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Wearing Bra Tops in Dance Classes and Conventions is Anything But a New Trend

Updated on December 31, 2012

In recent years, some parents, teachers, and others are scratching their heads on the question: what's up with all the bra tops in dance classes and conventions?

Some people like the idea of it. Well, isn't form-fitting dancewear practical for classes because the instructor must see dancers' own forms? Bra tops, as well as other crop tops, do just that. The midriff is exposed so that the instructor can see if the core muscles are placed correctly.

Well, some others think that the functionality of having teachers correct body alignment goes too far. They think that bra tops, like other midriff-baring attire, heavily promotes the oversexualization of children. That's the fear of many modesty advocates and some parents.

That leaves one question, is this trend of dancers dressing like fitness infomercial models to classes a recent one?

Will the Humble Leotard Be Dethroned to the Midriff?

Teachers swear by the basic ballet wardrobe: black leotards (or any non-disturbing color like dark blue or lavender) with very pale peach-colored tights (theatrical or European pink, as manufacturers call their colors). Besides the fact that they are modest, they help them to see if dancers' muscles are working properly.

Well, don't bra tops, paired with booty shorts, count too? Does that mean that they will soon become parts of the dance studio dress codes for genres, including ballet? Just because they are increasingly being welcomed into studios doesn't mean that the one-piece, bathing suit-like garments will go the way of the dinosaur.

Relax, Dance Instructors!

You can STILL  keep the black or solid-colored, ballet cut leotards over pink tights in ballet and welcome bra tops in most other types of dance in your studios.
You can STILL keep the black or solid-colored, ballet cut leotards over pink tights in ballet and welcome bra tops in most other types of dance in your studios. | Source

One dance studio keeps the classic and traditional black leotard over pink tights while allowing bra tops to be worn in most other classes. Another does the same, but restricts the ballet attire to any solid-colored leotard and pink tights. But let's not forget the other studios who don't allow any bra tops or bare midriffs peeking out at all. That includes Christian-oriented dance studios and teachers who'd like modesty, professionalism, or both.

Amid the popularity of them, some dance conventions too place the kibosh on them. One Christian convention states those rules, "Modest dress at all times is required. No high cut leotards, midriffs, or backless tops."

Some Teachers are Glad to see a Few Leotard-and-Pink-Tights-Clad Girls in this NYCDA Ballet Class...

Surprise - Bra Tops in Classes/Conventions Aren't New

Some people think that wearing bra tops to leaps and turns is a relatively new thing. Well, it isn't.

The whole idea of women wearing midriff-baring dancewear has been around for some decades. Just watch any scene of people in a jazz dance class or non-dress rehearsal from an 80's movie. The film version of A Chorus Line, Staying Alive, and Heavenly Bodies are really good examples of those movies. Well, besides the leotards and the spandex ankle tights that epitomize the dancewear of the decade, there's a lot more.

In that decade, before girls paired them with booty shorts, bra tops had an affinity with suspender-type leotards or dance trunks (panty-like bottoms that seemed to transition from something worn under skirts to outerwear) over spandex footless tights. They too, like leotards, went together with the ubiquitous legwarmers. They eventually found themselves at gyms to show off how much the bodies who sweat work out.

Even in 1985, Bra Tops were Becoming En Vogue in this Audition

The practice of wearing bra tops to dance classes pretty much enjoyed something of a revival in the mid 2000s. As dancewear manufacturers develop new ideas, they aim to keep the appeal of kids and teens. That probably was the time when kids as young as 5 started wearing bra tops. Dancewear makers felt that kids that age want to be like their older peers, so they would give in to that idea.

Despite the fact that modesty advocates cry foul out of fear of over-sexualizing them, they still wear them sometimes.

There's Pretty Much Only One Girl in Black Leotard only in this Dance Convention Ballet Class (and that's OK)...

Bra tops (as long as teachers restrict ballet attire to skirts, ballet-cut leotards, and pink tights) can be a welcoming addition to a dance studio clothing guidelines. It all depends on the instructors' and directors' tastes. But don't call wearing them something entirely new - it started even as early as when legwarmers paired with French-cut leotards.

The trend of bra tops being worn in your daughters' jazz dance classes or your niece's dance team rehearsal started a few decades ago.
The trend of bra tops being worn in your daughters' jazz dance classes or your niece's dance team rehearsal started a few decades ago.

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    • abrodech profile image

      Anya Brodech 3 years ago from 130 Linden St, Oakland, California, 94607

      I don't see a problem with wearing bra tops, short shorts or similar items of clothing for dance practice. However, my opinion only applies to adults. I don't think it's appropriate for children and young teens to wear such revealing items because it gives them the wrong idea of what's okay for children to wear, along with the fact that such type of clothing is unnecessary for them. Most children are not performing such intricate or advanced steps/patterns that their teachers need to see exactly what they are doing. I believe it's best for children to wear leotards with shorts, skirts and/or tights.

    • talfonso profile image
      Author

      talfonso 3 years ago from Tampa Bay, FL

      Thank you for sharing your opinions, abrodech. That's especially true with ballet in your opinion. Though kids still wear those garments, I believe that the not-necessarily-black leotards and pink tights are here to stay.

    • abrodech profile image

      Anya Brodech 3 years ago from 130 Linden St, Oakland, California, 94607

      Yeah definitely!

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