Nowadays, there is an overwhelming array of modern ballroom dresses and latin ballroom dancing dresses to choose from.They come in a multitude of styles, as varied and colorful as the ballroom dances themselves. Each has its own character and appeal.
So how do you go about finding the best one for you?
No matter what style you are looking for, the most important thing is your comfort and ease of movement. Ballroom dresses should complement both the dancer and the dance. Not only should dancing clothes look sensational, but they should make it easy for both you and your dancing partner to move unrestricted across the dance floor.
Beyond this, you should consider how often you plan to use your dress and upon what sort of occasion.
If you dance regularly (perhaps at a competitive level), then it’s certainly a great idea to consider top-of-the range investment pieces.These are made to last and hang and flow beautifully.This is particularly important for dancing competitions where presentation is so important and you really want to cut a dash and make a good impression.
These designer dancewear dresses can be bought ready-made or you can have one custom-designed and made for you.With these, you should be assured of high quality fabric and an excellent cut.
On the other hand, if you, like me when I was just starting out, are on a tight budget and are not yet sure how serious you are going to be about ballroom dancing, then don’t limit your search to ‘ballroom dresses’. You can come across some great finds if you look for ‘social dancewear’. I found some really great dancewear dresses which are very reasonably priced and are ideal for beginners and people dancing just for fun, or maybe only once in a while.
Another possibility is to look for a second hand dress, maybe looking at auction sites such as eBay as a source.
If you do need that extra special dress for a single occasion only, but don’t want to overstretch your budget, then an option is always to rent a ballroom dress.This can make that extra special gown affordable. Alternatively, you could sell your dress after the event.
Now if you are someone who just doesn’t like to be seen in the same dress twice, there are vendors who offer a trade-in against the purchase of your next dress – certainly worth considering.
Choose your ballroom dresses carefully and they will serve you well. Look for comfort and flexibility.
When you first start out ballroom dancing, it is understandably easy to get seduced into spending all your time looking at and choosing all those gorgeous ballroom dresses. Undeniably important, and yet they are certainly not the whole story when it comes to decking out your dancewear wardrobe. To complete your ensemble, of course you need a good pair or two of ballroom shoes.
Ballroom dance shoes must not only be pleasing to the eye, but equally, if not more importantly, they have to be functional. Think of them as some of your key tools of the trade. One the one hand (or perhaps I should say, foot), their job is to look pretty and through their styling, to make the lines of your feet and legs seem more elegant, which in turn makes your dance moves look all the better. One the other hand, their function is to help prevent injury by providing your feet adequate support and to be so comfortable to wear that your dancing is not impeded.
Now your choice of ballroom shoes is very wide and sometimes it is hard to know where to begin. The obvious first port of call for advice is your dance teacher who will be able to tell you exactly what you need for your level of experience and the type of dances you are learning.
In the absence of personal advice, you can visit your local dancewear store, if you have one. The obvious advantage to this is that your feet can be professionally measured and you can try on the shoes there and then. Moreover, there is a huge choice of ballroom shoes available by mail order over the internet. What’s more, a reputable online supplier will understand that you want shoes that fit you properly, and should be happy for you to return unwanted pairs, as long as they are in brand new condition – so be sure only to try them on a carpeted surface, to avoid scratching the soles.
So, what are you looking for in a good pair of dance shoes? Firstly, style. Experienced women dancers often choose court shoes, but there is always the risk that they could fall off and maybe cause injury. So, it is probably wiser to opt for straps or laces, giving you a better sense of security and making you feel more confident with your dance steps. They are also better for your foot muscles, because they do not lead to the fatigue caused by having to keep tensing to keep the shoes on. Women’s ballroom shoes often have a high heel. Do not be tempted to go too high though, because you are more likely to have an accident by turning your heel and your feet will tire more quickly too.
Another factor influencing comfort and being able to move safely on the dance floor, is the size of your shoe. Make sure that your feet are carefully measured. Contrary to what some people advise, you do not want to allow your feet to slide around in your shoes – so the fit should be snug. You do not want or need any extra toe room. As you can imagine, allowing movement within the shoe of a hot sweaty foot is at least going to lead to blistering, if not some worse form of injury, through slipping.
You may be wondering what type of soles to opt for. The best sort of soles are suede soles. Whilst offering reasonable traction and stability for spinning, these soles do allow your ballroom dance shoes to slide safely across the floor – great for your dance moves, and definitely a whole lot safer for you than wearing rubber soles, which are very likely to cause you to come to an abrupt halt – very risky for you and your partner. They are also more comfortable because they flex and bend with your foot. So, although suede soles may be more costly than rubber soles, choosing the latter is false economy.
Finally, there is no substitute for quality. Ideally, you want shoes that are built to last, give your feet the necessary support and comfort. If you can, it is well worth taking a good look at the stitching – evenly-spaced and small stitches are indicative of better quality. Check out the finish too. There should be no rough edges anywhere and if glue has been used, it should be scarcely noticeable. Clearly, any unevenness in the finish of the edges could lead to skin damage and soreness.
Again, this attention to detail is usually reflected in the price – but if you are serious both about dancing and your health, it is certainly a worthwhile investment, because wearing ballroom shoes that offer both comfort and protection is of paramount importance and could make all the difference to your continued enjoyment of the rewarding past-time that ballroom dancing is.
Of course, what better showcase for all those gorgeous ballroom dresses can there be, other than the evergreen television show, Dancing With The Stars? Yes, there is no denying that I am a huge fan, but who isn’t? Needless to say, I love ballroom dancing (otherwise I wouldn’t be writing here, would I?): the ballroom gowns, the strains of a big orchestra, the mix of professionals teaching the celebrity contestants and enjoying their improvement week by week. It seems to me that actually, almost every one can learn to dance if they want to, with differing degrees of accomplishment. I just can’t miss one single episode.
It can’t be easy to be a judge on Dancing With The Stars. In my opinion, Carrie Ann Inaba is a really pleasant, but I don’t always agree with her scores and comments. For example, this week when she said that Kristin Cavallari was magnificent, it wasn’t to really accurate. Yes, she had improved from last week but even then, the lines where not entirely there.
Bruno Tonioli is quite a character, sometimes I don’t believe that he can be that excited but his judging style is less biased and more realistic. He is so funny to watch, his arms and hands move as much as his voice goes high. He doesn’t always go by the rules, though. Many times his scores are based in emotions and looks, but usually he is really good. Another thing that I like a lot about him is that he always makes his criticisms in a good tone and with a positive attitude – I love that. And finally we have Len Goodman, the hard judge; Sometimes that hard that his comments can really hurt and discourage the stars, at least that’s what I think. And what better example of this than in the last episode with David Arquette – that was so hard to witness. I was watching it and to see the face of his little girl listening to those harsh comments was really sad, and I imagine that was the same for him.
And as for the stars for this season, overall they are doing fine. However, as with every season, I still don’t understand how come someone like Nancy Grace was cast – she definitely can’t dance at all, at least in my opinion, and the judges are awfully nice with her. Hope Solo has attitude and I like that a lot – with more rehearsal hours under her belt she will be way better. Chas Bono is trying to make a point and time will tell. The rest of the contestants, like Carson Kressley and Robert Kardashian will probably do just all right and will manage to navigate their way through the waters until their inevitable elimination.
Chynna Phillips and Tony Dovolani are, without a doubt, my favorite couple of this season. Their jive was full of energy and character, I just love it. But they really got me with their first dance, that Viennese Waltz was to die for, specially as it was just the first week. She is lovely, her lines are almost perfect, she is elegant and looks amazing with those shiny gowns. They might have some competition with JR Martinez and Karina Smirnoff and also maybe with Kristin and her partner Mark Ballas, but as things stand, my vote will go with Chynna.
Of course, we are just on week two so, anything can (and probably will) happen. Emotions will run high and the standard of the dancing will reach almost perfection in the following weeks. As for me, I will not miss one single episode – and that’s for sure.
When you first buy those sumptuous ballroom dresses made out of the finest delicate materials and trimmed with all those eye-catching sparkly stones and trimmings, you probably give little thought to how best you are going keep them that way. You’ll want to keep the colors bright and attractive and keep the dress shape exactly as it was when you bought it. There’s nothing worse than discoloration, damaged fabric, shrinkage and stretching. So how, I hear you ask, do I store and keep my ballroom dresses clean, fresh and in good condition? After all, you have already invested both time and money into finding the right one.
Well, help is at hand. In this and the next post, we’re going to take a look at some hints and tips for looking after your ballroom dresses that are inexpensive and easy to follow.
Let’s look first at how you go about storing your ballroom dance dresses. You might be thinking that you just hang them up in your closet. Well, you certainly hang them up, but not just anywhere. Firstly, you have to consider the fact that most ballroom dresses crease easily (and these creases are usually difficult to remove). So, prevention being better than a cure, you have to ensure that you hang them on a rail where they have plenty of space around them and that they are not touching anything else. Ideally, the hanging space will be dry and airy as this will help prevent mold from forming on your dress.
Next, you’ll want to think about protecting your garment from other things that will spoil it. These include dust and dirt in the atmosphere and possible infestation from insects, such as moths, which will ruin your precious dress by eating holes in it! The solution is to get a plastic dress cover. Both inexpensive and effective.
You also have to consider the possibility of the fabric fading. This is caused by exposure to natural light. What’s more, it doesn’t take much time in direct sunlight for this to start happening. This is where your plastic ballroom dancing dresses covers again come to the rescue. But you have to make sure that you have bought ones that are dark in color and opaque. If they are light and transparent, then the light will still damage the material.
So, you need to hang your ballroom dresses in a roomy dry area and make sure that they are protected from sunlight and other damage by enclosing them in dark-colored plastic covers. This is step one to prolonging the enjoyment you get from wearing your beautiful dresses.
When buying ballroom dresses on a tight budget, it’s very easy to be seduced by the cut-prices offered by companies operating overseas, particularly in China. As with everything in this life, you get what you pay for. If a price seems too good to be true, it probably is.
In the next couple of posts, I’m going to give you some tips about how to go about finding the right person to custom-make your ballroom dresses for you.
I’ll then give you some pointers on how to tell your chosen dressmaker exactly what you want and at the right price, so that you won’t be disappointed or feel ripped off when you receive your dress.
These steps are good practice and apply equally wherever you go to have your dresses made.
Firstly, choose your dressmaker with great care.
This may sound obvious, but do your research first and shop around. Don’t just go on to eBay and bid on the first dress you see.
Ask your dance teacher, other dancers and friends who they would recommend you go to. If you like someone’s ballroom dress, ask them where they got it. Of course, it may be outside your budget, but it’s always worth asking.
You can also do your research on the internet. Ask questions in ballroom dancing forums. You’ll always find people willing to share their views and experiences. Always bear in mind though that it’s usually folks who have had bad experiences who are most vocal. You have to look at the body of evidence and weigh it up for yourself.
When you look on eBay, be sure to check out the sellers’ feedback and see how long they’ve been in business. When you visit a dressmaker’s website, be sure to read all the small print.
Will the dress be exactly as shown in the photograph? Will there really be that many stones? When do they expect payment?
Will they issue a full refund if you are not completely satisfied? Remember that if you are planning to shop overseas, then it will be so much harder getting your money back if you’re not happy.
The success of having ballroom dresses made depends heavily on the quality of the communication between you and the dressmaker. It’s a great idea to test them out by asking lots of questions before you decide to place an order.
Do they respond quickly? Do they answer all your questions well? How good is their grasp of the English language? Are they courteous?
If communication is not good at the pre-sales stage, then it doesn’t look good for when they’ve already taken your money.
Finally, don’t rule out home-grown talent. Overseas sellers may look cheap, but that’s often because they are mass-produced and they use inferior material and trimmings.
What’s important for ballroom dresses is the quality of the workmanship. If the dress is well designed and made, you could make savings by, for example, cutting down on the number of and applying the embellishments yourself.