Why Do Ballet Dancers Wear Dance Leotards?

Why Do Ballet Dancers Wear Dance Leotards?

Ballet is a well-renowned art form known for its poise and grace. With an exciting choice of clothing, ballet dancers have access to unique styles. Haven’t you often wondered what do ballerinas wear? Have you ever wondered what they are called?

You never really think about how important your leotard for dance is until you realise what a difference it makes when you stop wearing the correct uniform.

Every year, every show was another opportunity for another leotard, or five. Each routine came with its own outfit, its own leotard. If you are a serious dancer, you more than likely have an entire collection of leotards.

Bare legs in ballet were seen only in very young ballet girls before. And the most iconic photos of white leotards and short socks are from Russia. Today, bare legs are popular for classical dancers to rehearse and train with, and in more modern ballet choreographies the absence of tights is apparent. Sweaty shiny legs are not considered hampering the effect of the ballets to their audiences. In fact, may enhance the idea that ballet requires much effort to dance well. Gone are the days where modern female ballets dancers should looks like waifs who don’t sweat.

What is a ballet leotard?

A ballet leotard is a skin-tight fitting suit of knitted jersey that covers the body from shoulders to the crotch. There are short sleeves, sleeveless and long sleeves leotards. The unitard, which is a variation of the leotard, covers the legs.

Leotards were mainly used by circus and acrobatic artists and later adopted by professional dancers.

Why do ballet dancers wear dance leotards?


  • Freedom of movement:the most obvious reason is that dancers that are also considered athletes wear leotards during practice because it allows freedom of gesture and grants greater mobility.
  • Prevent injury:on the other hand, it helps teachers to see if the dancer has proper hip alignment and correct the posture when needed. If the bones are not aligned, the student might end up forcing the rotation and get injured.
  • Aesthetics:ballet is an art. While a tutu enhances the visual effect of the movements creating an impression of flight and lightness, wearing skin-tight apparel also reveals the beautiful lines of the human figure and the complexity of the techniques. In ancient Greece, Olympic athletes competed naked to display the beauty of the nude male Greek body.


Leotard styles

There are so many styles to choose from so it’s essential to find one that you feel comfortable in.

  • Halter Leotard:The halter leotard is easy to put on and flatters most body shapes and types. There are no straps to worry about and they show off the back and shoulders. The halter leotard is a very popular style.
  • Tank Leotard:The sleeveless tank leotard with the thick shoulder straps. They provide great coverage and more stability for bigger busted dancers.
  • Short Sleeved:Cap sleeves that look like a t-shirt, they are popular among the younger dancers. However, the sleeves can be annoying!
  • Long Sleeved:Perfect for the cold weather, but the sleeves can be bothersome. Long sleeved leotards give an impression of long, flowing arms. Perfect for showing off the arm positions.
  • One-Shoulder:Want to look unique? The one shoulder leotard has an artistic flare. They are popular among jazz, character, contemporary and ballroom dancers.
  • Mock-Neck: The mock neck, or turtle neck, is a tight fitting, high neckline. It gives the impression of a longer neckline. They can be a quick fix for a classy feel.
  • Zipper:A zipper leotard has a functioning zip, often near the neckline at the front or down the back. They can make for quick changing or add an interesting feature to the leotard.
  • Embellished:Born to stand out? If you’re wanting to make an impression for an audition then an embellished leotard is a popular choice. With decorative details or sparkly rhinestones, they’re sure to be a show-stopper.
  • Camisole:A very popular style, the camisole leotard has classic and sophisticated ‘spaghetti-straps’. They create a flattering and delicate look.

In winter, full sleeved leotards provide the much-desired warmth and coverage. During dance classes, some dancers wear shorts under their leotards as a reflection of their styles.

Men and boys usually wear plain white t-shirts, such as Hanes or Fruit of the Loom as these are suitable for dance classes. Getting a tighter fit than a looser one will ensure the movements are clearly defined. Tucking a shirt into the waistband of your dance belt will be easier with a fitted t-shirt.


Size Guide

XS 19"-21" 16"-18" 21"-23" 35"-38"
S 21"-23" 18"-20" 23"-25" 38"-41"
M 23"-25" 20"-22" 25"-27" 41"-44"
L 25"-27" 22"-24" 27"-29" 44"-47"
XL 27"-29" 24"-26" 29"-31" 47"-50"
2XL 29"-31" 26"-28" 31"-33" 50"-52"
3XL 31"-33" 28"-30" 33"-35" 52"-54"
XS 48-53CM 40.5-45.5CM 53-58.5CM 89-96.5CM
S 53-58.5CM 45.5-51CM 58.5-63.5CM 96.5-104CM
M 58.5-63.5CM 51-56CM 63.5-68.5CM 104-112CM
L 63.5-68.5CM 56-61CM 68.5-73.5CM 112-119.5CM
XL 68.5-73.5CM 61-66CM 73.5-78.5CM 119.5-127CM
2XL 73.5-78.5CM 66-71CM 78.5-84CM 127-132CM
3XL 78.5-84CM 71-76CM 84-89CM 132-137CM


1. Bust

Measure the fullest part of your bust ensuring your back is straight.

2. Waist

Measure around the narrowest part of your torso.

3. Hips

Measure around the fullest part of your hip ensuring the tape is straight.

4. Girth

Measured in a circle around the shoulder and crotch.

If you have any sizing questions or want customization, please CONTACT US.

Size Guide