Got an email from a dude the other day,
A hardcore airborne soldier type dude.
A dude who has jumped out of more than one airplane, On Purpose, guns a-blazing, with a knife gripped in his teeth and a Don’t Even Test Me look in his eyes. Ok I made up the blazing and the knife and the eyes part. Although could be true?
Anyway, this dude was maybe just a little bit unsure about what he was supposed to be wearing to his very first ballet class ever, and maybe just a little bit apprehensive about the whole shopping moment in general, and was hoping for some advice from a fellow knife-gripping adult beginner. Except for the knife part.
So I advised some pretty simple advice, and then asked permission to share the advice here in case anyone else is in the same situation, and he said totes, so here it is:
For your first class, wear what you usually wear for workouts. Look up “plié” online, think about whether you can do one in the shorts/leggings/sweats/yoga pants you already own. Don’t worry about buying ballet tights until later, if ever. Some male ballet students wear ’em and love ’em, but they’re not necessary for the non-professional.
Actually, this advice holds for the ladies as well.
What is necessary for the mens: shoes and a dance belt.
Go to a dance store and try them on. Yes, that involves going to a dance store.
Some tips to make this less horrifying:
-call ahead and make sure they even carry ballet slippers that’ll fit your big man feet.
-go at a not very busy time of day. (Ask them what time this is)
-try not to be ridiculous like the Adult Beginner.
First time I went to buy ballet slippers, the salesclerk asked if I was shopping for my child. This was before I even had a child. My immediate, crazypants reaction was, “No! Why! What are you implying! I am too fat and old for ballet? Is that it?! Well?? Is it?!! IS IT?!!!!”
No, Gentle Reader, it is not. I’ll repeat, try not to be ridiculous like the Adult Beginner. They only ask that kind of question because 90% of the people coming through their doors actually are shopping for children, not because they’re passing some kind of judgement.
-get black slippers. Ok actually this is just what I like for the mens, you get whatever you like.
If there’s really nowhere nearby and you plain old Have To buy shoes online, check and double check the return policy before you order, or, honestly, buy an inexpensive pair and wear the hell out of them while gathering information on what improvements you want to see in your next pair.
When it comes to dance belts, you might just not even want to go there in a dance store, surrounded by pink fluffy things and moms. That’s cool. But you definitely need one, it’s a safety issue. Gotta keep your man parts safe because you might need them later, amiright?
Start here with Dr. Dancebelt. Lots of belty discussion and a list of online stores.
And that’s it! Easier than jumping out of a plane.
PS, for more advice to men beginning, see this post over here from Ballet To The People.