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Dancewear

Elena Papanikolaou dancewearDancewear, as all things in the world, has evolved, developed and changed through the passage of time. The needs, fashion trends and general mentality of each epoch influenced the way in which dancers chose to dress when on and off the stage. Dancewear is a vital part of a dancer’s performance. Besides the dancer’s appearance on stage, he/she need to feel free in order to dance in grace. Thus, the use of fabric, the weight of the fabric, the style the costume is sewn and so many other factors contribute to the overall performance when under the spot light.

During the 19th century, generally dancewear was conformed and descent, as was the dress wears at the time. Throughout the 1800s dancers were seen wearing corseted outfits, with lengthy tutus and Pointe shoes. Their image on stage mirrored the fashion trends of the century, that of modesty and conformity. By the end of the 1800s Jules Leotard created the famed leotard, which revolutionised the dance industry at the time. Initially, the common leotards of today were in fact one-piece bodysuits made of knitted-wool. Ever since, leotards are considered as an essential dancewear piece to all dancers, no matter the form of dance.

In the beginning of the 20th century, Isadora Duncan, an American dancer somehow rebelled against the modest dance clothing of the time. She changed the whole notion of the dance industry when she refused to wear the common conformed dancewear. She started wearing Greek-like tunics and danced bare feet, explaining that she was able to move more freely. This innovative theory was highly opposed at the time, when modesty and conformity still dominated not only the dancewear industry but the entire clothing industry.

By the 1910s, the majority of professional dancers opted for lighter and more relaxed clothing, especially when rehearsing. This was about the time when the one-piece bathing suit emerged and gained popularity, especially amongst ballet dancers. Generally, ballet was becoming popular throughout the world, spreading from France, where the dance form was created, and Russia, which was the first country that perfected the style. The world in general was changing, which also reflected in dancewear worn since costumes became less conventional and more artistic.

A decade later, dance and culture seem to unite and fuse. Leotards were elaborately decorated with feathers and glitter reflecting the change of culture and society. People in general became more daring, experimental and adventurous.
In the 1930s new forms of dance begin to gain popularity, apart from ballet, and dance is introduced into movies. As the development of dance evolved, so did dancewear. Dancewear costumes for waltz, jazz and tap dancing are new form of dance clothing worn and seen in movies, theatres and performances. During the 1940s swing dancing conquers