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Proper Attire for Ballroom Dancing

Ballroom dancing is not only a great form of exercise but it is also a social nicety that is observed in many parts of the world. If you are not already aware of the fact, it is important to know there is a code of etiquette and conduct that should be observed during ballroom dancing. Making a wrong move on the dance floor can spell disaster. Take the time to learn the basics of ballroom dancing etiquette and avoid any possible embarrassment.

One of the biggest elements of confusion regarding ballroom dance etiquette involves the subject of what to wear. It is imperative that you learn what constitutes proper ballroom attire. This is important to not only meet proper protocol but also to ensure you can move easily on the dance floor.

First, always make sure you have the right footwear. This forms the correct foundation for ballroom dancing. Sneakers are absolutely forbidden on the dance floor and for very good reason; even if you are just taking a lesson. Ideally, you should wear shoes with a smooth sole. Shoes with smooth soles allow you to execute turns and spins properly with little friction. Sneakers create a great deal of friction and actually result in your foot sticking to the floor.

Comfortable clothing that does not restrict your movements should be selected for ballroom dancing. This means no tight pants or skirts. Of course, that doesn’t give you free reign to wear a pair of sweats but ideally, avoid wearing clothing that is tight or restrictive.

The general rule of thumb regarding formality is that the level of formality is tied to the formality of the event. At a minimum men should wear a coat and tie. If the event is more formal, the gentleman should wear black tie. This includes a tuxedo and may or may not include a tailcoat. If white tie is indicated, which is the most formal degree of attire, the gentleman should wear a tailcoat with pants and a winged collar shirt to match. If the event is black tie optional then the man may wear a suit with a nice bow tie or may opt to wear the more formal tuxedo. At a semi-formal event, men can get away with wearing a sport coat and slacks or perhaps even slacks and a button-up shirt with a tie.

Unfortunately for women while many other things have changed, most formal events still require a woman to wear a dress or blouse and skirt and that includes ballroom dancing. For proper ballroom attire the lady should insure her skirt comes to at least mid-calf. More formal events may require a longer skirt. There is one exception to this rule and this involves ballroom dancing with a Latin theme. In these instances the woman may choose a shorter skirt or even a skirt with a slit to allow for the complicated moves of this style of dancing.

For some ballroom dancing events the woman may need to select attire that is more closely associated with a ball-gown. This is an evening gown that features a long, full skirt. This type of dress would be appropriate for both black tie and white tie ballroom dancing events. In the event the ballroom dancing event is only semi-formal the lady may elect to wear either a full or long skirt.
Finally, it is important to keep hairstyles in mind. This is not only a matter of protocol but also a matter of practicality. Many of the turns required of ballroom dancing would be difficult with long hair worn loose and down. Most women find it much better to wear their hair off their neck, such as in a chignon. This allows you to move freely and easily.
 
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