Choosing a Leotard – A Few Things to Consider

Published: 17th January 2012
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The dance leotard is synonymous with ballet, tap and many different styles of dance. However, choosing a leotard can be fairly confusing with such a wide variety available. In this article we will look at different factors which you can think about when choosing your dance leotard. These will include purpose, style, support, fabric and of course colour!

First of all, it’s imperative that you check with your dance teacher or dance school to see whether there are any requirements which you need to follow. Even though it’s great to have the freedom of choice, having the same uniform for all class members creates unity amongst dancers, particularly important when training together towards exams. Most schools from beginners follow a regulation body such as RAD, which will have a uniform.

Whether you are learning to dance or a professional, you will need different leotards depending on your purpose. If you a using a leotard for general dance class or a performance this will affect what kind of style you wish to use. If you want to impress your audience, you may want your leotard to compliment your style of dance or music, focusing your audience on the appearance of the whole ensemble. Whereas for a dance class, the comfort and support of your dance leotard will be more important. If you are doing a classical ballet class, you may wish to stick to more traditional basic style of leotard.

The types of styles available are pretty incredible. There are halter neck leotards, long sleeved leotards, strappy back leotards… I could be here a long time! More often the style of leotard is down to personal taste, but it’s worth trying on the leotard and moving around to see whether the leotard stays in place. For a child, check that the straps aren’t digging in and that there’s a bit of room for growing. Be sure not to get it too big though, otherwise it’ll be gapping around the thighs and the straps may fall off the shoulders whilst dancing.

With regards to support, bear in mind what kind of physique you have. You may be able to wear a bra underneath your leotard but try a dance bra which is nude in colour and they often feature transparent back straps. More and more manufacturers such as Bloch, Capezio and Roch Valley are now making leotards with some form of bra lining inside to offer more cover and support but check the description before purchasing. Capezio’s BraTek dancewear feature softly moulded bra cups in a bra liner for a natural appearance whilst dancing, even though there are currently only a few products in this range, they offer another alternative for a dancer needing more support for a better fitting leotard.

Some of the fabrics that you may have come across when looking for leotards have different advantages. A number of children start off in Nylon Lycra garments which has a shine to it, is hardwearing and generally offers more colour choice. Cotton Lycra is a real favourite amongst dancers and teachers alike because of its soft feel and comfort. It’s also particularly popular for ballet performers. Newer fabrics such as Tactel Nylon Lycra is generally a much more fashionable fabric with it’s silky smooth touch - Bloch’s halter neck leotard in HOT PINK is a great example of this. Tactel Nylon Lycra is still very comfortable and allows for the quick evaporation of moisture. Crushed Velvet is still very popular, particularly for Tap or Modern dancers, due to the shine of the fabric and look great teamed with a pair of footless tights.

When choosing the colour of your dance leotard, again bear in mind whether it’s for a performance or a general ballet class. If you want vibrant bright colours, nylon lycra garments tend to offer more choice. Dance Gear have recently introduced a new fabric ‘RAINBOW’ which can be made into a whole host of garments, great for children wanting to dance in all colours under the sun! If you are doing a classical ballet class, you may wish to stick to more traditional colours such as Black or Navy.

Remember the use of colour for your leotard can complement your music chosen for your dance performance and make you stand out from the crowd, however be sure that it suits your skin tone and hair colour.

Be sure to consider all of these factors when choosing your first or your hundredth leotard … there’s a whole host of leotards out there for you to enjoy!

I. Evans is a resident writer for Dance Gear Direct Ltd., a UK company specialising in competitively priced quality dance wear. Visit for more information about ballet shoes and jazz shoes.

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