Why Do Dancers Wear Tights Over Leotards?

Whether dancers should wear tights over leotards or not has always been an interesting subject to discuss. Some like to look good whatever they do, some prefer more functionality. 

What better way for us to decide than to take a deeper look into the benefits and the disadvantages of each method?

Why Do Ballet Dancers Wear Tights Over Leotards?

Recently, more and more dancers have joined the bandwagon to wear tights over their leotards. It looked a tad strange at first, yet people eventually realized the reasons the dancers came up with this idea.

First of all, it gives off the impression that your legs are longer than their actual length, especially when you go for black outfits. They also add more width to the hips, thus seemingly reducing the size of your torso.

Secondly, putting your tights on top of the leotard is like giving that elastic fabric a layer of protection and extending its longevity. You wouldn’t want unpleasant holes to appear in your beloved leotard with nothing to cover them up.

Furthermore, leotards usually have a cotton layer inside, which will feel much more comfortable against your bare skin than the synthetic materials that are often seen in dance tights.

In more casual situations, tights over leotards allow us to change quickly for various looks and also have an easier time when the restroom calls!

Can I Wear Tights Under Leotards?

There are no strict rules or dress codes about how to wear leotards and tights for ballet or any dance practice. As long as the dancers feel comfortable and confident with their movements, formal occasions might be different.

At grand events or presentations, you are expected to wear a more elegant and proper look, which leads to tights under leotards.

Despite the trend mentioned above, tights are traditionally made to be worn under a leotard. It keeps the leotard in a smooth, uninterrupted line, and flatters your silhouette in general instead of emphasizing the legs only.

Also, tights apply gentle compression to your leg muscles and narrow your blood vessels, pushing the flow of blood to move faster and reducing fatigue. 

Therefore, they will do their job much better when they have direct access to your limbs without the hindrance of the leotards.

Check more: All About Ankle Weights for Dancers

Can I Wear Tights Without Leotards?

Before answering this question, take a look at the benefits of each item.

Benefits of tights

ballet tights

Tights are an essential part of a dancer’s outfit with the medical benefits they come with.

  • Free movements

High-quality tights will give you the comfort and freedom you only feel with nudity. They will provide full coverage for your comfort.

  • Enhance blood circulation

The compression from tights helps to pump blood to your muscles more effectively, so they will always receive oxygen and feel less exhausted. 

This feature works very well with leg warmers to keep you warm and less prone to injuries.

  • Flexibility

Difficult poses render your muscles in abnormal positions compared to the natural state, hence the risk of injuries never truly disappears no matter how flexible you are. 

But the outfit gives you support and lessens the force of tugging at the muscle fibers.

  • Reduce soreness

The oxygen provided to the muscles will prevent the excessive production of lactic acid, which is the scientific reason behind soreness.

  • Groin protection

It is very uncomfortable when the leotard slips up and down, rubbing against your groin and causing irritation. Fortunately, the tights are of use here.

Did you know: What Is A Male Ballerina Called?

Benefits of leotards

best leotard for ballet dancers

Although some manufacturers claim that their tights are made to be worn without leotards, don’t forget that tights are only a garment for your legs. 

Leotards still have indispensable benefits.

  • Coverage

The more acrobatic movements included in your routine, the more likely for exposure to happen. Leotards protect the dancers from unwanted incidents when they lift their arms or legs high, especially the females.

  • Less distraction

You might think wearing a loose shirt is comfortable, yet what if it gets stuck with other dancers or props? More than a distraction, it can be dangerous when the props have sharp edges.

  • Injury prevention

With a leotard on, your hip alignment and overall posture will be very visible to the teachers. If you have done something inaccurately, they will be able to spot it and help you fix it immediately, leaving no room for mistakes in the future.

Wearing leotards is recommended

Professional dancers and dance instructors will always advise their juniors and students to not abandon either tights or leotards if they want to make the most out of every practice! 

When combined, tights and leotards can protect you from bruises and scratches. If you need to land on the floor, their respective effects will be enhanced as well.

Final Words 

Leotards and tights are beneficial for dancers in various ways. 

Wearing tights over leotards or the other way around is up to your preference, though we highly recommend the former choice. 

It might not give you the most stylish look, but it ensures maximized efficiency in your practice and performance. When not being professional, it’s entirely acceptable to go for appearances instead!

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