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A Guide to Contemporary Dance Costumes


A Guide to Contemporary Dance Costumes

Rhinestones, glitter, sequins, and sparkles! You’ve probably seen these typical costume accents if you’ve attended a dance performance before. But why are dance costumes so important?

Dancers work very hard to bring the choreographer’s vision to life and costumes are a terrific method to finish the look of that artistic vision. Moreover, the purpose of costumes is to both improve each dancer’s performance as they travel across the stage and to help convey the dance’s overall concept.

What to Look for In a Dance Costume

girl poses with dance costume

For each dance performance, costumes capture a memory, a vision, and a sense of ecstasy. So, before you hit the brick-and-mortar stores or even better find contemporary dance costumes online and enjoy the wide selection of stunning designs and premium fabrics, there are some important considerations. Keep them in mind when purchasing the ideal one for your first modern dance class.

The Flow

Contemporary dance is full of flowing movement interspersed with sharp, acrobatic steps that, in the course of a single routine, may both gracefully pause and send the mind soaring. A contemporary dance costume should be synonymous with the choreography and the emotions being communicated to the audience because of the dance genre’s distinctive choreography and edge way of presenting stories to music. In the same way that a ballroom gown wouldn’t be acceptable for a tap dance performance, modern dance has its range of proper attire that can make you appear your best.


Accentuating this marriage of razor-sharp accuracy and fluid motions is the main goal of contemporary dance costumes. While final choices are frequently left up to the choreographer or studio owner’s discretion, there are some rules that many groups adhere to in the dance community.

Dress codes for contemporary dance rehearsals are up to the studio owner’s discretion. Students typically don a leotard, spandex shorts, and a tank top or t-shirt on top of the leotard. Most of the time, students dance barefoot, but if they’d rather, they can use jazz shoes, ballet shoes, or foot paws.


girl dance with high quality black dance costume

Although sustainable fashion fans would dislike this, the greatest dancing costume fabrics include spandex, regardless of the style you decide to go for. This means that the figure-hugging clothing will support your movements while dancing. The fabric you pick greatly relies on the concept of your costume— whether you want something edgy and futuristic or light and delicate. It also depends on how you want to present yourself.

Besides spandex, another equally good material option is the solid colour fabric called tricot. Although this fabric has a subtle shimmer, several hues are also available with a matte finish. Tricot is the most typical fabric used in dance costumes due to its extensive colour selection and outstanding stretch capabilities! Moreover, it’s the best long-term fabric since it has the best stretch and lacks specific treatments that tarnish over time.

On the other hand, if you want your costume to pop, sequin fabric offers the most amount of sparkle at a distance. However, when shopping for contemporary dance costumes online keep in mind that this sparkling attire comes with certain drawbacks like the fact that glitter is more expensive and doesn’t stretch as well as tricot. Because of this, your costumes can feel a little tighter, so consider this while choosing your size.

Types of Contemporary Dance Costumes

When it comes to modern dance there is an array of costume styles to choose from. No matter the style, finding the right one should provide you with maximum comfort and ease of movement leaving no signs of discomfort during your dance performance. Here are the most popular ones.

Baby Doll Dresses

young girl with red dance costume

For many performances and competitions, dance shorts and baby doll outfits are a common choice. These hemless, waistless gowns look stunning on many of the young ladies who perform modern dance, and they are frequently inexpensive enough to be bought for a complete team without putting an undue financial strain.

Baby doll dance dresses can also come in watercolour, a more creative and understated version of tie-dye, solid colours, or sheer materials that look great in more dramatic or festive pieces. Additionally, you can purchase them in virtually any print, and if you can’t find one that works for your schedule, you can make them by yourself rather easily.

Handkerchief Dresses

This is another popular choice for individuals seeking something a little more modest or conventional looking. These are frequently constructed from lycra or spandex and feature a top with spaghetti straps or no sleeves and a linked skirt that is just below the knee. The hemline is frequently uneven to give off a more fluid, “dancer” appearance.


girl poses with unitard dress

Unitards are occasionally used for a sleek, professional appearance, especially for large teams. These full-body leotards are form-fitting and come in two different styles: long-sleeved tops with full-legged bottoms, or tank tops that finish in shorts or Capris.

Some even have attached foot covers or hoods. Unitards are available in plain or patterned colours and may be customised by adding sequins, scarves, skirts, or other accessories to make your squad stand out from the competition. However, newbies should start with a simple unitard because it’s both affordable and useful, and you may have your seamstress add whatever you wish afterwards.

Shopping for Dance Costumes: Our Tips

Check the Clothing Requirements

There probably is a clothing code for new students if you’re enrolling in a dance academy for the first time. It may be as straightforward as donning a particular colour or covering a certain amount of flesh, or it might be as complex as ordering specially produced dancewear with the name and logo of the academy. You won’t find out unless you ask.

Convenience Is a Must

While the appearance of your practice leotard is not particularly significant, it’s crucial to consider convenience when purchasing dancewear that will be used as part of costumes or worn underneath costumes. Can it be laced and unlaced quickly? Will the zippers jam during a rapid change behind the scenes? Is it too warm and heavy to layer clothing?

Don’t Forget the Accessories

It’s simple to become preoccupied with your purchases of hoodies and leggings to the point where you overlook essentials like legwarmers. However, the way you feel when dancing can completely depend on your accessories. When choosing dancing attire, try to keep your full body in mind; this way, you won’t forget to get a warm beanie for a chilly dance class.

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