Man Up.

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.

About adultbeginner

Had my first ballet class Ever at the advanced age of thirty-two. Yikes.
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14 Responses to Man Up.

  1. Nadine says:

    Love the new header picture!

  2. robin says:

    You so totally crack me up 😊
    And for what it’s worth I like flesh colored ballet slippers on men. Well, actually I like white or black also so whatever .

  3. angie says:

    I love your blog !!! Depending on the studio’s rules about such things, I’d recommend socks instead of slippers for the first class. We have several men (one of whom is a young 20 something pro) and they all wear socks. Several of the women do as well. Its a studio in a laid back urban setting, so its possible that socks would not be appropriate elsewhere.

    • Dude, I totally wouldn’t want to wear socks in my studio! They would be So Dirty And Disgusting at the end of class! My studio is clearly not as well maintained as yours, lol, smhz.
      Philosophically, I think the shoe buying moment is a demonstration of intent, and that’s a good mind frame to start out with, which is why I recommend it. Plus socks are kinda slippery?
      You’re totally right though, it depends on the setting. I’ve been to classes where socks were fine, and on the other hand, there was that one class where a student was told to get her things and leave and not come back until she was properly shod. In the eyes of the teacher who was doing the kicking-out, it wasn’t just unsafe to take class with no shoes, it was also disrespectful.
      So yeah, check those studio rules, friends!

      • Tilmann says:

        I think the floor of your studio should be somewhat clean if they offer contemporary dance, too ;).
        I’m a beginner, and sometimes socks are better, sometimes slippers. In summer you can’t turn good on socks… at more than 30 degrees in the room. It’s because … stop here.

        Did I mention contemporary and the floor, at hot days… yuck. Anyway, dancing is a sticky business.

  4. rahyuhnjeymz says:

    I picked up some white ballet slippers online, guesstimated a size and got lucky. However, there is more this then just buying them… You also have to put them together, like sew them with your own hands put them together. I did not get the memo on this last bit and I am no seamstress (or seamster?) so YouTube came in pretty handy.

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