Moar questionable ballet trends

While we are talking about questionable trends in ballet class,
What do you think about socks?
I’ve been noticing this lately:
Socks, either dark colored and pulled up to the knee, or short and scrunched up under the arch leaving the heel free.
No slippers.
And this is not on the new people who haven’t bought real ballet slippers yet. This is on the best dancers in class. Sometimes even the teacher.
Men, women, whoever.
And it’s definitely not socks over top of pointes to warm the shoes up, either. This is just socks.
Kind of a you-can’t-define-me-with-your-rules/shoes look.
I accidentally went for this look this one time when I forgot my bag. I’ve only forgotten my dance bag once. Ever. Usually I hold onto that thing like it’s a security blanket. Luckily it was winter and I was fully dressed and layered, including socks, which I wore in the scrunched-down method because I was pretty sure I was going to slip and fall and die, but at least this time I’d have an excuse.
I didn’t fall.
But next class I made damned sure I had my bag with several choices of ballet slippers inside.
Also: the socks got really really dirty.
Anyway.
Gentle Reader? Are the edgy Best Girls in your classes wearing socks, or is this just a too-casual-for-school SoCal thing?

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About adultbeginner

Had my first ballet class Ever at the advanced age of thirty-two. Yikes.
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64 Responses to Moar questionable ballet trends

  1. Basia says:

    That trend doesn’t seem to have made it to Australia… (yet)

  2. lis says:

    i wear socks during barre a lot – i think the best woman in our class started it, and i caught on, and now probably 5 of the 7 of us amazing adult beginners wear socks during barre. i just wear them through ronde de jambes or frappes until my feet feel warm. our class is on saturday morning so sometimes keeping socks on is a must (i’m in MI and it’s COLD here). but i don’t do the bunchy thing – just normal warm socks over tights until I switch into my flats. our fashion is generally just a big mish-mash of workout+tights+yoga wear, with a skirt or leg warmer thrown in from time to time :)

    • The sock-wearers I’ve been observing stay in socks for the whole class: barre, center, jumps, errrthing. Untill I was forced to try it that one time I’d always been mystified at how they don’t slip. I’m still mostly mystified, I mean, even with heels out for traction I kept all my jumps and travels reeeeeeally low.

      • Lis says:

        Oh yeah, socks NEVER come center. That’s crazy town. Unless for some reason I feel like a major wipe out would really benefit my ballet practice that day. Which is never. Though it’s possible Ive done a Saturday morning or 2 a wee bit hungover, and those days socks stay on until the last possible minute. As does scarf and sweater and leggings and everything else I’ve worn to class that day over tights and Leo (this outfit is hangover cocoon of shame and would include sunglasses if that weren’t totally nuts).

  3. Melissa says:

    I wear socks sometimes for barre but have been digging on the ballet slippers of late. It’s very common at my studio but we are more focused on dance for exercise. One of my ballet teachers always wears socks. And definitely in contemporary it’s all socks. Not just a SoCal thing!

  4. Andre says:

    I’m a guy, but I’ve been wearing just white socks for the last few years. I can’t find a ballet shoe that fits well enough not to crunch my toes leading to some ankle problems. Anyway, all of the cool contemporary kids are doing it, so it must be OK, right? :)

    And there’s this too: http://www.4dancers.org/2015/01/dance-footwear-sockage-in-the-sock-age/ A whole article about the best socks for dance! I’m an AA guy, but I need to try the H&M socks.

  5. asher says:

    Professional Dance Guy the first sometimes wears just socks during barre, and I think I’ve seen it once or twice on other dancers in intermediate class. I always assumed that PDG had singe Inscrutable Pro Reason for it. Hmm. I’ll have to keep an eye on this…

  6. Sharon says:

    I occasionally wear (or wish I’d worn) socks when it’s humid and the floor gets sticky. Makes tendus easier. But just for barre, I like slippers for center. I do feel a little too cool for school when I wear them.

  7. Trippmadam says:

    Times seem to have changed. In my ballet days, long before I fell in love with flamenco, nobody wore tights over leotards or socks for barre. What does Mr Smirnoff say? Is he still around?

    • He is a big fan of the classic ballet class get-up. He would love it if we all wore leotard, tights (whatever color but under for sure) and a skirt. Oooh, the compliments and attention I have received when wearing skirts. And ballet slippers of course. Occasionally when new, slipper-less people join the class, he will asses whether they can handle themselves in socks and then there may or may not be a flurry of people offering to loan shoes and someone going to check the lost&found for available shoes.
      Which is very kind of my classmates. I am mean. I don’t want stranger-feet in my shoes so I don’t offer to loan.
      Smirnoff veers from the classic uniform in one awesome way though: he LOVES jewelry in class. Earrings, necklaces, sparkles it’s all welcome.

  8. ricob says:

    For this guy, it’s either bare feet or footed tights in slippers. I used to wear socks with footless leggings, but only with the teacher who had us do that slide-stretch on the barre. (Ankle sliding on wood is no good.)

    • Agreed re: ankle sliding. I have a pair of cut off tights that are great for pulling down over the heel for barre stretch, then folding up to Capri length for the rest of class. If I know the teacher is a barre-stretcher, those are the tights I go for.

  9. koolchicken says:

    My studio is pretty causal. You can wear whatever you want for the most part. There are the people in “uniform” (you know the one) and then there are the people in crazy getups like Romero Britto leggings and midriff baring tops. We even have a guy that likes to do class in a leotard, pink tights, long hair in a bun (his street clothes are conservative male clothes so it’s strictly for class). As a result there’s a lot of variation for footwear. We have people in everything from bare feet to pointe shoes in any given class. One of my instructors ONLY wears socks. I did see her wear black canvas shoes a couple of times, I actually wondered how they got so worn out looking, lol. My other instructors wear canvas shoes.

    I’m fussy, I like my Russian Pointe canvas shoes with tights on. Sometimes I’ll take my right foot out cause the nail gets ingrown, breaks, then ingrows again and tights hurt it. But I prefer both feet in!

  10. wedoballet says:

    Some people feel all “restricted” in slippers. Socks let your feet spread out naturally, articulate on the floor, bla bla bla.
    When I’m taking my technique class en pointe, I might do the first couple of exercises barefoot to get them all woken up before I put the shiny shoes on… but generally, it’s like “come on folks, most of us are in the hall like 30 minutes before class, do some tendus and put your shoes on”… whateves.
    I wear SoDanca stretch canvas slippers… they feel like socks anyway. :)

    • Actually, all this talk about feet being free and stuff is making me realize I should just pull the in-soles out of that one pair of slippers already. All they ever do is come loose and get themselves all folded up under my toes and make me feel unsteady.
      I’m gonna do it. If they fall apart I’ll go looking for some SoDanca.

  11. Falbi says:

    Yes…our studio is pretty casual, too (in Germany) .Best girl in class sometimes wears socks (and our teacher, too). She told me, it’s more demanding for the foot and you can see better if the posture of the foot ain’t right and that stuff. I also tried it, when I forgot my bag one day…and I think it’s true. And for “barre a terre” nobody wears slippers here ;-)

  12. Old Faun says:

    In one studio I am strictly canvas slippers – in the others, a very warm one with a slippery wooden floor, I take slippers for barre and socks for the center.
    It’s a question of stability – on slippers I can slide there about 1 meter and more if I want. Not good when training jumps and my special piruettes (they are called “falling tree”).

    Contemporary is another thing – socks most times, but for jumps bare foot is the best – but not for turns. It depends again on the studio.

    But I use black socks – I don’t to imagine what is there on the floor dyeing the white ones black.

  13. Rebecca says:

    Only not-bought-shoes-yet newbies wear socks here, and one streetdancer who has colossal feet.
    I too wear stretch canvas split-soles (Capezio Sculpture?), and they were a revelation of comfort and floorfeeling after crunchy leather full-soles – I can see that socks’d be better than those.

  14. Kaija says:

    I’ve noticed a sock trend as well, mostly thick white socks with grey toe/heel or grey bottom and often a small darker stripe somewhere above the ankle. I assume it’s the latest passing trend but didn’t realise the extent to which it has spread, at least through North America :)

    • I wonder if it’s something people are picking up from tv? Its been several seasons since I watched So You Think You Can Dance, but I wonder if they are propagating the sock trend.

  15. Jess says:

    Once I moved into more serious contemporary dance I got so used to socks or bare feet I haven’t been able to go back. It feels so good to be in contact with the floor that much. I struggle to even put a pair of jazz shoes on, now. Socks are nice for turning on some floors but even without them my feet are tough enough to not rip the soles off.

  16. Nellie says:

    I quite often wear socks for barre if I’m having a particularly bad relationship with the floor or hating on shoes or my little toe is dislocating too often for my liking. Usually my hand knit socks cos I don’t mind them getting filthy. Ballet shoes always in centre though, except for the very rare occasions when All My Shoes Are Wrong and they get thrown off in disgust… Anyway, in usually the only person in my class in socks; they tend to be the preserve of no-shoes-yet-newbies…

    I’ve always thought of folded up under the arch socks as a more contemporary thing… I tried it once when I forgot my shoes and it felt SO ODD so I haven’t done it again.

    • Definitely feels odd. But less slippy than fully covered foot.
      You don’t mind getting your hand-knit socks filthy? Whahhhh?

      • Nellie says:

        I know, it’s weird but they’re mostly colourful enough that the dirt doesn’t show up too bad (and our studio floors aren’t that grim anyway), plus I rarely wear them outside of class cos they’re a bit too chunky-toasty for everyday so I like to think they’re getting use…

  17. MilkyTea says:

    I only tend to see socks worn here if it’s someone who hasn’t decided if they want to buy ballet shoes yet. (And I have not seen “scrunched up to the arch not covering the heel” on anyone.) A few people wear socks over their ballet shoes until they’ve warmed up, but not many.

    • It’s funny that this is a look that could mean Completely Uneducated And Undecided, or it could mean Pro.
      Trying to think of any other fashion things that can say that.
      Maybe short haircuts on lady dancers? Could mean you’re just taking ballet to enrich your other, full life outside the studio, or it could mean you’re a high-level professional dancer who doesn’t have to follow the rules anymore, while everyone in the middle -—all the aspiring ballet students— must keep their hair a bun-able length.
      But then of course there are a lot of people who just take ballet to enrich their lives but also happen to look great with long hair. So I guess that example kind of falls apart.

      • Ricob says:

        I felt more invested in class after switching to a fitted t-shirt and tucking it in my tights (gasp!). It might not sound like much, but it signaled to the teacher that I was dialed in and ready to accept more corrections in class. Mentally, it helped me cross that “ok, I’m doing this” bridge — guys don’t have the luxury of skirt and booty short camouflage. ; )

        • Paul says:

          With you all the way Ricob. I soon set aside the shorts and baggy t-shirt once I knew I was hooked on ballet. Wearing the right kit just puts me in the right frame of mind and I’m over what others might think. I do have a (men’s) leo that I am breaking in but the thong takes some getting used to especially over the one on the dance belt – double whammy! They do make them with a full seat but I’m not sure about the VPL or having the appearance of one cheek instead of two – it’s all about the aesthetics you know ;) Wear Moi make one with a built in dance belt that I might try when I win the lottery or they go on sale!

          Back on topic. I sometimes wear those short ankle socks that cyclist wear with my leggings and slippers if it’s cold. I once tried socks only because my slippers seemed to be sticking on a newly laid dance floor but they didn’t make much difference. Never gone barefoot. The ladies in my classes that wear socks instead of slippers are a rarity but one of the tutors counts among them occasionally. One of the most experienced dancers wears what are best described as football (soccer on your side of the pond) socks with the toes and heels cut out and the remaining stirrup(?) is bunched up under her arch. She wears them over her slippers and they look a bit like legwarmers.

          • Its really interesting to me how, really, when it comes down to it, the traditional ballet class outfit is equally difficult for grown men and grown women. Neither side really has it any easier. Go us!

        • True, Rico, no booty shorts, but dudes can wear those long loose satiny basketball shorts over tights. Although I think the ladies are starting to co-opt that look. And it’s less Dialed In and more I’m Just Here To Work On My Lay-Up Shot.

  18. kit says:

    I’ve seen plenty of brand-new people do the socks thing (not scrunched, just worn normal) and the one time I forgot my shoes I did barre in socks. Socks for center is like asking to slip and fall on your derriere, if you ask me…

  19. WestFourteen says:

    I have just written a review of Swan Lake at the ROH as performed by the Royal Ballet as part of my degree, i would be grateful for any feedback anyone has time to give.

    https://westfourteen.wordpress.com

    Thank you in advance

  20. FogFog says:

    In my class I believe everyone wears socks, the teacher wears those signature knee high big socks and we’re all impressionable adult beginners so we’re following along with a variety of regular socks throughout class.

    By the way I found a nice article about adult beginner that might interest you :
    http://jezebel.com/misadventures-at-adult-beginner-drop-in-ballet-1689617582

    • I’d like to know more about that one thing she mentions in passing about the CIA searching out America’s Next Top Ballerina as a sort of Cold War one-upsmanship. Know more such as is that true, and if so why isnt more of a fuss made about it because that is super interesting.

  21. Evie says:

    as someone who lives in Scotland, socks have become my favourite for barre in the freezing winter. I wear thermal socks to warm up my feet (and it definitely makes you work harder!) then change to regular slippers/pointe shoes for centre depending on the class

  22. daktulos says:

    Huh. That’s a trend I haven’t seen at the place I dance. Lots of people wearing socks over to warm up, mostly if they are wearing pointe shoes but not usually over the whole foot. Our floor is wood and tends to get slippery so maybe that’s a factor. Or maybe we are just unstylish. ;)
    I am usually boring and classic in my ballet attire. I like my footed, convertible pink tights in my shoes and under my leotard most of the time. Maybe a skirt of which I have only one. Or short shorts.
    My classmate was doing a poll to find out whether she should wear the black skirt of the floral with her pink with white piping leo. She went with black and looked adorable. Maybe I need to step up my hame. :P

  23. Casey says:

    Ok, I tried it this weekend. I wore socks for barre. I don’t know if it was any better than my slippers, but I felt like a total badass. I might try it again. I totally wore my slippers for center, because even with our sticky floors I think there is a good chance I would fall flat on my face.

    • You tried it! Haha I love it. Glad you switched to slippers for center though. Seems wise. Gotta take care of that face and not fall on it.

    • Old Faun says:

      In our slippery study socks is less slippery than slippers – at least after the barre(iiiks). At least with my feet. Bare feet is a no go for ballet, since I can’t turn than, but it’s great for jumps and modern. So it’s a constant changing there (not only my, but “best girl” too).
      The more advanced courses say turning on this floor in slippers is lipe turning on pointes in other studies – if you can handle the balance you can do great double and triple pirouettes (I can’t).

  24. Anonymous Dancer says:

    I wear socks for barre sometimes, mostly when it’s cold and snowy. I was that awkward person who started this (and the questionable trend of wearing trash bag shorts) in my ballet class, and now a couple other people do it sometimes. I don’t wear them scrunched up under the arch though, just normally. It’s partly because they are smartwool and make my feet warm, but mostly just because my feet look better in them, tehe. Easier to articulate and such…

  25. Caitlyn says:

    Somehow I came thisclose to falling on my face in slippers yesterday, which has never happened to me before. Definitely not trying socks for center/across the floor, ha.

  26. FogFog says:

    Stumbled upon some Bloch Soleil Foot Glove on the internetz and bought a pair. I’m in love ! Coming from Thai Boxing I was looking for a way to wrap my toes in the same way we do for the hands and it’s spot on :)

  27. GrownupFairy says:

    I had a foot issue, and my physiotherapist suggested that I do the first few barre exercises in socks, in order to be able to feel the floor and activate the foot muscles more fully. The socks-and-pink tights-look was awful but I do kind of get the idea of carefully warming up the foot as the class goes along. And the physio definitely did not suggest that I do the entire class in socks.

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