June 23, 2013

A Paler Shade of Pink

Peachy or a paler shade of pink? Depends on the light and skin tone underneath. Both feet pictured are mine.

When it comes down to legwear for ballet class, I prefer black leggings over pink tights. Black feels more grown-up, post-grad, individual, even slightly rebellious. Although I never went to a ballet school that required pink tights, so I'm hardly expressing a new-found freedom. Mostly I prefer black because I feel less exposed, as opposed to the overexposure of pale pinkness. And it's no secret that black is slimming. You don't really see women wearing almost white opaque hosiery outside of ballet, do you?

Having said that, pink ballet tights are not without advantages. For one, you see more. Muscle tone becomes more visible, and it's easier to correct and maintain proper alignment. You become more aware of your placement. That is why I do wear pink from time to time. Usually, I add black long shorts and a longish black skirt on top. Like I said before, I don't like to look/feel too bare in class. But a couple of weeks ago, I took the plunge. For the duration of barre, I skipped the skirt and extra layers, wearing only my leo, short shorts and those pink tights. Guess what? It wasn't half as bad as I feared. Sure, at first I felt self-conscious. I wish my bottom half would have a more ballerina-esque look. But I worked the pink tights to my advantage. I pulled up, lengthened, stretched, pointed and presented my feet to their max. The unbroken line of ballet pink tights and shoes made my lines look longer. And pretty good, if I may say so.

Practicing my passé retirés (front to back) for the show.
Wearing Danskin tights.

The last time I had worn pink, was for our spring show. I had been gifted a pair of Danskin's "Style 32 Backseam Footed Tights," in a semi-opaque ballet pink. I was told that they look very flattering under stage lights. The weave is such that it lets more of your own skin tone through, and they did make my legs look nicely defined. The backseam was a bit tricky though, I had to make sure it was in a straight line. The waist goes up very high, right under my boobs, and the waistband felt a bit constricting. But it worked well under the thick fabric of my tutu's bodice. So, all in all, a good choice for the stage.

Fresh out of the package. The ribbons, by the way, are still waiting to be sewn. 

My current pair of tights is from Gaynor Minden. I was in fact contacted by one of GM's distributors in Europe, Dancemania, and asked if I would like to try and review some of their Gaynor Minden products. Would I ever! Trying out dance stuff has to be one of my favorite jobs! I made sure that they were looking for an honest review, and then chose some products for my first goody bag ever. So, the tights. They are called Adult Convertible, and are made up of 85% nylon (70 den microfiber) and 15% spandex. I checked the sizing from their chart, and size medium was a perfect fit for me. The waistband could be a bit wider and softer, but I suspect that ballet tights are not made with the average woman in mind. After the first wash, I stretched it out some, and now it fits more comfortably. I have worn and hand-washed the tights for about two weeks now (seven or eight classes), and so far, no snags or runs. The colour is as peachy pink as my Bloch pointe shoes, but pales when you put them on. They are quite opaque (70 den), but I like that they feel a bit more supportive than my usual leggings. The best feature is the convertible opening under the foot. Compared to my Bloch tights, the finish is done with much better attention to durability. At first, I thought the opening was too small and would snag when I rolled it up from under my toes, but it stretched well enough.

After two weeks of wash & wear, the color is a bit paler. But I've never met or seen a pair that doesn't turn from ballet pink to ballet grey, at some point(e). I know you're wondering about the pointe shoes with just the elastics on..
But more about that in a later post!

I have to admit that being asked to test-dance the GM tights gave me the push I needed to step out of my ubiquitous black leggings. I'm not going to ditch them forever (I always have a spare in my bag), but I am going to get more mileage out of my pink ballerina tights. I'm beginning to like how they look on my legs.

12 comments:

  1. I usually wear black to class as well, to try and camouflage my thunder thighs (lol) but occasionally break out the pink tights if I want to feel more "ballerina-esque" You're right about pink tights turning a grayish color towards the end of their lifespan- they do get rather gross looking!

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    1. I think it's best to wear whatever makes you feel comfortable and confident. Of course, form-fitting is most functional, and pink tights are traditional... But the "ballerina-esque" look comes from your hard work and good technique - and it will show even in grey gym shorts... ;) But the ballet grey of old tights? Not so pretty :)

      Thanks for commenting!

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  2. It´s funny, because when I started ballet 1 year ago, I was wearing long black leggings and a t-shirt. These later changed into black/green tights with shorts and t-shirt. Now I´m just wearing a black leotard and pink tights. I feel that also my dancing and my attitude towards ballet has changed with my clothing...

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    1. It's actually quite fascinating. I see it year after year, when new dancers progress from beginner to basic, to intermediate, to veteran... At some point the classical ballet student look becomes the style of choice. I suppose it's kind of an initiation. The (adult) dancer has become part of a larger commnunity of (adult)ballet dancers, the culture and tradition. Wearing classical ballet class outfits is one way of showing your "membership" and commitment.

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  3. I'm a footless, black tights girl but since starting pointe I'm rediscovering the pink tights! I do think it makes you work harder..

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    1. I really don't think it's the pink tights, but your attitude that counts. I work as hard in grey sweats as I do in black leggings or pink tights. Sure, pink tights show more skin & muscle, but if your black leggins are not too opaque, the same applies. Anyways, a good teacher will have no truuble seeing your alignment in black. Having said that, whatever works & helps! :)

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  4. As a ballet student, I've worn pink tights for my entire ballet experience. I'm not able to wear any other color tights and I'm rather appreciative of that fact. Here's why. A teacher of mine once told me (well the entire class) that when you're in ballet class you can't hide anything. What he meant was that when it's you and your leotard and tights what you see is what you get. I think that, aside from helping discover proper alignment, this helps dancers become aware and proud of their bodies. And ballet dancers should be proud of their bodies for they have toned them to do incredible things. So get out there and proudly flaunt your pink tights because you too have toned your body to perfection! Also, it would be great if you could do a post on your experience of being one of the Shades in La Bayadere as it is a role I'm fascinated with. I love your blog and your personal experience with ballet. Keep writing and dancing!!

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  5. I personally prefer white tights. My legs look better and slimmer with white ones. I also prefer to wear just leotard and tights, because when you have some skirt or something like that you are just shortening your legs. In my opinion, of course.
    Great blog, very inspiring! Keep dancing! :)

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    1. Interesting point of view. White is usuually not considered a slimming color on legs, but if you have nicely shaped legs they will still look nice in white.. ;) Also, a skirt is often part of a ballet uniform, especially in pre-professional ballet schools. It gives the dancer a bit of extra coverage, but also looks pretty and feminine. There are very short skirts available, which do not shorten the legs at all! You might be pleasantly surprised. But, as long as there's no school dress code, it's of course a matter of personal taste.

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  6. You pretty much described my attire and experience! In the summer, I gravitate toward the outfit you mentioned, the pink tights with the short shorts. And I do like the look it gives - it flatters the lines of my legs (a lot of hyper-extension). But in the other months, I sure do like that look of black leggings over pink tights and a little black chiffon skirt, or longer shorts. (Either way, it includes a black leotard.) That seems to make all of me seem slimmer. And some days, that all-black look just feels like what I want.

    I cracked up over your 'ballet grey' comment. Oh, that's it! I have a 15 year old pair of tights that I'll keep forever, and that is a perfect description of the color.

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  7. I love this post great job!

    Lena from http://lifeinthelenalane.blogspot.com/

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  8. Johanna, thanks for the thorough product testing. We always value honest feedback and if anyone else wants to give us their views on any Gaynor Minden product we would be delighted to hear from you at http://www.dancemania.biz/gaynor-minden/

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