Nearly every little girl dreams of one day becoming a beauty queen. And the Miss America pageant, which began as a beauty contest in 1921 but has since become a scholarship-giving body, is the foremost annual national competition in the country that brings together young women from all 50 states as well as from the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands to vie for the title as well as to win a scholarship grant to their chosen educational institutions. The recent Miss America 2012 pageant featured not just beauty and brains, but a wealth of talents, with nearly half of the contestants opting to showcase their dancing prowess in the preliminary talent competition and during pageant night. And for little girls who want to one day compete in and become Miss America, it is important to start honing dancing skills early on. This includes taking dance classes and wearing appropriate dancing attire and dance accessories.
Though the young woman who eventually won the crown – 23 year-old Miss Wisconsin Laura Kaeppeler – sang the operatic vocal piece “Il Bacio” by Luigi Arditi, the coronation night saw five of the Top Ten finalists performing dances. First Runner-up Miss Oklahoma Betty Thompson did an Irish step dance of “Warriors” by Ronan Hardiman. Third runner-up, twenty year-old Miss Arizona Jennifer Sedler, performed a jazz dance of “It’s About That Walk” by Prince. Miss California Noelle Freeman who ended up 4th Runner-up performed a ballet en pointe of Black Swan from Swan Lake. Others in the Top Ten who performed dances were Miss Illinois Hannah Smith who showed her dance skills with a ballet en pointe of “Palladio”, and Miss Louisiana Hope Anderson who did a contemporary dance en pointe to “Sway”. The last time a contestant who performed a dance number won the title was in 2006, when Jennifer Berry of Oklahoma performed a ballet en pointe.
As a popular form of performing arts, dancing requires discipline, and this is shown in the routines of the contestants. As a visual feast, along with the music, another vital component of any dance number is the costume. Wearing attire appropriate for the genre of the dance will not only help the dancer move freely and more comfortably, it also helps establish the mood of the presentation and impress the audience. The fit, design, and cut do not only have to match the dance, they also have to match the dancer as well. And the tights, ballet shoes and lyrical shoes, and dance accessories worn by the Miss America contestants enabled them to move with grace and poise and deliver powerful performances.
Appropriate dance attire and accessories are therefore important, not just for Miss America contestants but for everyone – from professional ballerinas and tap dancers to little Miss Americas-in training. Alyce Dancewear is the leading online source of dance shoes, tops, bottoms, leotards, bags, and accessories carrying leading dancewear brands Capezio, Little Stars and Funky Diva for ballet, hiphop, jazz, lyrical and tap dance. Email [email protected] today to find the best dancewear and dance accessories for you.
The extreme weather changes and the number of natural catastrophes that have hit the country the past few years have resulted in more manufacturing industries opting to go green. One of the first when it comes to promoting the use of eco-friendly materials is the industry of dancing wear. Environment-friendly dance wear are those made with organic materials and/or other 100% recycled material like the eco-friendly Repreve fabric.
The excellent thing is that these eco-friendly materials effectively support all the competitions in many dancing schools like technique competition, costume competition and flexibility competition. As a matter of fact, the dance schools have become a venue to showcase the best quality clothes and promote the use of environment-friendly clothing materials. Thus, it is essential that you carefully choose your dance performance wear, leotards, shorts and dance shoes to emphasize your body movements and capture the attention of the audience.
So now that you understand how important dancing clothes are to your career as a dancer, you must also understand how they affect your skin and the environment. Studies show that the use of eco-friendly dancing clothes has dramatically increased over the years. And this is supported by the fact that the production of organic cotton has increased too. Organic cotton is cotton harvested from plants that did not undergo genetic modification of any kind. You will know if the cotton used to create your dancing wear is organic if you see it certified by the National Organic Program of the US Department of Agriculture.
What are the benefits of dance performance wear made of cotton?
At first glance, you will not notice any difference from the usual satin accessories that you use when dancing. But if you actually wear cotton dancing clothes, you will notice that you sweat less and they feel softer against your skin. These are two factors that make comfortable dancing a possibility. But the use of cotton dancing wear is not only a growing trend among adult dancers; it is also getting popular among kids. Organic dance wear for kids are usually made from 92% organic cotton material and the remaining 8% is usually made of spandex.
However, the rise of cotton dancing wear will not mean the end of the shiny leotards and dance shorts. Rather, they will co-exist to make dancing a more pleasurable experience. Shiny leotards are perfect for some forms of dance like belly dancing and ballroom. On the other hand, cotton dance performance wear is perfect for jazz and hiphop music.
Since you are already starting to rev up your dance supplies by going organic, it is just right to match them with eco-friendly dance costume accessories too. There are basic cotton legwarmers to protect your legs from the cold as well as break your fall when you’re practicing very hard for an upcoming performance. And of course, to keep everything in one place, store all your dance supplies in ready-to-go dance bags that come in different styles and colors to suit your preference and personality.
Imagine this scenario: your little one just started dance class for the very first time. You purchased the cutest leotard, the dance bag that speaks to her personality, and the tiniest little tap and ballet shoes. She’s ready for class! Flash forward two months later. Your little one is complaining that her shoes are too tight, and you don’t understand the problem – did her feet really grow that much in such a short time?
There are a number of factors that could decrease the life of your little one’s dance shoes. We have identified the most commonly reported reasons and some solutions that could help you stretch the life of the shoes (and your wallet).
Shoes are tight on my beginner dance student after just a few months of class.
Let’s face it – children’s feet grow pretty quickly. But if you haven’t noticed much growth in their everyday shoes and the dance shoes are tight, chances are the shoes were too small at the time of purchase. When fitting dance shoes for your dancer, make sure the sizing is at least one half size larger than their regular shoe size. The best rule of thumb is to ensure you can pinch the front of the shoe with your index and middle fingers on top. Ballet shoes can fit tighter by pulling the front elastic, and tap shoes can be outfitted with a heel grip, available at any local drug store.
My pre-teen and teenage dancer is complaining of tight shoes.
Shoes are sized larger on small dancers because their feet will grow throughout the year; however, teenagers have probably grown into their permanent shoe size, which changes the sizing process. Jazz and ballet shoes should fit snug around the entire foot with one finger of pinch room at the front of the shoe. These shoes stretch slightly, molding to the shape and size of their feet, so it is important not to have too much additional room in the shoe. This will hinder their progression and make the line of their leg from hip to toe appear shorter.
I just bought these shoes and they are falling apart! Did we purchase bad shoes?
There are many different brands of dance shoes, and not all are made the same. Price sometimes plays a part in the quality of the shoes, but more often than not, it is how the shoes are cared for by the dancer that preserves their appearance. First, dance shoes should not be worn outside. Walking on concrete, grass, and the general moisture of the outdoors will change the shape and fit of the shoe. When worn in class after walking outside, they will wear down much faster than shoes only worn in the classroom. Make sure your dancer has a pair of shoes to change into when leaving class. Also, make sure your dancer has a dance bag to store her shoes. A dryer sheet placed inside the dance bag can eliminate odors and moisture when the shoes are not in use. Keeping the shoes away from any external elements will ensure they last as long as possible.
My dancer wants to wear her shoes at home to practice.
It is great for any teacher to hear that a student is practicing at home, but the more often the shoes are worn directly corresponds to how often you will need to purchase new ones. There are a number of different exercises that will help your dancer improve their technique without needing to wear dance shoes at home. Also, the safety of your child is in question when they are practicing skills at home, outside of an environment made for dancing and while under the supervision of their instructor. Ask your child’s instructor what can be done at home to improve the skills your dancer wants to master. For example, pirouettes require balance, core control, and alignment. These can all be practiced without actually turning and without the use of shoes. If your little one loves tap and wants to wear her shoes because she likes the way they sound, purchase an inexpensive or used pair for her to wear at home. Explain that the shoes required for class can only be used at the dance studio, but she is allowed to use this pair you have purchased for her use at home.
It is important for your dancer to know that dance shoes are an important tool for any dancer and should be treated well. As they grow up and begin to take more classes, they will begin to treat the shoes with respect and you will be purchasing fewer pairs throughout the dance year.