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After signing up your child for dance lessons, you might be unsure of what they should wear. The instructor can provide you with dress code information specific to your child’s class. As you shop for the proper attire, keep the following factors in mind.

Girls’ vs. boys’ dance attire

While specific requirements vary by dance style, girls are generally expected to wear a leotard or form-fitting dancewear and tights to class. Boys should wear a snug T-shirt and sweatpants or shorts. Be aware that for students taking ballet, girls are expected to wear pink ballet slippers, and boys wear black ballet slippers.

No jeans are allowed in any dance lessons for either boys or girls because they restrict the dancer’s movement. Students should also come with their hair pulled back in a controlled fashion to allow them to spin and turn more comfortably.

Shoes for Dance Lessons

Shoes are the most essential part of a dancer’s ensemble. The types of shoes your child wears depends on the dance classes they’re enrolled in. Here are the different styles available:

  • Ballet slippers
  • Pointe shoes
  • Tap shoes
  • Jazz shoes
  • Foot thongs for contemporary/lyrical (bare feet may also be permitted)
  • Jazz sneakers or athletic shoes for hip-hop and breakdance (the shoes should only be worn at dance lessons)

Students taking creative dance and combo classes will require multiple styles of dance shoes.

Socks are not an acceptable replacement for dance shoes. Floors made specifically for dancing on are too slippery for socks.

Students should put on their dance shoes after arriving at the studio and remove them before they leave. This helps the shoes last longer and prevents tracking in dirt, mud or water.

The importance of a proper fit

For the comfort and safety of all dance students, they must wear shoes that fit properly. Buying shoes one size up to allow for growth may increase the potential for tripping or developing ankle/knee problems.

Also be aware that jazz and ballet shoes stretch when worn, and a dancer’s foot shortens when they point their toes, so consider this when trying on new dance shoes. An effective method is to fit dance shoes as if they were socks rather than athletic shoes. Your child’s dancer instructor may be able to help you achieve a proper fit.

Performance costume considerations

The ensemble your child wears to weekly dance practice is not what they wear during recitals, performances and competitions. Instead, the studio orders costumes to help the dancers look their best on stage. This requires measuring every student and placing costume orders months in advance. Be aware that parents are charged for costumes in addition to regular tuition fees.

To learn more about the dress code and costume policy at Dance Academy USA, or to sign up for dance lessons in Cupertino, CA, please contact us at (408) 257-3211 or email us at


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