Back to the Barre

On Back to the Barre: Pink tights.

Clothes for dancing are pretty specific.

The idea is that you wear clothes that allow your teacher to see as much of you as is possible. If you’re hiding a non-turned-out hip or a raised shoulder under a pile of layers then you’re not doing yourself, or your technique, any favours. But aside from that requirement, the specifics are a bit looser – colour and exact articles of clothing are usually up to the dancer.

Photo source: Royal Ballet School

Photo source: Royal Ballet School

My teacher is pretty un-fussy, particularly with those of us who aren’t teenagers any more, and so I usually wear some kind of combination of leotard-vest-leggings-tights-skirt. The only thing that really matters is the shoes – you can’t do ballet in bare feet, or socks, you need proper ballet shoes (particularly, obviously, if you’re doing pointe work).

And yet, if you do an exam then things are a little different: ballet shoes, hideous pink ballet tights, and a navy blue, sleeveless leotard. That is it. Nothing more. And let’s not forget, this is an exam, in front of a stranger.


Because I have to say that I’m not exactly comfortable in that kind of outfit. I’m all about layers, and being covered up, and not displaying my every lump and bump to all and sundry, so maybe ballet isn’t the best choice for me.

And yet, despite the lack of layers, and the horrible pink tights, I love it.


In summary: clothed, sort of.

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  • Reply Sofie's Diary March 8, 2013 at 1:20 am

    Good luck for your exam! I love the picture. The teacher is Dame Ninette de Valois but who is the dancer? Is it Margot Fontaine?

    • Reply ellidhcook March 11, 2013 at 1:04 pm

      Thanks for visiting! Thankfully, the exam is still a long way away.
      I’m not sure who the dancer is, actually, although I don’t think it’s Fonteyn. Just an ‘unnamed dancer’ at the Royal Ballet School!

  • Reply Forever Bound Art March 8, 2013 at 1:23 am

    I was highly amused when “ballet flats” became the latest fashion. (we won’t even discuss leg warmers from the eighties) My thoughts on those ballet flats were of “those won’t work for my dancer feet, that are in NEED of a break and need MUCH comfort” Tisk, Tisk. (but I’ll cram my feet in gorgeous high heels and pointe shoes!) Heck, those shoes get the rave review of “cute” because the people who wear them don’t need the tender loving care that dancers need in shoes after class. LOL! I am amused when I think about the world wanting to replicate the dancer. You know, it’s a compliment. Girl, take some of those layers off! Show your colors! What am I saying, (as I shake my head from a moment of sudden heroism) we layer up so we won’t pull a muscle. We layer up to hide the baby fat and stretch marks. It’s hard getting old as dancer. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Reply ellidhcook March 11, 2013 at 1:00 pm

      Thanks for the comment. Yep, I probably won’t be taking the layers off, but thanks for the encouragement! ๐Ÿ™‚

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