Please don’t come to class naked. And please come in proper dance attire.  Dance attire not only allows the dancer to move freely without distraction, it also allows the instructor to see alignment to ensure proper technique.  Just like other activities, dance requires attire and shoes to make the dancer safe and provide the most ideal environment for success.

Ballet slippers are not slippers, weird right. They should have a leather sole. Older dancers will have split-sole meaning no sole under the arches This is to make for a pretty point. Ballet shoes should fit snug, but not crinkle the toes.  And the little elastic strings should be fitted, tied, cut, and taped to the inside of the shoe with masking tape…. Maybe there should be a video on that. Ballet shoes are typically pink but come in several colors.

Jazz shoes have leather under the toes and a slight heel. Some are lace up, some slip on. They should fit snug and not crinkle the toes like the ballet shoes. Jazz shoes are typically tan or black, unless they are from the 80’s when they came in all kinds of rainbow colors.

Lyrical shoes come in all kinds of styles. They can be foot undies which are shoes that look like tiny underwear with one smaller hole for the big toe and one bigger hole for the other 4 toes.  Adorable, but they don’t always work the best.  Half-soles are the shoes that look like a ballet shoe that lost its heel. Most lyrical shoes are in flesh colored tones.

Tap shoes have taps on them. That’s how you know they are tap shoes. Like many things in this world, the more you pay, typically the better they are until it just gets ridiculous. Younger tappers will be okay in a plastic soled tap shoe. But if you like tap, you will want a solid shank to your shoe for the best sound and technique. Tap shoes are typically black, but why limit yourself?

Hip hop shoes are called sneakers or tennis shoes. Depending on how much pivoting or turning will determine how little tread you want. Some brands make sneakers for hip hop dancing. So that’s fun. Hip hop is about expression – so knock yourself out, but stay away from light up shoes unless you’re doing a performance using the lights in the shoes.



  • Tights are the things that go on the legs.
  • Leotards are the things that go on the body (like a one-piece bathing suit).

If you have a budding ballet dancer in the family, it is important for them to look the part. That means a pair of pink tights, a black leotard, and pink ballet shoes.  Ballerinas should arrive to class with their hair in a bun. No skirts or tutus are needed in class.  This look minimizes any distractions and allows for the best evaluation of movement.

Jazz and Musical Theater
Jazz dancers and musical theater dancers should have caramel colored tights and a black leotard. This is always preferred and appropriate. Other options for class include full-length legging and/or, a form-fitted top.  Dancers should have tan colored jazz shoes and dance with their hair in a ponytail, bun, or any hairstyle with hair secured out of face and distraction-free.

Lyrical as a dance style is the combination of ballet and jazz styles, and the attire can do the same.  Leotard and footless or convertible tights are standard. A form-fitting shirt and/or leggings are also appropriate.

Tap dancers of all ages should wear clothes that allow for full body movement. Pants should not be too long. Tap dancers should come to class with black tap shoes.  Ponytails or any hairstyle that secures the hair away from the face is best.


The list of appropriate hip-hop dance wear includes baggy sweat pants, T-shirts, leggings and flannels are all fine for hip-hop dancers. Whatever makes you feel like you can show your attitude.

Leotards or biketards (leotards that are shorts) are best. No tights because they can make the legs slippery which is not good for spotting and tandem skills.


The clothes you wear make a bigger difference than you might think. Even if you are new to the world of dance, you need to look the part, and that means wearing the proper dance attire to class. Each dance studio might have its own version of proper dance attire or maybe colors to wear, but all are to make the best learning experience in class. Oh, and put your hair up, too!

Dance Attire? Yes, Please!
Tagged on: