What do toddlers wear to a dance or ballet class?

Your about to take your toddler to their first dance, movement or ballet class and all the photos you have seen have little girls in tutus and little boys in white t-shirts and tights, so did you miss something? You’re sure the teacher said wear anything that is easy to move in, but what did they mean by that? Are you supposed to buy your child something special to wear?

What do toddlers wear to dance or ballet class?  For a first toddler dance lesson in any style, any clothing that does not; restrict their movement, cause them to trip or fall or makes them preoccupied and play with their clothing will be fine. Barefeet, socks or trainers are best for the feet.

Every dance style and class can be a little different so we have put together some ideas with photos and links to Amazon.com if you really feel you don’t have anything appropriate in your kids wardrobe. Click on any of the following dance classes to be taken straight to that dance style or scroll down and have a look at all of our tips.

FIRST TRIAL LESSON CLOTHING IDEAS FOR TODDLERS

Are you here because your dance school doesn’t actually have a uniform and you’re not sure what the best staples are for weeks of lessons? Don’t worry we have you covered as well!

TODDLER CLOTHING IDEAS FOR CLASSES AT A DANCE STUDIO WITH NO UNIFORM

What do toddlers wear to Creative Movement classes?

What are Creative Movement classes?: Creative Movement classes are a relaxed approach to introducing toddlers to the world of dance. Lessons focus on building a toddler’s motor and listening skills whilst also being child centric, meaning educators will scaffold and prepare the experience to meet a specific outcome, but the journey to that outcome is led by the children’s exploration of movement, creativity, and ideas. Creative movement lessons help children learn how they can express themselves purposefully through dance using a variety of movements, patterns, levels and props. Creative movement classes might also be called music and movement class.

The clothing required for toddler Creative Movement classes: is the least formal and less restrictive of all types of dance lessons. As long as the clothing isn’t restrictive and not something that will trip on or be distracted by you should be fine.

WHAT TO WEAR: A CLOTHING IDEA GUIDE FOR CREATIVE DANCE

The following are some simple ideas you could choose from your child’s closet for a creative dance class:

  • Clothing
    • Track pants
    • Zipper track top
    • Leggings
    • shorts
    • bike pants
    • T-shirt
    • Singlet
    • Long sleeved t-shirt
  • Shoes
    • Barefeet
    • Socks
    • Trainers, sneakers or runners
    • Any other soft soled shoe
  • Hair
    • Ponytail
    • piggy tails
    • Braid
    • Plait
    • pulled back

WHAT NOT TO WEAR TO A CREATIVE MOVEMENT DANCE CLASS

  • Costumes
    Dress ups and wearing costumes can be fun and do help your child pretend and develop their creativeness, but if they wear for example a superhero or princess costume to a Creative Movement Class it will actually restrict their creativeness. It makes it harder for them to explore the movements of for example a frog jumping from lily pad to lily pad or a snake slithering through the grass because the character they are dressed as wouldn’t do that.
  • Gumboots, Rubber Boots, Galoshes or Wellies
    These are great for jumping in muddy puddles, not so great for creative movement classes.
  • Jiffys
    These are those scrunched up slippers that are sold in many retail stores as shoes for dance. The soles of these shoes are extremely slippery and I have seen so many kids slip and fall while in them that I strongly advise against wearing them.

What do toddlers wear to a first Ballet Lesson?

What are Ballet Lessons?: Ballet is the most formal and disciplined style of dance. Most toddler ballet classes are based in creative movement but have structured exercises and movements as well as specific ballet terminology and technique taught by the teacher.

The clothing required for a toddlers first ballet lesson: should be nonrestrictive but snug fitting rather than lose. If you do own a leotard that is the best choice for girls, otherwise leggings and a tight-fitting top is fine. Shorts or leggings and a snug-fitting singlet or t-shirt is good for boys. Ballet slippers can be costly so if you aren’t sure if your child is going to like ballet lessons they can wear barefeet or socks. Your teacher will let you know which they prefer.

WHAT TO WEAR: A CLOTHING IDEA GUIDE FOR FIRST BALLET LESSONS

The following are some simple ideas you could choose from your child’s closet for a first ballet lesson:

GIRLS

  • Clothing
    • leotard
    • bathing suit
    • tights
    • Leggings
    • bike pants
    • T-shirt
    • Singlet
    • Long sleeved t-shirt
  • Shoes
    • Barefeet
    • socks/tights
    • soft-soled shoe
  • Hair
    • bun
    • Ponytail & plait

BOYS

  • Clothing
    • Shorts
    • Leggings
    • bike pants
    • T-shirt
    • Singlet
    • Long-sleeved t-shirt
  • Shoes
    • Barefeet
    • socks/tights
    • soft-soled shoe
  • Hair
    • off the face
    • if long pulled back into a ponytail

WHAT NOT TO WEAR TO A BALLET LESSON

  • A Tutu!
    Unless this is the uniform and all the other children are wearing them, I would advise you not to put your child in one, or at least one that cannot be taken off as a skirt. One reason being sometimes toddler ballet teachers actually hand out tutus and other costumes or props for the children to wear during the lesson so your child won’t get to participate fully in that. Also wearing a tutu can mean your child refuses to try and be a galloping horse or a twinkling star because they are dressed as a ballerina and ballerinas dance like, well ballerina’s and not horses or twinkling stars (trust me I have seen this happen!).

You don’t have to make an issue out of it. If your child wants to wear their Frozen leotard with the sewn on tutu, let them! Just bring a second option of clothing in their bag in case the teacher mentions it isn’t the best clothing choice or alternatively put the frozen tutu in their dance bag and change your child into it if all the other kids are wearing theirs when you get to the lesson.

What do toddlers wear to a first Jazz Lesson

What are Jazz Lessons?: Jazz is a modern version of ballet. It uses upbeat songs that help keep toddlers engaged in their dance class. In Jazz dance classes your children will learn to kick, to leap, shoulder roll, isolate and a whole lot more. It is a great way to channel the energy of both boys and girls. 

The clothing required for a toddlers first jazz lesson: Nonrestrictive but tight clothing is best for Jazz dance lessons. For both a girl or boy leggings with a snug fitting t-shirt or singlet would be a great option. Barefeet, socks or trainers would all be suitable, your teacher will let you know which they prefer but if you let your toddler wear their sneakers with socks to the class they will at least have the option to wear them or take them off!

WHAT TO WEAR: CLOTHING IDEA GUIDE FOR A FIRST JAZZ DANCE LESSON

The following are some simple ideas you could choose from your child’s closet for a first jazz lesson:

  • Clothing
    • Leggings
    • bike pants
    • T-shirt
    • Singlet
    • Long sleeved t-shirt
  • Shoes
    • Barefeet
    • socks
    • sneakers
  • Hair
    • Hair off the face and neck.
    • Ponytail

GIRLS

BOYS

WHAT NOT TO WEAR TO A JAZZ DANCE LESSON

Check out what we have written for all the other dance styles as it applies to jazz dance lessons as well!

What do toddlers wear to a first Tap Lesson

What are Tap Lessons?: Tap dance classes focus on teaching your child to make rhythmical sounds with their feet combined with movements. Many toddlers enjoy tap dance because it is fun to make a lot of noise. Some studios offer a combination of ballet and tap class, which allows a toddler to spend half of their dance session in tap class and the other half in ballet class. 

The clothing required for a toddlers first tap dance lesson: Nonrestrictive but tight clothing is best for Tap dance lessons, which is the same as a jazz lesson. For both a girl or boy leggings with a snug-fitting t-shirt or singlet would be a great option. Shoes with a hard sole and a small heel such as dress shoes or boots would be a great option for a first tap lesson as these will allow your child to make some noise with their feet without actually having to get them tap shoes before you know if they like tap dancing or not.

WHAT TO WEAR: A CLOTHING IDEA GUIDE FOR FIRST TAP DANCE LESSONS

The following are some simple ideas you could choose from your child’s closet for a first jazz lesson:

  • Clothing
    • Leggings
    • bike pants
    • shorts
    • T-shirt
    • Singlet
    • Long sleeved t-shirt
  • Shoes
    • Boots or hard-soled shoes to help make tapping sounds.
  • Hair
    • Hair off the face and neck.
    • Ponytail

WHAT NOT TO WEAR TO A TAP DANCE LESSON

  • LONG PANTS
    Pants that are too long make it hard for the teacher to see what your child’s feet are doing and can get in the way as they try to make tapping sounds with their fee.

What do toddlers wear to Hip-Hop Dance Lessons?

What are Hip Hop Dance Lessons?: Hip Hop dance lessons teach the latest moves and choreography from the latest and most popular hip hop music videos, but toned down to a G rating for toddler lessons of course.

The clothing required for a toddlers hip hop dance lessons: Some great options for a toddlers first hip hop dance lesson would be track pants with a t’shirt or zippered track jacket, or shorts and a t-shirt. Trainers or sneakers are all that are needed as shoes for a hip hop dance lesson.

WHAT TO WEAR: A CLOTHING IDEA GUIDE FOR HIP HOP DANCE LESSONS

The following are some simple ideas you could choose from your child’s closet for a first hip hop dance lesson:

  • Clothing
    • Track pants
    • Toddler harem pants
    • shorts
    • T-shirt
    • Singlet
    • Long sleeved t-shirt
  • Shoes
    • sneakers
  • Hair
    • Hair off the face and neck.
    • Ponytail

GIRLS

BOYS

WHAT NOT TO WEAR TO A HIP HOP DANCE LESSON

  • Extremely Loose Clothing
    Even though Hip Hop dance is performed to modern popular songs and the fashion might be to wear extremely baggy pants or tops, if your toddler’s clothing is too loose they will trip or get themselves caught in their clothes.
  • Cargo Pants or Shorts
    When my young kids have lots of pockets in their pants they usually fill them up with collections of objects – usually rocks and these spilling out in class or banging against their little legs while they jump probably isn’t the best idea. Secondly my kids when wearing something with a lot of pockets, especially for the first time, spend large amounts of time fascinated with putting their hands in and out of them which can distract them from their lesson. Just because you might see them worn in a music video and they look good, and they look cute and adorable on your kid doesn’t mean they are the best choice for a toddlers dance lesson.

Dance Attire for Toddlers Who Attend Dance Lessons without a set Uniform

Once you enrol at a dance school most studios will request your child wear specific clothing or a uniform, but you are possibly reading this because yours doesn’t and you need ideas for the long term not just for a first trial class. Don’t worry, we have you covered as well!

It is important to remember that not all dance studios have the same dance attire requirements. However, most of them are fairly similar so we have put together a few ideas for you to have a look at.

BALLET LESSON CLOTHING STAPLES FOR A TODDLER

GIRLS

  • Ballet pink tights
  • Solid color leotard
  • Pink ballet slippers
  • Long hair should be in a bun

BOYS

  • White t-shirt or singlet tucked into
  • Black leggings or tights
  • White socks
  • Black or white ballet slippers

JAZZ AND TAP LESSON CLOTHING STAPLES FOR A TODDLER

GIRLS

  • Either bare legs or tan color tights
  • White socks
  • Solid colored leotard with leggings/bike pants or
  • crop top and leggings/bike pants
  • Long hair should be in a pony tail
  • Black or Tan jazz shoes or tap shoes
    (jazz shoes can be worn with or without socks)

BOYS

  • T-shirt or tank top
  • Black leggings, bike pants or shorts
  • White or black socks
  • Black jazz shoes or tap shoes
    (jazz shoes can be worn with or without socks)

GOOD TO KNOW INFORMATION….

It is important to keep in mind that not all ballet and dance studios will have the exact same requirements for toddler dancing attire and that most dance studios today actually have a uniform. After a trial lesson if your child wishes to continue their lessons you will need to enroll into the school and will be asked to pay for a set amount of lessons in advance or commit to a payment plan. This is when you will also have to buy the appropriate clothing and footwear as required by that studio. So during that trial, it is a good idea to ask a member of the dance studio directly about expectations for dress, before you commit to paying for lessons.

So don’t worry too much especially for a first-class or even second in some cases about getting your child a leotard, ballet shoes or tap shoes or any specialty item just yet. Why?? Because these things can be expensive and you don’t want to be that parent pushing your crying three-year-old through the studio doorway because they don’t want to dance anymore but you just spent all this money on their dance gear and there is no way you are letting them quit because you know – this stuff was expensive!

If you have questions on what your child should wear to dance class, the best thing to do is contact your child’s dance studio to find out more about their dress code. Usually, any staff member of the dance studio will be able to give you the details.

About the Author

Samantha Bellerose

Samantha is a wife and mother of four kids aged 1-9. She danced and acted from the age of 5 and performed in film clips, on television, and in musical theatre professionally. She also taught dance, but after leaving the profession to backpack through Europe, Canada and the USA with her husband for three years, she then completed an Education Degree and taught within primary schools in Australia. Today she is a business owner with her husband and the creator and writer for Dance Parent 101 where she hopes her previous experience as a dancer, current experience as a dance parent and the research and writing skills she gained completing her education degree will help enlighten parents on their journey with their child through the world of dance.