We believe it is important to have a dress code. The clothing dress code helps a young dancer focus during class by:
1. Understanding they are going to a structured class (compared to an unstructured playtime).
2. Ensuring that the clothing is not a distraction during class.
3. Making certain that a dancer is appropriately dressed so as to be necessarily covered.
We do not think a dress code is necessary during general movement or Mommy and Me classes. Of course dance leotards, tights and tutus add to the fun, but they are not required for the educational development of the dancer.
If a parent is watching the budget or a child does not want to wear the suggested clothes, a dancer can be just as successful awhile wearing a pair of leggings and a t-shirt. If this is the case, we would suggest setting aside the leggings and t-shirt for dance class only. By doing do, the dancer learns that these clothes are affiliated with a structured class and not just playtime.
The dress code we struggle with is when a dance studio requires a specific leotard or a specific color stocked by the dance studio. The real reason behind this requirement is not to benefit the dancer but to create additional revenue for the dance studio.
Money seems to fly out the door fast enough as it is when you have children so no parent needs to spend money on expensive dance clothes that their kids will quickly grow out of.
That being said, a dress code becomes more important as the dancer gets older. Proper dance attire enables the teacher to see the dancers’ positions and movement in order to give necessary corrections. A dress code also teaches discipline, which is important in art as demanding as dance. For a very traditional ballet class, students are usually asked to wear a black leotard and pink tights. Pattern leotards can be a distraction to the teacher’s eye.
The other parts of a dress code in dance classes includes hair pulled back in a bun (or at least a ponytail) and proper shoes. These are both important for the dancer and should be adhered to.
In regards to hip-hop classes, the dress code should be very general. To promote the culture and energy of the hip-hop style, the dress code should simply be sweats, t-shirts, and tennis shoes with laces. Dancers will often do floor work and this is why long stretchy pants are needed. Tied tennis shoes with less traction are good for sliding and turning.
Overall, a dress code is important in any dance class but the strictness should depend on the age. Nothing should keep us from dancing…