What to Wear to Ballroom Dance Class: Beginner’s Guide

So, you have just enrolled in a ballroom dancing lesson. It is your first time to join a dance class, and some questions probably keep spinning around in your mind. Will you be able to keep up? Who will be your dancing partner? Is the instructor nice? In order to be comfortable in a new hobby, you also need to know what to wear to ballroom dance class.

First impressions matter, but comfort comes first before looking good. It is also worth considering that ballroom dancing can be challenging, especially if you are a newbie. So, it is important to come in proper attire so you will not only perform satisfactorily but make a good first impression to your instructor and dance classmates too.

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What to Wear to Ballroom Dance Class?

No matter what kind of dance techniques you are going to study, it is important for both men and women to wear lightweight clothes that are comfortable and breathable. These clothes should sway along with your moves without making you feel hot.

When it comes to shoes, it is appropriate to choose the kinds that easily slide around. It’s best that they securely attach to your feet too, so they will not come off when you’re on the moves.

What Should Men Wear?

Depending on the time of year and event, the attire for men should support learning. On the cold days, men can wear a light sweater or layer that can be easily removed as you warm up and cool down during the ballroom class. Avoid wearing heavy clothes as they tend to get hot while you dance.

Among the appropriate clothes that men can wear on a ballroom dance class are the following:

  • Cotton T-shirts
  • Short/long button-up sleeves
  • Polo shirts
  • Slacks
  • Dress pants
  • Jeans
  • Khakis
  • Shorts
  • Light vest
  • Light sweaters

During private or studio dance lessons, men can wear shorts. They don’t have to wear a suit-and-tie combo because it is too formal and the aim is to practice. However, if you plan on dancing on a night out or during a special occasion, more formal attire is required.

Men should wear long pants and a suit and tie. A hat is not necessary, but if worn, it should be a fedora hat, newspaper hat, or any kind with a small and narrow brim.

Ballroom shoes should be flat and have a smooth bottom so it will be easy to move around in. It should be securely attached to the feet and will not stick to the floor. Examples of good ballroom dancing shoes are dress shoes with a rounded toe, sneakers, and tennis shoes.

On the other hand, dress shoes with huge square toes are not recommended as they are quite bulky. Slip-on footwear can slide off and cause an accident when dancing.

What Should Women Wear?

Similar to what men need to wear to ballroom dance class, women’s attire should also be comfortable and easy to move around with. The general ballroom attire for women is a flared dress or skirt. Fitted slacks paired with a blouse is also appropriate.

Avoid wearing clothes that reveal too much skin while dancing. It is also recommended to avoid A-line skirts, V-neck blouses, and other restrictive clothes. Aside from comfort, you also need to consider looking respectable while you dance.

On your first ballroom lesson and succeeding sessions, wear shoes that will be comfortable when you stand all night or move around. However, sneakers and rubber shoes are not acceptable. Wear shoes that will be securely attached to your feet. The heel, if any, should be securely attached to the shoes. Never wear thong shoes as they can cause an accident.

What Not to Wear to Ballroom Dance Class?

As a newbie, you don’t want to look awkward or feel uncomfortable during the entire dance lesson. Some dance students and even instructors share many instances when they pulled their skirts down, tugged on their shirts, felt too hot, and had sweat marks while in the studio.

To avoid these instances, here is a list of attires that should not be worn in a ballroom dance class:

  • Ballroom dancing involves turning, twisting, sliding, wiggling, and more. Avoid wearing slip-on shoes, high heels, flip-flops, and tennis shoes.
  • Avoid wearing fitted skirts or dresses as these can limit your movements. Movements in ballroom dancing consist of opening/closing legs, and you don’t want to tear up fitted bottoms. Jeans are not appropriate because they are too hot and tight.
  • Do not wear short T-shirts, hanging tops, bra tops, backless tops, spaghetti straps, sweaters, and strapless tops. Since you will be dancing with a partner, it is appropriate to keep your sweat to yourself. Also, consider your partner’s comfort by not wearing too revealing tops.

Important Things to Consider When Choosing a Ballroom Outfit

Since it will be your first time to be part of a ballroom dancing class, avoid buying expensive outfits yet. You don’t know if you are going to stick with dancing, after all. You can search for old clothes in your closet that are appropriate for ballroom dancing.

As a woman, you don’t have to wear heels, but if you want to, don’t choose heels that are as high as 6 inches. For men, a ½-inch heel is acceptable. The heels must be securely attached to the shoes to prevent ankle sprains.

Ballroom dancing is a partner dance, which means that you are going to dance with one or more partners. Practice good hygiene to keep everybody in the dance studio comfortable. Bring towels or extra shirts so you can change clothes when you sweat too much. Avoid spraying strong perfume or cologne, and keep your breath fresh.

If you are in doubt, ask questions. Knowing and following the dress code for important social gatherings and events is required. If it is a formal gathering, wear the appropriate ballroom dancing attire.

Conclusion

Ballroom dancing is a style of formal dancing with a partner. Although it is a kind of a social dance, it can also be considered as a dance sports. Getting into it has a lot of advantages, such as helping keep your body fit and making better social relationships.

As you journey to learn ballroom dancing, enjoy it. There may be times that you can’t follow the steps properly, but it is what makes this hobby challenging but fulfilling. Always remember to look good without compromising your comfort and performance.

The abovementioned list of what to wear to ballroom dance class will help you have fun while learning. Good luck!

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5 thoughts on “What to Wear to Ballroom Dance Class: Beginner’s Guide”

  1. My wife and I learned ballroom dancing before we got married so we could show off on the dance floor during our wedding reception.  We had lots of fun learning how to dance; we did a waltz dance to the Tennessee Waltz during our reception.  It was really a lot of fun learning how to do ballroom dancing.  That is not something most boys learn in gym class – or girls either for that matter.

    I must confess that I could not dance at all – never mind ballroom dancing.  That’s what made it even more fun to learn!

    Anyway, I read with interest your suggestions concerning proper dress when learning ballroom dancing.  I enjoy your suggestions to wear loose clothing (but not too loose!), and shows that will be comfortable and not likely to stumble over or come off.

    Thanks again – anybody who is even thinking about learning ballroom dancing should go for it; it is a skill very few of their friends will have and is a whole lot of fun.

    Dave.

    • Hey Dave! That sounds awesome congrats… Waltz it’s one of the best dance for weddings… Hope you share the wedding dance video sometime… Take care!

      Thanks for sharing,

      Jonathan

  2. Hello Abraham,

    I love dancing, I have a lot of movement and explosion. 

    I would love my lady to learn to dance a certain style like “rock and roll”. 

    I had not thought about the dress but reading your article I will follow all your recommendations. 

    In every couple dance we must emit energy and be careful with our sweat. 

    I live in Argentina the Ballroom Dance is similar to Tango? 

    Thanks for sharing such an interesting article. 

    Greetings. Claudio

    • Hey Claudio!… Thanks for sharing your story… Tango is one of my favorites…

  3. Hi Abraham,

    This is a very interesting topic. My husband and I once took ballroom dancing classes, as total beginners. It sure would have been nice to have this information. We paid our money and showed up. While we had fun, I do remember times my husband would be sweating quite a bit – knowing to bring a second shirt and towel would have helped! I do remember seeing some women not appropriately attired. Too bad the instructors didn’t think to do up a list of do’s and don’ts.

    We are in Mexico for several months and contemplating taking Salsa lessons. 

    Thanks for sharing.

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