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Ballet - Adult Dancers
Link to informative post about men's dancewear (karma: 2)
By odile53 Comments: 1913, member since Thu Sep 06, 2007
On Wed Jan 06, 2010 11:09 PM
Made sticky by Theresa (28613) on 2010-01-10 10:50:29

There have been a few new guys posting here with questions about men's dancewear. I suspect most of the dancers on the adult forum are women (and by the way, if your female classmate is old enough to vote, legally enter a contract, perform military service, and hold office she is a woman and not a "girl,") and most of us don't have any real practical advice for you gentlemen, especially when it comes to such things as dance belts and how to wear them so that they are both functional and conform to the traditional ballet aesthetic.

So I poked around a little on dance net and found this post. It is listed under the "Guys in Ballet" forum. Here is the link to the thread, which is a sticky. I read it, and the advice given about such things as tights and dance belts seems sound. One of the pieces of advice given if one is concerned about too much--er, definition-- is to wear two dance belts. I obviously have no experience with that, but it doesn't sound all that comfortable to me!

Here's the thread
www.dance.net . . .

It's an older post, so I'm not sure you gentlemen can actually reply to it (I can't, since I'm not a man.)

I will give general shopping and laundering instructions for dancewear.

Most dancewear comes in a few different sorts of synthetic fiber. I will attempt to list the advantages and disadvantages.

Cotton/lycra--Somewhat more durable than pure synthetic fibers but because of the lycra content, will lose its ability to stretch when repeatedly exposed to high heat. Cotton based fabric tends to bleed dye more easily than straight synthetic fibers, which is why it should be washed separately from other garments the first time. Unless you want grey tights! Also, be advised that white cotton shirts will develop yellow perspiration stains in the armpit. The stain is really not sweat, it is antiperspirant, and it is almost impossible to get rid of once set with heat. Cotton-based fabric takes longer to dry than other fabrics.

Nylon--Takes dyes well and is usually colorfast. The disadvantage with nylon is that it can be shiny, feel hard to the skin, and can look cheaply made. It does not breathe well, and garments made from it can feel clammy after intense exercise (and perspiration.)

Supplex--a polyamide fiber. Tends to wick perspiration away from the body, making the garment dry quickly. Holds dye well. Available in several different textures and finishes, the sueded finished garments are very nice visually and to the touch.

Most dancewear is made of some sort of synthetic fiber, usually a polyamide. Most dancewear also usually contains some lycra. These fibers are notorious for their inability to tolerate much heat. They are petrochemical based, which means that the fiber itself will begin to break down when exposed to high heat. Repeat heat exposure several times, and the article of clothing will start to get holes in it or lose its ability to rebound after stretching.

So the highest wash and drying temperature most dancewear should be exposed to is about 100 degrees Fahrenheit (I think that translates into about 40 degrees Centigrade or thereabouts.)

Most dancewear is fairly delicately made. Look for seams that are oversewn, or sewn double. Avoid garments which do not have a finished seam, they will tear along the seam in short order. A delicate construction requires delicate handling. If you are planning on machine-washing your dancewear, pick up a mesh laundry bag (available in places like Wal-mart, it does not have to be an "official" dance laundry bag--LOL!) It should fasten with a zipper or drawstring/toggle arrangement.

Also pick up some detergent made for more delicate items. Woolite is a readily available detergent, at least in the United States. You don't really need fabric softener, but it can be a nice touch scent-wise. Just make sure it isn't overpowering.

Use the cool water, gentle cycle on the washing machine. Use the lowest temperature in the dryer. Sort by colors--light ones separate from dark or bright colors, just in case something does run. That way, it won't ruin a whole load of dancewear.

Here's an easy trick to straighten seams on things like tights: Hold the seam between your hands, a few inches apart, and gently stretch. Move down the length of the seam. You will avoid those awful curly seams this way.

Because of their high elastic content, dance belts really shouldn't be dried in the dryer. The elastic part will break down like an old pair of jockey shorts' waistband. Smooth out any quilting with your hands, and just hang them to dry over the shower curtain rod. This is a good reason to have a couple of belts if you take more than one class a week.

Even if you enjoy the sensation of wearing dancewear, it's really a good idea to change out of those sweaty clothes after class. You can get a nasty itchy rash if you let those wet clothes, now bacteria-infused, sit on your skin much longer than it takes to get home and get out of them. And washing your dancewear after every class will ensure that it is clean, odor-free, and lasts as long as possible. And that's a real advantage in today's economy.

10 Replies to Link to informative post about men's dancewear

re: Link to informative post about men's dancewear
By Dancerat50member has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 353, member since Fri Dec 18, 2009
On Thu Jan 07, 2010 08:20 AM
Thank you for taking the time to research this information. I still have a lot of my leotards from 30 years ago. They really made them nice back then as many of you know. They have been nicely packed away, have no holes, or runs and look as good as they did when I put them away 30 years ago. My problem is that a medium back then is not a medium today. I guess my body has changed a bit over 30 years......
re: Link to informative post about men's dancewear
By hummingbird Comments: 10413, member since Mon Apr 18, 2005
On Thu Jan 07, 2010 09:04 AM
Thank you for all of that information odile53, that's going to help a lot of people look after their dance wear.
re: Link to informative post about men's dancewear
By odile53 Comments: 1913, member since Thu Sep 06, 2007
On Thu Jan 07, 2010 10:54 AM
Sometime in the late 1970s to the mid 1980s most ready-made clothing companies that sell clothing in the United States changed the dimensions of their sizes. So don't let that worry you, they actually WERE smaller. It isn't you!
re: Link to informative post about men's dancewear
By Dancerat50member has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 353, member since Fri Dec 18, 2009
On Thu Jan 07, 2010 10:57 AM
Odile,
Awwww you know how to make an old broad feel better. You are so sweet! Thanks.
re: Link to informative post about men's dancewear
By odile53 Comments: 1913, member since Thu Sep 06, 2007
On Thu Jan 07, 2010 11:13 AM
Fifty, you are right: Those old leotards were MUCH better made! Double sewn French seams, thoroughly encased elastic at the legs, and bound necks and armholes. I never had a problem with seams getting holes, and they wore like iron.

Even though the styles today are prettier, if you want classroom basics, nothing beat those old ones.

The big improvement I've noticed is tights. Remember those nasty nylon ones that felt like steel wool on your skin? The hideous bubblegum pink that some tights companies insisted was theatrical pink? Or the cotton ones that bagged in the first grand plie, and continued to bag and sag during class, so you ended up with knees in your tights by the time you got to center floor, and rolls around your ankles by the end of class? Thank the dancewear gods that THOSE days are gone! And let's not forget convertible tights: I used to routinely accidentally cut my fingers by undoing the toe seam with a safety razor blade, which was the only way you got convertible tights way back then!
re: Link to informative post about men's dancewear
By luceroblanco Comments: 789, member since Fri Oct 30, 2009
On Thu Jan 07, 2010 11:20 AM
Do you know where to get cotton leotards? I had a cotton one that I really liked (years ago) but no way I could fit it now even if I still had it. I have mostly seen synthetic, shiny fabrics and I would really like cotton.
re: Link to informative post about men's dancewear
By odile53 Comments: 1913, member since Thu Sep 06, 2007
On Thu Jan 07, 2010 11:27 AM
There are still some cotton blend leotards available, mostly cotton and lycra, but I haven't seen plain cotton ones anywhere.
re: Link to informative post about men's dancewear
By Dancerat50member has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 353, member since Fri Dec 18, 2009
On Thu Jan 07, 2010 12:00 PM
I like Discount Dance leotards. There are some that have very little lycra in them. I personnally prefer having some lycra. They keep their shape and mine under control!

I still have the bubble gum pink tights. They are awful. They feel horrendous on and they look even worse when they bag. The one good thing is the elastic in the waiste was wider so it didn't cut in as much. My favorite tights now are Capezio.
re: Link to informative post about men's dancewear
By fireengine Comments: 29, member since Fri Oct 28, 2011
On Wed Nov 02, 2011 08:24 AM
Just a point of note, there is a link to another book that adsum posted under the "Guys in Ballet" forum. It is a 50 page free ebook "Ballet Apparel for Men" beginners Guide. FYI Cheers
re: Link to informative post about men's dancewear
By cwillams Comments: 21, member since Fri Feb 29, 2008
On Sat Apr 13, 2013 05:57 AM
If you are looking for a great place to purchase men's and boys dance apparel, I have ordered from boysdancetoo.com for our dance studio. Michael has been a great help with getting the correct sizes we needed and giving advice. I have never worked with a company who was this helpful, I encourage you to check them out.

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