Can you believe that summer is over and it’s time to get back to school? Any remorse for the end of vacation is always counteracted by the realization that back to school also means back to the dance studio! It’s a new year to learn new and exciting things, prepare for upcoming competitions, performances and recitals, and be with your dance friends again. If you’re like me, the dance studio is a second home and a home full of fun, exhausting but exciting challenges and achievements.
It’s time to get all your back to dance essentials:
You may be starting a new dance subject like tap and need tap shoes, or be progressing into pointe and need demi pointes or your first pair of pointe shoes. When buying shoes it is important to be fitted, particularly if you are young and your feet are still growing. My feet stopped growing long ago and I know the style of shoes that I prefer, so I order my shoes quickly and easily online from Capezio.com, but if your feet have grown or you are looking at trying a totally new shoe for a style of dance you haven’t taken before, I would suggest visiting your local dancewear store. There you can try on different makes and models and find the right size for you. Capezio also makes most shoes in a wide size, so if you have wide feet like me, make sure to ask for the Capezio wide.
If you are buying your first pair of pointe shoes, you must get a professional pointe shoe fitting. You will want to try on several different styles and walk around on demi pointe as well as go up and down on pointe in the shoes to see how they feel and look on your foot. Each shoe style is harder or softer or has a different look or size of platform, and each person’s feet are different, so a professional fitting is a must. Most dancewear stores will let you book a time for a fitting, so make sure to call first to make sure you can have the assistance you need.
Does your dance school have a dress code? If so, you must stick to it and buy the correct style and colored leotard, or top and pants for boys. If you are starting dance for the first time, make sure to ask the studio about the dress code. Some studios are also particular about the color of your shoes and your hairstyles, so make sure to ask.
I always liked to buy at least two new leotards at the start of the school year, as you will need a fresh one every day unless you don’t perspire much or you take class only once a week. You will also want at least two new pairs of tights, as these get smelly around your feet. Tights also have a tendency to get holes in them over time, so storing an extra emergency pair is always important. You will be glad you did at recital and competition time!
For jazz, contemporary and tap, you may want dance shorts, capris or jazz pants, and for hip-hop you may be allowed to wear track pants. Just make sure to ask before you start buying. My studio always liked dance skirts, and I thought they were pretty and added some color and life to my outfit, so I always had a selection of wrap skirts too.
For little ones starting ballet for the first time, Capezio has a Ballet Starter Kit that includes a short sleeve cotton pink leotard, tights, Daisy ballet slippers (complete with cute daisy inlay) and ballet slipper backpack for only $48.39! These essentials are all made with Capezio’s signature quality and care. This kit provides everything your little one will need for her first class, except maybe the tissues for you and the camera to capture your little ballerina’s first plié.
It’s important that dancers come to and leave class with cover-ups on. Dancewear is very form fitting and my studio always told us that it was not appropriate for us to run around before and after class in just our leotards in a public setting. That is of course up to you, but to protect your dancewear and keep you or your dancer warm, cover-ups are important. After a tough class when your muscles are warm, you don’t want to walk out into the night or winter air and cool them too rapidly. Cooling down slowly and keeping yourself warm can protect you from injury and illness. Capezio has an extensive range of fashionable cover-ups and active wear that are great for throwing over your leotard – plus you’ll look stylish too!
Hair pins, hair pins, hair pins! If you’re like me and you have thick hair, you will need lots of bobby pins and hair fasteners. Bunheads makes the best hair pins around for keeping your bun in place. A hair net is always useful too for securing your bun and controlling stray hairs. Capezio also stocks several gorgeous head bands and hair accessories that can add flair to your hairdo. A Bun Builder™ can also help you to achieve the perfect bun.
Depending on your type of dance, you may also need shoe accessories like ribbons, elastics, toe pads or lamb’s wool for pointe, spacers or bunion busters. Capezio has a full range of dance shoe accessories.
It’s also nice to buy a new dance bag every year as these tend to get a little stinky and worn out. Packed with jazz shoes, ballet slippers, pointe shoes, footUndeez and the odd stray sock, my ballet bag always got a little pungent by the end of the year. A new bag can symbolize a new year and it’s new, exciting challenges. Capezio stocks several types of bags from the adorable Slippers Backpack for young dancers, to larger duffle bags with mesh pockets for storing dance shoes to help them breathe and dry out. To see the full range, visit Capezio.com/accessories/capezio-accessories/dance-bags.
So now that you have all your dance essentials the only thing left to do is get into class! Have fun!
Article by Deborah Searle of Dance Informa.