Why do dancers use legwear?
There are a number of reasons why dancers wear stockings/legwear while they are training or performing, stockings provide support and comfort for a dancer allowing them to move freely.
Stockings help to intensify the muscles in a dancers leg and show an uninterupted line from a dancers leg to their shoes, enhancing their performace both on and off the stage.
During dance classes it is important for a teacher to be able to see how a dancers muscles are working to ensure the correct technique is being used and the dancer is performing the movements safely. By wearing stockings your teachers are easily able to see how your muscles are working and correct your movements.
Stockings/legwear also offer dancers light compression which helps to improve circulation to the feet and legs. As dancers are putting consistant pressure on the feet and legs we need all the support we can get.
Stockings vs Bare Legs
The Dancer wearing stockings shows a very clean line from the hips to her shoes where the dancers with bare legs has an interupted line from the hips to her shoes giving the illusion that her legs are shorter
Types of Stockings
Convertible stockings are the most versitile stockings, they feature a hole on the sole of your foot. This allows the dancer to roll their tights up for other styles of dancing. They are also great tights for walking to and from the studio.
Footless stockings are often used for performances or contemporary classes. Some ballerinas also like to wear footless tights with their pointe shoes to aid in keeping the heel of the shoe on. These stockings are also available in capri length which ends mid calf.
Footed stockings are perfect for young dancers who do not enjoy the feeling of convertible tights under the soles of their feet. Footed stockings can also be preferred by dancers for performances.
Stirrup tights are mainly used for performances, you may use stirrup tights during lyrical or contemporary dances as you are able to wear stirrup stockings with bare feet or contemporary shoes.
Fishnets stockings generally only used during performances, dancers may wear these for jazz or cabaret dances. Fishnet stockings help to accentuate the muscles in the leg whilst on stage.