I’m going to jump right into my posts with an issue that is important to me, but often over-looked by parents and students. Every day that I am at the dance studio, I watch students come and go through the studio doors, most of them dressed for class in leotards and tights. Which I appreciate. However, I don’t like seeing young dancers walking around outside the dance studio wearing nothing over their dance attire. Put some clothes on over your leotards. Cover yourself up. Not to shame yourself, not to hide the fact that you’re taking dance lessons, but to be decent in public.
There’s a reason that dancers wear tight fitting garments such as leotards, tights, snug-fitting shorts and tank tops- dance instructors like myself need to see your body. I can’t see if my student is holding her core muscles or if her legs are completely straight if she is wearing baggy pants and a t-shirt. Studios have dress code policies so that students may get the best training possible, which involves being able to clearly see what muscles are being used and not being distracted by ill-fitting clothes. I am one to enforce that dress code and ask all my students to remove their “junk”- anything that doesn’t fit into the leotard, tights, and booty shorts or ballet skirt dress code.
However, there is no need for the general public to see your daughter wearing the equivalent of a one piece swimsuit to the grocery store as you grab that last needed item for dinner. Or generally walking the few feet from the parking lot inside the studio building. I would hope that you wouldn’t allow your child to walk around outside the pool deck without at the very least a towel to cover them. Same concept applies for dance wear.
I’m not asking you to send your 3 year old to her first dance lessons donning layers upon layers over her cute tutu that she’s so proud to wear. Nor am I asking the teenagers to put the clothes they wore to school over their dance attire. If you choose to do those, more power to you. What I’m asking is more simple. Teach your daughter to throw a simple sundress over the leotard like they would a swimsuit. Buy your kid some yoga pants and a studio tank top/t-shirt/sweatshirt/jacket for easy off and on before and after class. It can be that simple, but it makes a huge difference.
And no, just a winter coat over the tutu doesn’t count- which I see almost daily when its cold out. Yes, your child needs a coat when its 34 degrees outside. But guess what, they also need pants. That child-sized Northface jacket isn’t helping keep her legs warm or cover them up. It also won’t help when your child is warm from an hour’s worth of exercise and then the cold winter air shocks her body temperature. Your child needs a top and a bottom to cover up, a full outfit over their dance attire.
So parents, I urge you to dress your child for class THEN to dress them to go out in public before you leave the house. After all, they are going out in public FIRST.