Forum: Ballet / Guys in Ballet

Experiences of buying ballet apparel for men
By Buttonbox
On Tue Jan 04, 2011 10:27 AM

I'm finally back in London and with one last day off before work decided to go on a shopping trip. My previous experience of buying dance clothes was a small village shop run by a retired dancer. She was amusing, not intimidated by male shoppers and insisted that everything fit correctly. The only downside was a decided lack of choice in brands.

The good thing about London is that there are lots of dancewear shops. The downside is that most of them seem to be staffed by young women who know absolutely nothing about men's clothes or clothing needs. Could it be that not many men go into dance shops?

Thankfully catalogues, dressing rooms and lots of stock kept me amused through the whole experience.

The one shop that was the exception to the rule was Bloch on Drury Lane (near Covent Garden). Aside from being really organised (something I heartily approve of), they also had a male member of staff who knew his company's products really well and gave me as much of his time as I needed.

If anything was going to put a man off doing ballet, its buying ballet belts and tights. Shouldn't shops make more of an effort to support and encourage boys and men?

Did anyone else have tales of frustration or joy?

9 Replies to Experiences of buying ballet apparel for men

re: Experiences of buying ballet apparel for men
By MrRed
On Tue Jan 04, 2011 12:55 PM
I went back to ballet 1 year ago - after nearly 20 years off. I found a store near my office Boca Raton FL, walked in, asked the older gentleman behind the counter for some help; told him what I wanted - black belt, M; footed tights, black, and a shoe fit. He gathered the stuff, sized my foot (Sansha 13M), I paid, and left. Just that simple.

Good luck out there!
re: Experiences of buying ballet apparel for men
By guyclone
On Tue Jan 04, 2011 02:41 PM
Unfortunately these shops cater to their markets. While ballet companies may have 50% of their dancers male, most little studios are lucky to have one or two dancers at all. Therefore shops sell mostly to females.
On top of that, its quite hard to find experienced male dancers who will work in a dance store. Generally good male dancers with lots of experience have found some sort of job in the field, or given up on it entirely and moved on.
The options are certainly better in big cities. Places like London, Toronto, and New York will have lots of stores, and they will likely stock a good variety. But if you find a dance studio in Chesterfield or... Boise Idaho, you're kinda stuck having to deal with what they offer.
Fortunately the internet has been a godsend for male dancers. You can get almost anything and everything you want as long as you have a credit card and can wait a week.
The downside is that unless you know the proper size, you may end up with something a little too big or small.
At least in terms of ballet shoes, you can go into the store and try pink ones. You'll find which brand, size, width, etc you like. Then if they don't have white or black shoes in that size, and you don't want to wear pink, you can go home and order them online.
re: Experiences of buying ballet apparel for men
By pondflyPremium member
On Tue Jan 04, 2011 11:06 PM
I have a bunch of shops in the Chicago and suburban area that I can go to, however I do most of my work online as they are significantly less expensive. I leave the local shops for last minute things.
re: Experiences of buying ballet apparel for men
By travelfan
On Sat Jan 08, 2011 05:03 PM
I honestly don't see the issue...at the dance store I go to, the women are just as knowledgeable about the men's products as a man would be. I understand that some men are intimidated about ballet, but can you really expect there to be reassurance from other men every single place you go? At some point you have to just accept you are a dancer and get over it.
re: Experiences of buying ballet apparel for men
By greenpumpkinmember has saluted, click to view salute photos
On Sat Jan 08, 2011 08:25 PM
If you don't know your size, just guess and then order one size larger and smaller. Return what doesn't fit. It doesn't take very much of that to figure out your size.
re: Experiences of buying ballet apparel for men
By luv2plie
On Sat Jan 08, 2011 10:55 PM
I live near a big city so buying ballet attire for guys in NOT an issue!

Kev
re: Experiences of buying ballet apparel for men
By balletstudent
On Sun Feb 20, 2011 10:15 AM
I never had a problem buying dancewear
re: Experiences of buying ballet apparel for men
By BalletTom
On Thu Mar 10, 2011 03:34 AM
The other day I bought a pair of white ballet shoes. Went in, no fuss, she sized my foot and i got the pair.

Then a couple of days later i journeyed to a small ballet store, where the woman recommended tights and a leotard.
I walked away with a White strap leotard, and white tights.

Perfect for class.
re: Experiences of buying ballet apparel for men
By ralf2008
On Thu Mar 31, 2011 08:14 AM
Actually, I've had pretty good success. I've ordered on-line, and that went well. Stuff came and actually got a "bonus" item. Also in traveling, I've looked on the internet in larger cities, and found a couple of good stores. Once you have an idea of what you want, the sales people will no doubt be glad to help.

It can be embarrassing, so I'd suggest checking on the internet to at least have an idea of what you're looking for, then go in with the right vocabulary. In most cases, you'll be respected.

In some cases, if you buy a larger quantity of items, they may offer discounts, so it doesn't hurt to ask!
Ralf

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