A to Z of Dancewear

by Danielle Hernandez on December 19, 2018


Glossary of terms related to dancewear!

To any dancer, dancewear is not just a costume to be donned during practice or performance. For ballroom dancing- for example, dancewear is also a reflection of a dancer's personality, fashion, and sense of style.

Dancewear helps a dancer in putting their best foot forward. You will see many dancers swear by the impact their dancewear has on their persona, and the way they are transformed into an entirely different person the moment they are in their dancewear.

Let's look at some of the common dancewear terms-

Accessories: An essential element of any dancewear. Dance accessories give the perfect final touch to your dance look. From hair accessories for ballet, hats for jazz to a hip-scarf for a belly dance, accessories help create the right look and aura for a dancer.


Ballet Shoes: Ballet shoes or ballet slippers are lightweight shoes designed specifically for dancing. Traditionally, only pink shoes are worn by female ballet dancers and white or black by male dancers. Tan or other colored slippers give the appearance of dancing barefoot and sometimes used in modern dancing. Nowadays, ballet shoes are made from soft leather, canvas, or satin with ultimate flexibility to ensure maximum comfort. (Also see: Pointe Shoes below)

Ballet Shoes

Costumes: Costumes are an integral part of any dancer’s wardrobe. Every dance form is unique, and so are the dance costumes associated with that dance. Costumes help create the perfect look and feel for a dance, irrespective of the surroundings. Costumes are also specific to the stories in some dance forms, like ballet. Nutcracker costumes are widely assessed as one of the most prolific outfits in ballet.


Dance Shoes: Dancers wear a wide variety of shoes. What shoes are worn depends on the dance form and more often, on the nature of the surface of the dance floor. There is no rule about wearing your dance shoes other than when dancing, however, most dancers like to keep their jazz or tap dance shoes exclusively only for dance purposes.

Dance Shoes

Earrings: You do not need any help shining on stage but who doesn't want a little extra glam? Our set of four pairs of dazzling performance earrings give you so many different ways to sparkle. Perfect for competitions, performances or just wearing around.


Flamenco Shoes and Skirts: Typically worn by female dancers, flamenco shoes have nail heads to enhance the sound of a dancer's percussive dance steps. Flamenco skirts are typically long skirts with decorative ruffles. The traje de Flamenca ("flamenco outfit") or traje de gitana ("Gitana outfit") is the dress traditionally worn by women at Ferias (festivals) in Andalusia, Spain. There are two forms: one worn by dancers and the other worn as a day dress. Worn with a flamenco top, the dress is typically brightly colored in solids, and most loved colors are black and red.

Flamenco shoes and skirts

Garment Bags: A performing dancer’s best friend, garment bags can hold almost everything in one place for a dancer. Designed to help the dancer keep shoes, accessories, jewelry and dance costume in one place, garment bags are perfect for both storage as well as carrying purposes.

Garment bags

Hair/ Headgear: Dancers, especially Ballet dancers, worry about frizz and flyaways all the time. Other dancers too look out for decorating their hair in an attractive, yet unobtrusive manner. Hair accessories for decoration include- hair flowers, hair decorations, hair bows, hair bands, and headbands. To tame tresses, dancers also need hair buns, which help create a tidy, well put-out look with the help of hair pins and hair sprays.

Hair/ Headgear

Ice Skating and Figure Skating Wear: Most female dancers prefer dresses for Ice skating. However, ice skating pants are also an excellent idea for dancers who would prefer to keep their legs warm during practice as well as performance.

Ice skating and figure skating wear

Jewelry: Dancers love to enhance their look with jewelry which suits their dance form and is not inconvenient to wear. For larger pieces, jewelry boxes and jewelry holders are available in classic and modern style are the most cherished gift items for most dancers.


Knitwear: Knitwear keeps you warm and comfortable in style during your practice sessions. Cardigans, hoodies, ballet wraps, knit leggings, and pants are perfect for regular wearing as well as dance practices.


Leotards: A leotard is an essential part of any dancer’s attire. From simple short-sleeved basics to more intricate designs, leotards offer dancers the comfort and support they need. Like every other item on this list, leotards have also evolved from traditional, basic designs to trendy and modern styles. Now available in finest quality high performing fabrics, leotards are any dancer's first choice of clothing to create a neat silhouette and elegant look.


Men's Dancewear: There was a time when little was known about dancewear for men. But these days men who love to dance as much as they like to dress well prefer an exclusive range of dancewear. Stylish cuts, trendy designs in most comfortable fabrics.

Men's dancewear

Neutral Shade Body Liners and Dancewear: Nude shade bodyliners, leotards and leggings are every dancer's must-have items. The nude shade is essential when used under costumes, and figure skaters and gymnasts also use them. Made with materials like spandex, nylon, and lycra, the seamless design ensures that they can be used anywhere like a second skin!

Neutral shade body liners and dancewear

On 1 Dancewear: On 1 Dancewear is a full-service dance and fitness retail store located in the heart of Englewood NJ. On 1 Dancewear is owned and operated by Danielle Hernandez, who has near 30 years of dance training, competing and performing.

Pointe Shoes: For dancers who desire to be able to dance en-pointe, there are pointe shoes! Beginners can get the same feel of a pointe shoe in demi-pointe shoes. Most manufacturers make multiple variants because no two dancers' feet are alike. There are shoes with soles, shanks, and ribbons made of different materials. Quadrille or Quickstep: Ballroom dance never goes out of fashion, and a dancer must invest in quality ballroom dance shoes and dancewear.

Pointe Shoes

Ribbons: Ribbons are a ballet dancer's must-have accessory along with pointe shoes. Cut to the length that is perfect for pointe shoes; ribbons help secure pointe shoes in place. Satin ribbons are used for performances, while elastic ribbons are preferred during practice sessions.


Skirts: Dance skirts are very popular among dancers, and in some dances like ballroom and flamenco, the skirts have a significant role to play. Long ballet skirts are having a major moment in studios this year.


Tights: A close-fitting garment covering the dancer's body from waist to feet, worn both in class and on the stage. Tights are most versatile of dancewear, and dancers swear by these garments to layer up, mix and match and save time while rushing from school to studio.


Unitards and Undergarments- Unitards are skintight, one-piece garments with long legs and sometimes, long sleeves. They are worn under costumes and also double up as dancewear when worn with skirts and tutus. Unitards help in creating smooth lines and hide seams of undergarments, giving a dancer a neat and professional look. You can learn more about how to choose your undergarments in this blog.

Unitards and Undergarments

Vanity Case- A vanity case to keep your cosmetics and essentials in one place is a permanent fixture of every dancer's bag.

Warmers- Warmers provide safety, style, and warmth to dancers. Leg and arm warmers are used to warm up and prevent muscles from being pulled strained or injured during stretching. They are easy to layer and peel off. Even in the summers, a lot of dancers wear lighter knitted sweaters, legwarmers or hoodies.


Zumba Dancewear- Zumba is the latest rage that combines fitness with dance. Dancewear for Zumba includes sneakers, t-shirts, and tights.

Zumba dancewear

Do you have any more new terms to add to our list of dancewear and accessories? Leave your comments!


Please note, comments must be approved before they are published