"It's the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen." Tiny Pretty Things

The above-mentioned quote from the hit suspense dance show, Tiny Pretty Things, makes perfect sense. When it comes to dancing, all the little details count. Just as you need full focus and concentration to correctly perform every dance step, you also need to make sure that you have the correct equipment and clothes for your dance classes. You cannot attend ballet classes with high top sneakers that are particularly favourable for the hip hop dance style. The thought of doing a "Releve" or standing on your toes in sneakers is something to laugh about. In the same way, you wouldn't want to sway into your first dance class boasting incorrect dance equipment and showcasing inappropriate dancing clothes.

With more and more people becoming interested in taking dance classes and wishing to tap towards dancing success, other aspects of dance has attracted attention too. It's the little elements that you need to get perfected first in order to be able to dance well. You need to make sure that you get the right dancing equipment and check that you have the most important dancing equipment ready before you even attend your first class. You may be asking yourself now, "What dance equipment is actually needed for taking dance lessons?"

How can you find out what is required for your dance class before you start taking the class?

Read up on taking beginner dance lessons.

Researching the Right Dance Equipment for the Dance Type

Every single dance form is different from another. Even if you took classes in belly dancing and wish to pursue tap dancing, the equipment that you bought for belly dancing classes may differ considerably from the equipment needed for tap dancing. So you can never have all the necessary equipment desired by the teacher ready for the first day of your dance class. However, you can prepare yourself in advance by knowing what to expect from the dance class and what type of equipment is usually required for the specific dance form.

dancing equipment to bring to dance class
You need to think about what equipment you will need when signing up for dance class. Source: Unsplash

You may be the type of person who is motivated to join dance classes because you have watched step-by-step dance videos and that has motivated you to want to dance. Can you recall what dance equipment was used by the dancing instructor in those dance videos? If you do, good for you. You are already off to a good start.

We recommend that if you are book smart, you should invest in some books specifically about the type of dance that you are wanting to learn. Starting off your journey by reading the history of a specific dance form and all about how the dance gained its popularity is always an excellent start. While a book certainly can't tell you whether you are getting each dance step correct or not, you can learn a thing or two about the dance equipment used for a specific dance form from a book. Having some prior knowledge of the dance form before you take the dance class is always ideal. Having prior knowledge about a dance form gives you hints of what you can expect from the lessons.

The Ballet Book by Darcey Bussell and Dance Secrets Presents Salsa Bootcamp-Insider Secrets to Salsa Dance by David Salazar are excellent reads, to begin with, if you are interested in taking up either ballet or salsa dance.

A book on the dance type that you wish to learn will outline what the dance equipment is that is necessary for dancing the dance form but if you can't get your hands on a dance guide, there are other suggestions as well.

Advice on Dance Equipment

So while you may be keen on buying all the dance equipment before your first class, buy only what is necessary initially. Your dance instructor will guide you once you have started your first lesson and he or she will tell you if there is any other dancing equipment that he or she would recommend. If your dance instructor recommends that you need exercise-related equipment such as a dance mat, you can always get advice on the best types of exercise mat from store owners. A mat is needed specifically for floor workouts, so always try to buy the most comfortable dance mat option.

A comfortable dance mat
You may be asked to bring along a comfortable dance mat for floor exercises. Source: Unsplash

Some dance instructors recommend that you invest in a foot stretcher. If you are taking a more advanced dancing class where footwork is essential, chances are you will need the arch of your foot to stay as flexible as possible. It is recommended that as a dancer you have a foot stretcher that will strengthen the arches of your foot.

There is such interesting dance-related equipment that you can purchase to help increase your flexibility for when you are working out at home too. The Tigerband is one stretching product that was developed solely with the purpose of helping dancers and gymnasts with strengthening exercises and increases their flexibility in the long run.

For many dances its important that dancers feel the floor so they can ascertain if they are moving correctly. Gel toe pads are ideal for dancers of ballet as it allows you to move perfectly whilst still protecting your toes from sores and blisters.

If you are taking up ballet classes it is quite obvious that you will need to find the best fitting ballet shoe but did you know that you get specific shoes for jazz dancing and tap dancing too? Jazz shoes are known as split sole shoes and they are rather soft and flexible to enable the various movements performed in jazz class. Another fun shoe is the tap shoe used for tap dancing. The tap shoe mimics the standard jazz dance shoe in terms of how it is constructed but the tap shoe has a steadier sole and a thick heel to enable sound when one taps on the floor. You may even have to trade in your tap-dancing flat shoes for the ballroom shoe that has a tiny heel if you choose to attend ballroom dancing lessons.

In South Africa, you are bound to find many stores that sell dance equipment and we suggest that you visit these speciality shops so that you can get advice on what equipment is best suited to your dance form and which items are the best buy. The Dance Boutique is one store situated in Bedfordview that has been in existence since 1987 and continues to cater to peoples' dance-related needs. There are so many other stores that sell dancing equipment that you could visit to get free dancing advice on the best type of dancing equipment to buy as well.

What to Wear for Dance Class?

Dancing tights
Always opt for tights that are comfortable to wear and ones that will enable you to move flexibly. Source: Unsplash

So if you are stressing that dance classes will cost you more than you anticipated to pay, stop stressing immediately! Not all dance forms are a costly affair and besides, once you purchase a dance outfit it's yours to waltz around in forever. While what to wear is a personal preference, we can surely provide some guidance as to what to consider when buying your dancing clothes.

For many beginner dancers, dance instructors are rather lenient. They insist on comfort first because when you feel comfortable, you dance better. Initially, dance instructors will suggest that you can deviate from the common dance costume and wear clothes that you feel comfortable in like a  loosely fitted T-shirt or even a simple leotard. Remember dance is a sweaty exercise form so try to find clothes that fit nicely without clinging too tightly to your body.

From hot pants to jazz pants and bell bottom jazz pants, you need not worry about not being stylish for dance classes. Finding the right pair of pants is vital as your legs do the most movements in almost all dance forms. Again the type of dance form that you are pursuing will determine which type of pants will be the best type. We recommend tights with an elasticated waist and ones that are ankle length. Wearing tights to dance class does not restrict your dance movement in any way.

For ladies, you even get underwear specifically meant to be worn underneath your leotard and underwear made by Capezio whose range of ballet-inspired clothes made a huge statement on the runway in the 1920s and 1930s.

Lastly, your main investment should be in a pair of the right fitting shoes. Always ask for recommendations of the type of shoes and brands of shoes that are long-lasting and most comfortable. While some dance instructors and dance types do expect you to dance bare feet, certain dance forms pay specific attention to foot detail and the right shoes does allow you to better your footwork.

Dance bag holds dance equipment
Pack your dance bag and get ready to dance. Source: Unsplash| Erol Ahmed

What Do You Need for Dance Class?

Having read about the dancing equipment and clothes needed for dance class, do you feel ready to enter the dancing world?

If you are waiting to waltz onto the dancefloor, we suggest you have your dancing bag ready. It is necessary to have a dance bag to cart all your dance equipment to and from dance class. Your water bottle, a change of clothes, deodorant, hairbands, a towel, bandages and some flash tape are all essentials that you need to bring along to dance class.

Remember it's these little dance-related details that actually count.

Keep your chin up and your head held high. "Being on stage makes it worth it all." Tiny Pretty Things

Still reluctant to tap to beat, here's all about how to start taking dance lessons.

Need a Dance teacher?

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Laila is an enthusiastic English educator and a fun-filled freelance writer. She has accomplished her dream of getting her first book published and has managed to write over 1 000 000 words since beginning her freelance career. In her free time, she is a travel blogger who explores all South Africa has to offer.