I often get this question, mostly from new students, and it’s what do I wear to a belly dancing class. The first thing that comes to mind for me is to wear something you are comfortable in. Your clothing shouldn’t be constraining. It shouldn’t hinder your movement or fight your body. You don’t want to be fidgety and having to pull at it when you are trying to dance. So just make sure it’s comfortable for you.
I typically say that if you have yoga pants that will work. Make sure you wear a sports bra just in case the class is more cardiovascular. You just want to be secure and comfortable in what you wear.
Don’t Choose Super Baggy Clothes
You will not want to pick something that is super baggy. Why? Super baggy clothes won’t allow the instructor to see the way you’re moving your body and give you accurate feedback. You’ll also want to see the movement on your body while you dance. If you wear something super baggy and are swimming in your clothes, your clothes will be shadowing your moves and it will be hard to get the most value out of your class.
You don’t have to wear anything skin-tight but you want to wear something form-fitting enough to let the instructor see how you’re moving.
If you were wearing a very loose clothing shirt and trying to refine very tiny movements, they would be lost underneath it all. Wearing something that highlights your movements will allow the instructor to see your muscles work and to see if you’re doing the correct motion.
Wear Something Around Your Hip
Something else to consider when taking an oriental dance class is wearing something around your hip. Does it have to be an actual hip scarf? No, it does not. You could take a scarf that you typically wear about your neck and tie it around your waist.
The point of wrapping something around your hips is to create something fitting to sit around that part of your body so you and your teacher can see the movement clearly when you’re dancing. Often times these scarves have fringe, pallets, or coins and it helps echo your movement when you dance.
If you twist, then you’ll be able to see the twisting pattern in the tassels of the scarf. If you were practicing a move and not doing it right, it could be apparent in the way the scarf was moving since it’s reflecting your movement. So you can use your clothing to see if you’re doing the technique correctly because it is transferring that energy from your hip through the body to your scarf.
To make it really easy to see, be sure to consider the color of your scarf compared to what you are wearing. If you’re wearing a black pair of pants and a black hip scarf, it will be hard to see the movement of the scarf. Contrasting colors to your outfit works well and even contrasting colors to your skin tone look really nice and then it won’t blend into your body. You’ll see a nice distinction between your hips and your abs.
Pants or No Pants…
Many people like to wear pants to their dance classes but you can wear other bottoms as well. Capris, dance shorts, a skirt or assymetric shorts all work as long as your movement is not restricted and you can see the movement in your body.
The most important thing is wearing what makes you feel good. And that’s whether you’re working out from home, doing online classes or showing up to a dance class. If long pants don’t make you feel good, don’t wear long pants. As long as you’re covering the appropriate areas you should be fine.
Should I Wear Footwear to Class
The short answer to this is to do whatever you need to do to move appropriately across the floor. I love to dance barefoot, but I also have a lot of calluses I have built up over the years so dancing on the floor that way isn’t painful to me. I also have bunions so dancing directly on the floor, depending on the move can be painful. Certain moves have me dragging my bone across the floor but I have trained to work through the pain. I wouldn’t recommend it but you’ll train as you see fit and how you want to perform.
One type of shoe I wear is a full cover shoe. You can also use dance footies so when you turn it gives you less traction when you go across the floor. You can wear socks but I suggest only using the ones with stickies across the bottom. If you just wear regular socks you could go slipping across the floor if you are not aware of how to alter the force and momentum behind the movements.
Another great type of footwear to train in are ballroom shoes. A lot of people train in ballroom shoes, especially if you are an entertainer or regularly gig because that’s what they would wear in a performance. You can pick what makes you most comfortable for class. It could be barefoot, full coverage shoes, dance socks, or ballroom shoes. Jazz shoes are also an option.
Do You Have to Wear Your Hair Up?
Sometimes I wear my hair up for class. If a class is going to be cardiovascular, whether I’m a teacher or a student, I will wear my hair up. I’ll also throw on a headband that catches my sweat.
If you want to wear your hair down you can just bring a hair tie so you have the option to put your hair up later if you want. I would also have a headband if you sweat a lot so that it can keep it from dripping onto your face. Just being prepared helps if you have a really sweaty class!
I hope these tips were helpful for you and allow you to be confident in wearing something that works for you to class! Let me know if you have any additional suggestions in the comments. I love to hear from you guys.