consider two factors to determine how formally you should dress for the ballet.

  • Time of day. A matinee show is more casual than an evening performance. Afternoon affairs may call for business casual attire, while evening performances may require cocktail or formal looks.
  • Type of event. Ballet performances vary in terms of their formality. A local production put on by high school students is less formal than a holiday performance of The Nutcracker by an internationally renowned traveling company, for example.

Choose from a range of appropriate and stylish options for an afternoon or evening at the ballet. For less formal afternoon performances, opt for dressy slacks or a pencil skirt and a silk blouse. You can pair this look with a shall or blazer for fall and winter performances. Pumps or ballet flats are appropriate shoes for these looks. For evening shows, don’t be afraid to pull that cocktail dress out of your closet

A little black dress is always a classic look and can be spiced up with a bold statement necklace, beaded clutch or colorful heels. Or use the occasion to have some fun in a knee-length taffeta or chiffon dress. For special events (like opening night or a gala performance), a floor-length silk or satin gown is appropriate.

Dapper Styles for Him

When dressing for the ballet as a guy, create an appropriate look by combining a blazer, shirt and pants. This clothing combination can be dressed up or down depending on the formality of the performance. More casual events call for a pair of chinos or khaki pants, paired with a long-sleeved, button-down shirt and a blazer. Ties are always acceptable but not required. When wearing this business casual look, you may choose to ditch the blazer, especially if you’re attending the ballet when the weather is warm. Dressier events require a suit and tie. Evening performances call for a dark suit—preferably black, dark gray or brown—and a conservative shirt and tie. For holiday ballet performances, consider a twist on the classic suit by adding a festive—but not over-the-top—tie or colorful shirt. Choose patent leather, lace-up shoes for formal suits and leather loafers for more casual attire.

How to dress for a ballet class

So you have signed up your child for ballet classes, and now you need to know what to buy. Shoes? Leotards? Tights? Tutus? Pointe shoes? Legwarmers? There are infinite products out there, so let this serve as a guide for what your ballet child will really need, even with some suggestions available to purchase right here on the Capezio website!


Children may start ballet as early as two years of age. “At this age, basic motor skills of ballet are taught, How to dress for a ballet classpreparing the student for the discipline of ballet to come,” says Carol Baskinger, director of Dance Designs Studio, a center for dance and performing arts in Fair Lawn, New Jersey.

At this age, girl ballet students should wear a leotard (check with your studio; there could be a color dress code), pink tights and pink ballet slippers. Boys usually need black or white ballet slippers, a white t-shirt and black leggings. Sometimes, at that age, the class is ballet and tap/jazz combined, which would also require tap or jazz shoes, so be sure you know for which class your child is signed up. In this case, however, only a change of shoes, not full attire, would be needed.

Baskinger says that shoes and proper attire should be purchased at a professional dancewear shop or through a professional online dancewear company, such as Capezio.

Ballet slippers

The young dancers’ ballet slippers should be full-sole leather ballet shoes, such as Capezio’s Teknik® Ballet Slipper or Daisy® Ballet Slipper which are both comfortable and durable children’s shoes. A young child should have his/her slippers half a size larger than their street shoe in order to allow for growth, but no larger than this.

After class, students should store their slippers in a cloth bag for ventilation so the leather can breathe and remain supple. Here is Capezio’s smallDrawstring Backpack, available in multiple colors and a perfect size for ballet slippers.

“These slippers should never be worn outdoors,” Baskinger adds. “They are strictly for studio use. All dance shoes should only be worn in the studio, so that the studio is respected and kept clean for other dance classes. The dirt and rough surface of the outdoors may tear apart a leather ballet slipper.”


Baskinger recommends parents buy a couple of leotards. Capezio’sChildren’s Long Sleeve Leotard is great for the winter months and is available in numerous colors. Capezio’s Children’s Camisole Leotard with Adjustable Straps is a sure-fit for any size and is good to wear in warmer months, as is the Children’s Short Sleeve Leotard, which also comes in many colors.

Again, check with your child’s ballet teacher or the studio director in case of a color-specific dress code.


Tights should be pink for ballet class and generally should be worn under the leotard and fully-footed in the ballet slippers. Baskinger recommends Capezio’s Toddler Ultra Soft Footed Tights because they are very comfortable for the child. “A comfortable dancer is a happy dancer,” she says.

Ballet students should have their hair neatly pulled back, and, if possible, in a bun. Capezio sells a convenient product, the Bun Builder™, Jr., which is a reusable way to create a perfect ballet bun.

Ballet is for boys, too! Young boy dancers are usually encouraged to wear black leggings, such as Capezio’sChildren’s Low Rise Leggings, a white crew neck t-shirt and black ballet slippers. Capezio’s leather, full-sole Children’s Teknik® Ballet Slippers also come in white and black, depending on your studio’s dress preferences. If boys have longer hair, it should be pulled back for ballet class.


Often times, the excitement of beginning ballet classes leads the young dancers or parents to believe they need everything involved with being a professional ballerina – a tutu, pointe shoes, legwarmers. So what is and isn’t necessary for young dancers?

Children new to ballet certainly do not need pointe shoes. “Pointe is taught to more advanced, mature dancers, not a toddler or even an eight-year-old,” Baskinger says. “Students are selected for pointe when, after careful evaluation, we feel the student has the strength to begin learning the basics.”

A tutu usually isn’t necessary either. They are usually reserved for the stage. Tutus and “extra layers” may get in the way of the teacher seeing and being able to correct the dancer’s body in the classroom. Simple skirts may be allowed though, and young dancers like to feel pretty in a dance skirt. A pull on circular skirt or chiffon wrap skirt can make a nice addition to your young dancer’s outfit.

Sometimes, in the colder months, young dancers may be allowed to wear legwarmers or a ballet sweater to keep warm. Again, it is best to check with your studio’s dress code and regulations. For legwarmers, try Capezio’s Children’s 12-inch Legwarmers. Capezio also sells lovely, simple children’s ballet sweaters: the Crop Tie Wrap Top or the Long Sleeve Wrap Sweater.


When your child steps into his/her first ballet class, you want to be sure he/she is prepared and comfortable, so before making new purchases, it is best to check with your studio as to its dress code. Perhaps one level at that studio wears navy blue leotards while another wears pink leotards. Double-check your child’s level.

Most importantly, know that putting your child in ballet is a good decision, even regardless of a dance future. Ballet can teach children not only about dance but also help them with socialization skills. “Ballet is a must!” Baskinger concludes. “It is the basic of all genres of dance. It develops posture, strength, proper alignment, discipline, agility and musicality. Good training will stay with them a lifetime.”

Girls should wear black leggings and any color leotard.

Boys should wear black dance pants or leggings and any color shirt.

Barefoot, socks, or half-toe socks help with movement during dance lessons.

What do I wear to a dance class?

What to Wear to Dance Class

  • Socks! This is an easy one to forget.
  • Comfortable, supportive, lightweight shoes. Sneakers or runners are good.
  • Underwear.
  • Stretchy, moveable pants.
  • A comfortable top.

What should I wear to my first dance class?

After all, anything you wear can be your “dance clothes” especially in Arthur Murray Dance Studios. All it takes is a little dancing and dance spirit.

Some Examples You Can Consider:

  1. Slacks and a Dress Shirt.
  2. Skirt and a blouse.
  3. Your business uniform.
  4. Wear a tie? Lose the tie? It’s up to you.
  5. Dress shoes/Heels.

What shoes should I wear for dance classes?

What Shoes Should You Wear For Ballroom Dance Lessons?

  • 3 Things To Consider When Buying Shoes For Ballroom Dancing. Comfortability.
  • Ballroom Heels. Ballroom Heels are different from regular shoes with heels because they are more flexible and they have a suede covering on the bottom of the shoe.
  • Ballroom Shoes.
  • Jazz Shoes.
  • Ballet Flats.
  • Sneakers.
  • Flip-Flops.
  • Slippers.

What do you wear to a jazz dance class?

To get some ideas of what others wear, try dance shops or check out dance shops online.

  1. Most jazz dancers wear tights and a leotard.
  2. Other dancers like to wear a simple camisole over a leotard along with a pair of soft shorts.
  3. One thing that may be required are jazz shoes.

How to dress for a ballet class


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A dance recital is always exciting. Months of preparation come together for this performance.

No matter what level a dancer is on the stage, this is their time to shine.

The performers will wear their costumes so that they can perform, but they will need to wear something on the way to and from the performance.

If you are in the audience, you might be wondering what you should wear.

  1. What Should Performers Wear to a Dance Recital?
  2. What Should Ladies Wear to a Dance Recital?
  3. What Should Men Wear to a Dance Recital?
  4. What to Avoid
  5. Final Words
    • Read More…

What Should Performers Wear to a Dance Recital?

How to dress for a ballet class

Some people wonder if it is okay for a performer to arrive at the dance recital wearing their performance outfit.

Normally, this is not a good idea.

It is important for the costume or outfit to be clean, pressed, and perfect for the recital.

Ideally, the performer will wear something nice, similar to what the audience will wear.

A girl might wear a dress or a nice pair of pants with a top.

The idea is to be put together and look nice without going overboard.

Boys should wear pants and a shirt tucked in.

They should look neat. As long as the performers are put together nicely, they will be fine.

What Should Ladies Wear to a Dance Recital?

The first factor that will narrow down what you should wear to the dance recital is the venue where it is being held.

Keep in mind that you might want to take a photo with your performer, so you will want to look nice.

If the recital is being held at a local theater, you will want to dress up a little bit.

You can wear casual attire, which could be a dress, a skirt, or pants, and a blouse.

You should probably avoid loungewear or leggings.

Making the effort to dress up will make your performer feel special.

If the dance recital is being held at a more casual venue, such as the dance studio or a local dance hall, you will probably want to dress a little bit more casual.

You might wear slacks and a top, or you could wear jeans and a top as long as it looks neat.

If you want to wear a dress, you can wear a wrap dress or another cotton dress that is a little bit more casual.

In another scenario, you might be a backstage helper.

This is an important job, and you want to be comfortable, but you should still look nice.

Backstage helpers often need to come to the side of the stage, so they wear darker clothing so that they can blend in.

You could wear black pants and a dark-colored top, or you might have a cute black jumpsuit.

You will likely be more comfortable in pants or a jumpsuit than you would in a dress, as you will be helping with hair, makeup, and costumes.

If you are helping backstage, you should have a pair of comfortable black shoes.

If you will simply be in the audience, wear whatever shoes go best with your outfit.

What Should Men Wear to a Dance Recital?

Men will also want to dress for the occasion, and the venue makes a difference.

If you are going to a local theater, you will want to wear a suit or a coat and tie.

This is a show of respect for the venue and your performer.

If you find that most of the men are going with a jacket and no tie or just a collared shirt, you can wear that as well.

It will depend on your community.

You can ask around to find out what most men are wearing.

If you are going to the dance studio or a dance hall, you can be a bit more casual.

You can wear jeans with a shirt and jacket, or you can wear pants and a polo shirt.

You will be comfortable in anything that is casual appropriate.

You will still make your performer feel as though this is a special occasion, but you will be comfortable and fit in with the audience.

What to Avoid

How to dress for a ballet class

There are certain articles of clothing that you should avoid when you go to a dance recital.

For instance, you should never wear a hat.

If you have a hat on, you could block the view of the people behind you.

In addition, it isn’t considered proper etiquette to wear a hat to a dance recital.

You should not overdress for the recital.

Save the ballroom gown and the tuxedo for a more formal affair.

You will also want to avoid bright fluorescent colors because they can be distracting to the audience members and the performers.

Remember that you are there to enjoy the show, but you do not want to draw attention to yourself with bright fluorescent clothing.

You should also keep your outfit on the conservative side.

Avoid wearing a dress or skirt that is too short or stiletto heels.

Don’t wear too much jewelry.

You might enjoy wearing bangles on your arms, but remember that they can rattle when you move your arms.

This can be very distracting to the people sitting near you.

You should also avoid wearing too much perfume.

Be considerate of the others in the audience, and consider how your choices could affect them.

Final Words

When you go to a dance recital, you want to dress nicely, but you should still be comfortable enough to sit through the performance.

Dance recitals can take several hours, so you should consider what you wear carefully.

If the recital is held at a local theater, you can dress up, but still, make sure that you don’t overdo it.

Wear a pretty dress or a nice skirt with a top that is appropriate, and make sure that it isn’t too short or tight.

Men will be comfortable in a coat and tie.

It is always a good idea to check with others who are going to see what they plan to wear.

Some communities are more casual than others, and you will want to fit in with the crowd.

The most important thing is to look nice without being uncomfortable.

You want to be put together so that your performer gets excited about this special event.

When you make the effort to dress appropriately, the experience will be a lot of fun.

How to dress for a ballet classMost dancers are excited to wear beautiful costumes when they perform. The matching dresses, tights, and bows can make any performance even more exciting. But just as important as wearing the right clothing on stage is wearing the right clothing in the studio. A Northern Colorado dance studio knows the importance of having a dress code in class and rehearsal. Here are five reasons why it is important to have a dress code in a dance studio.

Eliminate Distractions

No matter if they are just starting or have been dancing for years, dancers need to focus so they can learn and perform their best. Wearing clothes outside the dress code can be distracting for all the dancers in the room and take away from the class. Even if a dancer is wearing dance attire that doesn’t match the dress code, it can still cause distractions. A dancer might be distracted if their leotard is the wrong size or their hair falls in their face, and other dancers in the studio could be distracted by a dancer’s clothes that stand out and draw their attention away from the instructor. It’s often difficult to keep kids and teenagers focused in ideal situations, and clothing issues can just make it worse.

Allow Dancers to Move Properly

Most dance studios have dress codes so that dancers can move properly for the type of dance. A hip-hop class might require dancers to wear loose-fitting pants so that the dancers’ legs can perform the moves correctly, while a ballet studio might require dancers to wear a certain color of leotards and tights. Each dress code is chosen for a reason to enable the dancer to focus on their steps, not what they’re wearing. When left on their own, dancers might not wear proper clothing, which can hinder their ability to learn the choreography and move properly. Improper clothing can impact technique and precision, especially in partner or group numbers.

Increase Focus

Following a dress code puts the dancers in the right mindset to learn and focus. Instead of being able to show up in whatever they want, following the dress code takes effort and shows that the dancers are serious about wanting to develop their skills. This is especially true for younger dances because wearing the proper clothes signals that they are ready for a structured dance class, not a wild playtime. A dress code can teach dancers to be disciplined and puts them in the right mindset to listen and respect their teachers.

Improve Confidence

When dancers look the part, they often feel better. Just putting a dancer in the proper attire can completely change their posture and outlook. In the right clothes, a dancer feels like they can take on anything and can be more willing and confident to attempt new skills and steps. Wearing matching or similar clothing to the other dancers in the class puts everyone on the same page, which can be helpful for dancers who are struggling and don’t want to stand out. When students look like dancers, they feel like dancers and it shows in their confidence and attitude.

Create Cohesiveness

A dance studio dress code helps all dancers look cohesive and creates a bond between the group. When everyone is wearing the same type of clothes, it is easier to see the group as a cohesive unit instead of just a mismatched group of people. When dancers wear proper clothing, it helps their team members and teachers better see how their bodies move. Cohesiveness can help dancers better visualize what the dance will look like and can create stronger bonds between dancers as they realize they are all working towards the same goals.

Dress codes are an important part of dance studios and can change the attitude and performance of all dancers. Visit a Northern Colorado dance studio to see the difference of using a dress code. Dancers at all levels can benefit from wearing proper attire when they practice and perform.