“The dance can reveal everything mysterious that is hidden in music, and it has the additional merit of being human and palpable. Dancing is poetry with arms and legs.” - Charles Beaudelaire
If you’re going to do ballet, you’re going to need the gear. In some cases, the correct attire is obligatory due to the dance school whereas in some cases, you can wear almost whatever you want. The leotard-tights combo is pretty ideal since it’s tight, allows you to move, and lets the teacher see exactly what you’re doing. Furthermore, it stays in place, unlike looser clothes that you’d have to regularly adjust throughout the lesson. Of course, this does mean that when you first take up ballet, you’ll need to set aside some money for it. In this article, we're looking at how much getting ballet clothing will cost you.
How Much Does a Leotard Cost?
You’ll find leotards at all prices depending on the brand, size, material, and style. A girl’s leotard tends to cost less than a woman’s leotard. They come in lycra, microfibre, cotton, or even viscose and each material has its pros and cons. A leotard can have thin straps, thick straps, short sleeves, long sleeves, etc. It can be backless, with straps, with a plunging neckline, crew neck, or boat neck. Some styles may be better than others for your body type. We recommend that you always try a leotard before buying it, especially if it’s your first one. You can also get a tutu, which is a leotard with a little skirt sewn into it. In some cases, you can get the tutu separately if you’d like different colours but it’s not essential. The most famous brands for leotards include Repetto, Wear Moi, Bloch, and Temps Danse. If you’re on a limited budget, Domyos, Decathlon’s brand, includes plenty of ballet clothing. A leotard can cost between £10 and £60 depending on the style and brand you go for. Here’s a selection of leotards you can pick up:
- Domyos Women’s Crossed Strap Ballet Leotard: £12.99. Available in black or blue, sizes 6 to 16.
- Wear Moi Abbie: £20. Available in 17 colours, sizes XS to L.
- Wear Moi Ballerine: £29. Available in 11 colours, sizes XS to L.
- Ladies Kato Printed Mesh Back Sleeve Leotard: £33. Crew neck, zip fastening, floral back. Available in “Maple Print” or “Pacific Print”, sizes Petite to Large.
- Gaynor Minden Juliet: £39.50. Available in black, sizes XS to L.
- Temps Danse Combishort Majestic: £42. Available sizes XS to XL.
If you prefer, you could go for a unitard, a full-body jumpsuit with long sleeves and covered legs. You can get decent unitards from between £30 and £60. Don’t hesitate to buy a few leotards so that you can change when your mood does.
How Much Do Tights Cost?
You can expect to pay between £10 and £30 for a pair of ballet tights. Keep in mind that you need to wash them after every class so you’ll want to go for quality rather than having to buy several pairs throughout the year. Ballet tights need to be more resistant than everyday tights. You’ll need to go to a specialist shop for them as you don’t want them to ladder at the slightest movement. You should invest in at least two pairs of tights. There's a choice of between 5 types of tight:
- Footed tights
- Footless tights
- Stirrup tights
- Convertible tights
- Body tights
Here’s a selection of tights to get you started. Here’s a selection of a few different styles:
- Domyos Women’s Ballet Tights: £3.99 from Decathlon. Available sizes XS to XL.
- Capezio Essentials Transition Tight: £7. Available in sizes SM/MED or L/XL.
- Capezio Essentials Stirrup Tight: £7. Available in sizes SM/MED or L/XL.
- Wear Moi DIV01 (footed tights): £9. Available sizes XS to L.
- Capezio Body Tight: £19. Available in sizes SM/MED or L/XL.
You can choose dance tights according to taste.
How Much Do Ballet Slippers Cost?
Every dancer will need some ballet slippers when they first start doing ballet. You’ll have a few decisions to make: full sole, split sole, canvas, leather, etc. Depending on the type of sole and material you pick, you can pay between £15 and £50. On average, you’ll pay around £25 for a pair of ballet slippers that will go the distance. If you’re just starting, opt for full sole ballet slippers as they’ll give you better stability as you build strength in your heels. At Decathlon, you can get a pair of full sole ballet shoes for £5.99. You can get full sole ballet shoes from Repetto for £24. They’re in leather and go up to size 11. Once you’ve got a bit of experience, you can move up to full sole shoes:
- Split sole leather demi-pointes from Decathlon: £12.99. Up to size 6½.
- Dancez Vous Nina canvas split-sole ballet shoes: £11. Sizes 2 to 11.5.
- Wear Moi Vesta soft stretch canvas split-sole ballet slippers: £21. Sizes Children’s 6.5 to Adult’s 10.
Make sure you’ve got some elastic to sew on over the top of the shoe to help keep it on your feet. You can get this elastic from Decathlon for a couple of quid. Once you reach an advanced level, you can invest in some ballet pointes. A pair of pointe shoes that are suited to your foot and your level can set you back upwards of £50. Don’t buy second hand as pointe shoes will adjust to a dancer’s foot.
Cost of the Whole Outfit
Now that we’ve seen everything you need, here’s the total cost:
- Leotard: £20 on average.
- Tights: £10 on average.
- Ballet slippers: £20 on average.
This makes for a total of £50.
Accessories and Other Items
Sometimes, you’ll need items and accessories that we didn’t mention previously. The leotard and tights aren’t for everyone even though they are essentially the ballet dancer uniform. Depending on your body type, you may feel more comfortable in less revealing clothing. Don’t hesitate to look at ballet bottoms and leggings if you don’t feel comfortable. Perhaps you’d prefer to dance in a t-shirt? You can also get flowing dresses or long tunics. The possibilities are nearly endless!
- For decent dance leggings, expect to pay around £40.
- Tops can cost between £15 and £60.
- A suitable bra can cost around £20.
- A long tunic can cost around £50.
In winter, you might also want to invest in clothing to use whilst you warm up. This could include:
- Bloch Ladies Warm-Up Jumpsuit: £42.
- Capezio Legwarmers: £18.
- Domyos Wrap-Over Top: £5.99 at Decathlon.
- Repetto Warm-Up Boots: £49.
- Decathlon Women’s Stirrup Leg Warmers: £5.99.
The possibilities are nearly endless! You can also get a jumper to keep warm as your muscles get ready. You may also need dancer’s makeup.
When it comes to dancing, there are a few accessories you need:
- Bags: you can find bags for all budgets depending on the brand and style.
- Hair accessories: pins, nets, bobbles, etc.
- Toe protectors if you get pointe shoes: silicone, foam, toe spacers, etc.
- A pouch for your ballet shoes or pointe shoes.
- Rosin for your pointe shoes.
- Tutu for your end-of-year show.
Don’t hesitate to ask your dance teacher for what you need to buy for your ballet classes. Once you’ve got your leotard, tights, and ballet slippers, you’re pretty much ready to go. If you need more help with ballet, think about getting in touch with the talented and experienced tutors on Superprof. You can get either face-to-face tutorials, online tutorials, and group tutorials and since each comes with its pros and cons, make sure you carefully consider which one will work best for you, your preferred learning style, and your budget. Face-to-face tutorials tend to be more costly than the other types of tutorials but they're also the most cost-effective since you're getting a bespoke service with a personal tutor. Online tutorials are usually cheaper but aren't as effective when it comes to hands-on subjects like dancing. However, if you're on a budget or are struggling to find tutors in your local area, online tutors could save the day. Group tutorials are cheaper per person per hour since you're all sharing the cost of the tutor's time. If you and a few friends would like to learn how to dance, group tutorials could be the way to go. Furthermore, you won't always have to dance with the same person. Similarly, many of the tutors on Superprof offer the first hour of tutoring for free. Make use of these free hours to see if you get along with the tutor and whether or not they're right for you.