Importance of Wearing a Fitted Leotard
Leotards are supposed to be fitting, much like a second skin. There should not be extra fabric, or any straps loose and dropping, making it look wrinkled and saggy.
The main reason is because it allows the teacher to see the position and movement of the student much more easily. It allows for better correction of posture, arms, hip and leg positions etc.
That being said, if it is too tight, it will ride up the hip bones, or cause excessive pressure at the arm or leg holes, and that restricts movement of the body and limbs.
Importance of Wearing a Fitted Dance Shoes
Dance shoes should fit like a glove. As a general guide, it should fit as snugly to the feet as possible, without causing pain or discomfort.
When standing with the feet flat on the ground, the foot and toes should be able to spread out and lay flat, with the longest toe just touching the end of the shoe. If the toes are scrunched up, the shoe is definitely too small. It will be difficult to balance in them, and will also cause bad habits with gripping the floor and pointing with scrunched toes, which can lead to injuries.
However, do not buy shoes that are too big. That is potentially dangerous as one may trip over the shoe when dancing. Additionally, a shoe that is too big will have too much fabric moving around, which does not allow for the dancer to feel the floor properly. Shoes that are too big also prevents the teacher from seeing what one is doing, and thus will not be able to give good corrections or spot bad habits and correct them before it is too late.
Article by Vivien Koh, Physiotherapist and Pointe Shoe Fitter
Illustration by Valerie Yeo, Dancer at Singapore Dance Theatre