For many parents with aspiring young dancers, the task of kitting out their child with the right uniform can be daunting. We give you the low-down on all you need to know, from shoes to tutus.
Although ballet is often a hobby rather than a potential career for lots of children, it’s worth noting that the uniform can take centre stage. You may need to purchase your little one’s uniform from the ballet class itself, so you should keep this in mind before booking the classes.
It is often better to shop locally than online for uniforms, as each dance school’s uniform may be unique to them. However, an expert shoe fitter is essential, so that young dancing feet stay protected, so do be prepared to travel to a specialist ballet shoe store.
Children are expected to come to class well-groomed and ready to dance and getting dressed in their uniform helps to get them in the right frame of mind. Long hair must be worn up in a bun, or a hair band can be used to keep it off the face.
The uniform also has other uses: it is comfortable and practical to move in and is also used to show a child’s skill level, as the garments and colours change with the grades.
Boys are usually expected to wear shorts accompanied by a t-shirt, socks and ballet shoes, while girls will be asked to wear a leotard, skirt, tights or socks and ballet shoes.
The shoes, made from leather, satin or canvas, are critically important. Ballet shoes come in different sizes to everyday shoes, so ask the experts’ advice and make sure your child tries them on.
You may also be asked to buy ‘character shoes,’ in black fabric with a small heel, which are used for different styles of dance within the syllabus.
Children can begin ballet as early as two or three years old in baby ballet classes and they usually progress with their age group. Dance schools working to the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) or Imperial Society of Teachers (ISTD) syllabus use a different coloured uniform for sets of grades, giving a sense of belonging and achievement.
Traditionally, boys’ uniforms are simple, with navy or black shorts and white or pale blue t-shirts. While girls begin with a pink leotard and wrap-around skirt for Pre-Primary and Primary grades, moving on to blue or lilac leotards later on.
Our staff at The Ballet Boutique shop are trained Bloch pointe shoe fitters. We always suggest a private fitting with a trained pointe shoe fitter which are available by appointment. We might offer pointe shoes for sale on this website, however by purchasing pointe shoes online, you the purchaser confirm that you are purchasing pointe shoes on the understanding that it is a replacement shoe of the same manufacturer, style, size and width that you have been fitted with by a trained pointe shoe fitter within the last 6 months. If in any doubt about the importance of this please do contact us. Never wear pointe shoes that do not fit properly.