Dance is one of the most popular sports, though most of the dancing we see on a regular basis is just recreational. Competitive dance is dance teams or individuals competing in tournaments by dancing in front of judges, who will critique their routine and give them a score. The dancer and dance team with the highest scores will win. There are various types of dances that can be performed in competition and many of them require their own specialized equipment. Let's dive into it!
Dance accessories include a vast array of props or equipment items that enhance a performance. Some examples are hairpieces, poms, belts, headbands, caps, gowns, jewelry, dance shoes, and streamers. While most accessories are not required in order to become a successful dancer, they are often utilized to maximize comfort and style. Certain accessories may be best suited for a specific type of dance routine, so it is important to consider the performance before equipping oneself with extra gear.
Dance bags are used to store and transport a variety of items, including outfits, shoes, and cosmetics. Most dancers prefer to use a duffel style bag, although drawstrings bags and backpacks are also adequate options. The cost of dance bags varies depending on material and individual preferences. Avid dancers looking to buy a custom bag with their name etched into the sides are looking at a price range of $50 to $100, while beginners that are satisfied with a generic bag can spend as little as $25.
Ballet slippers are specially designed shoes that are used for a highly technical and elegant form of dance called ballet. They are extremely light and have thin soles, which provides the flexibility necessary to stand on all parts of the feet (especially useful for tiptoe maneuvers). Most slippers are made of lightweight, comfortable fabrics like satin or soft leather, with two bands running across the top of the foot to ensure that they do not fall off in the middle of a routine. Men's ballet slippers are usually black or white, while women's slippers are skin-colored. Depending on the overall quality of the shoe, ballet slippers can cost anywhere from $50 to $120.
Barres are pieces of dance equipment used primarily for warm-up exercises and fitness programs. A typical barre includes a thin metal or wood handrail that is held up by a height-adjustable support structure. Inexperienced dancers are able to practice their tricks by placing one hand on the rail as a safety blanket in case they falter or stumble. Barres can also be used by veteran dancers simply looking to warm up their muscles or sharpen a routine prior to the actual performance.
Since style and elegance are crucial components of any dance routine, costumes are widely used as a means of standing out on stage. Contemporary dancers are likely to wear flashy tops paired with skirts or joggers, while classical dancers tend to wear long, colorful gowns or leotards. More unconventional costumes may also be warranted in some cases depending on the themes and cultural aspects represented by each unique dance routine. Dancers that stick to one style of dance require very few outfits, while those that venture into various different genres of dance are likely to incur greater costs due to new costumes being used to accommodate each individual performance.
Leotards are a special type of upper body garment worn by dancers. They are made out a stretchy, sweat-wicking polyester material that ensures maximum breathability and flexibility. Generally tight-fitting, these garments come in a sleeveless variety with thin shoulder straps for women and short-sleeved versions for men. Oftentimes leotards will be printed with complex, eye-popping designs that flatter the dancer and capture the attention of the audience. Plain leotards can be obtained for around $20, while the more intricate ones cost up to $60 or $70.
Dance shorts, worn primarily during practice sessions, are much different than traditional shorts. They are made out of a tight, athletic material and generally extend from the waist to the mid-thigh region. Not only are dance shorts extremely flexible and comfortable, they also leave the latter portion of the legs uncovered to allow for maximum range of motion when performing jumps and leg swings. Men's and women's dance shorts are very similar in terms of their high-waisted fit, with the only real differences being relative to color and designs.
Dance tights are the full-length counterparts to dance shorts. Worn by both male and female dancers, they are form-fitting and consist of a highly stretchable that allows limbs to move freely. There are a wide range of dance tights available on the market, ranging from standard compression tights to fishnet tights. A quality, tear-resistant pair of dance tights costs anywhere from $10 to $30 dollars and can be purchased either online or in-store at a dancewear outlet.
Tutus and skirts are garments worn by female dancers, primarily for classical dance performances. They can be individual skirts or entire pieces with connected leotards. Tutus and skirts are extremely elegant pieces of clothing that add glamour to any performance by drifting through the air with each spin and leap performed by the dancer. Since they are fairly elaborate outfits, they tend to be more pricey than dance tights or shorts with a starting price point of around $20 and ceiling of nearly $80.
There are several different types of dance floors. The most commonly used material is a parque style hardwood that is covered with a glossy finish. Tile and foam-like surfaces can also be utilized, with some including LED lighting beneath the top layer to add a little extra flare. While most competitions and performances are held on hard surfaces, additional padding may be utilized to prevent any injuries that might otherwise occur during practice.
Mirrors can be used in dance both as a prop and a visual reference point. Some routines utilize mirrors to create a dazzling, illusory effect. Generally speaking, however, mirrors are used during practice runs so that dancers can pay close attention to their technique as the routine unfolds in real-time and make any necessary adjustments. While rolling, portable varieties exist, most dance mirrors are large panes of glass embedded in the wall (similar to those found at a gym) to display the entire body from head to toe.
Virtually every dance routine is accompanied by a musical arrangement. Therefore, it is crucial to have a music player, whether it be a portable speaker or surround sound system that is pre-wired into the venue. Regardless of whether or not the venue is already equipped with speakers, most dancers have their own transportable music player so that they can synchronize their routines with the music during practice sessions.
Pointe shoes are a unique type of ballet slipper worn by ballerinas. The base of the shoe is virtually no different than that of a regular ballet slipper. One major difference, however, is the flat, padded tip located at the toe end of the shoe. The tip of each pointe shoe is not made of satin or soft leather like the rest of the shoe, but rather densely packed layers of fabric or cardboard. This adds rigidity to the toe area and eliminates flimsiness, allowing ballerinas to place their entire body weight on their tip toes without fear of the slipper collapsing.
Ribbons are widely used as props in the dance world. Whereas some routines are fixated solely on the performer's body movements, others involve synchronized twirling of ribbons. This is an art form known as ribbon dancing, in which performers make rapid swinging motions to form a variety of different shapes and patterns. Ribbons come in all different sizes and colors depending on the intended message or symbol. One of the most famous forms of ribbon dancing is called Chinese Ribbon Dancing. Performers are often seen holding several ribbons at one time and using them to create heart-shaped designs.
Tap shoes are leather or synthetic shoes worn by tap dancers. They are designed much like regular dress shoes for the most part, with firm soles and rounded tips. The heels are much thicker, however, and each sole comes integrated with a front and rear metal component (called a tap) that helps to generate the clacking sound heard when the shoe makes contact with the floor. Taps are screwed into the bottom of the shoe, which allows worn taps to be easily switched out with new ones as needed. The starting price point for tap shoes is around $40 with a ceiling of just under $100.
There are two types of tape used for dance. The first is called marking tape, which is used to indicate target spots and boundaries on a dance floor. The second is athletic tape, used to wrap swollen joints and muscles so that dancers with minor ailments can ideally be pain-free during a performance. Whereas marking tape is similar to heavy-duty packaging tape, athletic tape is made out of a breathable cotton fabric that provides stability to previously injured joints to lessen the chances of any further harm being done.
Toe pads are woven, cloth accessories that are worn around the foot just before the toes. Each pad is extremely flexible and customizable to wrap snugly around feet of all sizes. The main function of toe pads is to add comfort, while also protecting against blisters and irritation that can occur from sliding around in pointe shoes for an extended period of time. Capezio pads are widely regarded as the most effective toe pads. Utilizing a crescent-shaped design and thin gel layer embedded into the fabric, they provide maximum relief from foot soreness and irritation.
Dance towels are virtually the same as the athletic towels used across many other sports. They are generally hand-held and made out of a soft, cotton material that is gentle on the skin while maintaining its effectiveness at wiping away perspiration. A must have for any dancer, towels are necessary to cool down and remove sweat during an intense dance workout or routine. Dance towels are one of the least expensive dance accessories, especially when purchased in bulk.
Turn boards are short, rectangular platforms that elevate dancers slightly above the floor. Dancers stand atop the board rather than the floor itself, with the goal being to eliminate the friction that is naturally generated by feet sliding across a hardwood surface (excess friction causes slower spins). It is worth noting that turn boards can only be used for training purposes, as most competitions prohibit them from being used during actual performances. As a result, some dance teachers prefer not to turn boards, as they give dancers a less realistic sense of the surface they will ultimately be operating on.
There is a good amount of equipment and apparel needed for dance. When it comes to dance barres, dance floors, dance mirrors, and dance music players, these pieces of equipment are not necessary for you to purchase, though they can contribute greatly to the sport.
They should be present in a studio that you will take classes or train in! For ballet, lyrical, and possibly acro styles of dance, you will need dance ballet slippers. For tap, you will need dance tap shoes and for pointe you will need dance pointe shoes! You will also need specialized apparel for dance.
The most important dance equipment that you will absolutely need to have is dance apparel. A female dancer needs a dance leotard, dance tights, and possible dance tutus or skirts. These are worn every time a dancer practices and possibly on stage during a competition. Male dancers can wear dance leotards as well or they can opt for dance shorts and a shirt. Dancers will also need the shoes we discussed earlier, whether they be tap, pointe, or ballet slippers. A dancer will not be able to perform correctly without the right type of shoe.
Dance is a very unique sport from most others, especially when it comes to equipment. Unlike many other sports when equipment is needed for protection or to actually play the sport, dance really only requires simple apparel to be worn. You don't need a ball, bat, or helmet for dance, just the correct outfit and some rhythm!
Dance equipment is not typically a one-time purchase. For one, as dancers grow older, they will need to purchase new apparel that will fit their growing body and feet, and apparel for older dancers is much more expensive. Once dancers are older and training more often, they may need extra sets of apparel or shoes for their growing time demands. Buying a few leotards, a few pairs of tights, and two pairs of dance shoes for a younger dancer may cost around $150 to $200, but the same purchase for an adult could be closer to $350. The good thing is, these are the only purchases you should absolutely need to make in terms of equipment.