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9: Standards of Dress for Dancing 

Not infrequently, social ballroom dancers do not consider how their appearance affects those around them, those with whom they have chosen to share the space and who contribute to the overall sense of occasion.  The younger age groups especially, often don’t dress to complement the event.  They have become individuals attending an event instead of sharing the event and collectively contributing to it – even when there is an advertised dress code!

Why is this?  Can't be bothered?  Don’t have the appropriate clothes in their wardrobe?  Value comfort over apperance?  I don’t know.  So far as I am concerned, being properly turned out is an integral part of the game, just as much as is having the right shoes, and anyone who doesn’t (even a very social dancer) is letting the side down.

Go back to the Forties and Fifties, and every man at a dance would have been in full suit and tie, and stayed like that all night – that was the standard of the day, and expected.  Okay, so social dancing then was more a shuffle around the floor elbow to elbow with the other couples, but I wonder how effective the deodorants of the day were!  Competition dancers, even at modern levels of exertion, still compete in high collars and tail suits – how do they cope?!

Modern ballroom dancing expects more movement and energy, so clothes need to be less restrictive (and less hot!) – but that’s no excuse for an untidy appearance*.  And ladies in trousers are doing nothing to compliment the dance when a flowing dress or skirt will flare out with the movement (and is intended to).  Dancing is not a gender-neutral pursuit (men and women have equally important roles to play, but they are different roles – and vivre la différence)!

In times gone by, strict dress codes were expected and enforced by dancing clubs and public dances.  It is practically impossible to enforce a dress code in this day and age, but take time to consider: how respectful is it to your companions, and even your own partner, not to take the time and care to dress appropriately?  Let’s face it, these days how often do you get the chance to dress up for a night out?  When you look good, you feel good too.  Make the most of it!

* Except at a ‘practice’, where it is commonly acknowledged you are there to work on your technique and stamina, and clothing has become (almost) optional!  But if you are practising to compete, don’t you need to make sure your dancing works when fully attired???