Once you have made the decision to start your career as an adult ballet dancer, the second most daunting task is to buy a leotard, pink ballet tights and ballet pumps.

Now the ballet pumps hold no threat and the only challenge here is leather or canvas? And both possibilities have pros and cons. Leather shoes are more expensive but generally give a better fit. They are harder to work in which helps to strengthen your feet. Canvas shoes are cheaper but do not always fit as well, so they might make your feet look like dead fish at the end of your legs and your teacher will be less than impressed. There are better fitting more expensive canvas options on the market.

Pink ballet tights – as unflattering as they seem – have definite purpose and are necessary for the whole ballet experience. In South Africa our choice of manufacturers is somewhat limited and imported tights are rather pricey (and can run as easily as those manufactured locally! :))

Ballet tights shape the leg and blend with the colour or your pumps and pointe shoes which makes for an aesthetically pleasing line when hitting those arabesques! Tights are also functional in that they prevent your leotard making a “wedgie” as well as enabling your teacher to see if you are engaging the required muscle group for each step.

The Leotard. Not everybody owns the “perfect ballet body” (which actually only about 2% of the population possess and then not all of them dance!) so choose a leotard which flatters your body type – there are many styles to choose from so your choice should be for the one you feel comfortable and confident to dance in: shoestring straps; cap sleeve, 3/4 sleeve; low back; high neck; low or high cut leg and the list is endless!

A leotard is functional in that it does not roll up and stays put no matter how you contort your body. It is also very comfortable with no seams in awkward places,no bulging and the elasticized lycra holds you in. As opposed to other gym wear with a top-and-bottom ensemble, a leotard has no waistband thus no slipping off, tugging at and drooping as you jetè across the studio.

Be adventurous in your choice of colour – black is boring! Leotards come in every beautiful shade of the rainbow – from pastels to neons and everything in between! A matching chiffon skirt and a lovely crossover top are options to complete your ballet look. Shop, don’t be shy because having the look means your are well on your way to fulfilling your ballet dreams!