Just like you can’t paint a canvas without a paintbrush, you can’t enter a ballet class without some key essentials. These essentials are not just important because your teacher told you to carry them but also because each one of them has a unique role to play in shaping you as a ballet dancer. Let’s have a look at each one of them and understand why they are so important.
1. Leotard – The first thing you need to have for a ballet class is the right attire – a leotard. A leotard is a one-piece, skin fit suit that covers the torso. It allows the teacher to observe your posture and correct it whenever needed. On the contrary, loose-fitting clothes make observation difficult.
2. Tights/Stockings – Ballet tights or stockings cover your legs and give them a uniform and neat appearance, completing the right ballet attire. Together with the leotard, they allow easy visualization of body-type, muscle engagement and alignment. A complete ballet attire also brings uniformity to the class to help the teacher spot differences among dancers.
3. Ballet shoes- Ballet entails a lot of footwork like pointing and balancing on the toes, for which you will need to wear ballet shoes. These shoes are specifically designed with thinner soles to allow more flexibility for dancers to move their feet as they point. Ballet shoes are meant to take the shape of your feet, thereby allowing better grip as you dance, therefore, the general tendency of buying one size bigger should be avoided.
4. Hairpins and hair net – These essentials are a must for girls. Tying hair in a neat bun is needed for minimal interference while learning to take turns and spotting. Unlike during a performance when you directly go on the stage to perform, you have to go through various drills in a class. So carry some extra hairpins and hairnet to maintain that perfect look you need. Avoid wearing any accessories like watch, earrings and chain in the class that may interfere with your dancing.
5. Basic hygiene essentials– Chances are that you are going to sweat during your ballet class. And along with you, everyone else in the class is also going to sweat. In order to maintain basic hygiene, carry a napkin or a towel to wipe yourself before you touch the barre with sweaty hands and make others uncomfortable around you. Remember that maintaining basic hygiene is also a way of being respectful to your peers, classmates and teachers who are sharing the same space with you. Carry a deodorant or body spray and use it if necessary to prevent body odour. You can always carry an extra pair of clothes to change after your class is over.
6. Water bottle – As silly as it may sound, but some students do forget to carry a bottle of water with them when they come to class. It is important to stay hydrated while you are in a ballet class because you are going to sweat. And rather than exiting the class during water breaks, it’s best to carry a bottle with you every time.
7. Notebook and pen– Ballet is very technical in nature and that’s why your teacher will be giving you a lot of corrections for each exercise that you practice in class. Sometimes, remembering all the corrections and the technical terms may get a bit overwhelming. It’s best that you note down these corrections at the end of your class with assistance from your teacher. Writing down highlights from the class will also help you go through the corrections and revise what you did before you enter the next session. It gives you the opportunity to be more prepared and helps you perform better than what you did in the previous class.
8. Snacks- After all that physical and mental hard work that you go through in the class, you definitely deserve something to munch on after the class is over. So always carry a snack along with you. Fruits like bananas and apples or a mixture of dried fruits could be among some healthier options that you can choose from.
These essentials are equally important for children as they are for teens and adults. So even parents should make a note of these things after enrolling their children in a ballet class.
Written by: Shraddha Rupavate