Dance Costumes in Ballroom Dancing


Ballroom dancing is a classic method of dance that has been popular since its inception, and it’s seen in the form of dances like the waltz, salsa, bachata, and more.

To fully immerse oneself in the ballroom dancing experience, it’s important to dress in specified ballroom dancing costumes. Doing so helps create uniformity between the dancers and best conveys the mood and theme of the song, and these costumes are also used to distinguish the different roles of the participating dancers.

Each costume is designed to enhance the performer’s movements and style.

Historical Background

Ballroom dancing was established in the 16th century for dances in royal courts. It is a method of dance used for both social enjoyment and dance competitions, and it requires a partner, leading to its “partnership dancing” nickname.

Ballroom dancing is seen in two forms: International and American.

  • International is the most classic form of ballroom dancing and requires dancers to remain close in form.
  • American Style allows for more freedom between the dancers.

Ballroom dance costumes have evolved over time to reflect changes in culture and fashion trends. Styles were much more conservative initially with men in tailcoats and women in long gowns and tight corsets.

As time went on, more daring looks involving leotards, feathers, and sequins were introduced.

Inspiration and Design

Dance costume designs pull inspiration from various aspects of life. Much of the design originally focused on social status, and each historical period has displayed this differently.

Distinctions in cultures and contemporary fashion also play a huge role in costume design, from selecting the textures and colors of materials used to choosing flashy embellishments.

From fabrics to shoes to accessories, ballroom dancing costumes are intricately curated to fit the style of performance. The designer partners with the dancer to ensure the costume is effectively tailored to the character being portrayed.


Styles and Variations

Long, flowing gowns with long sleeves and bold embellishments are commonly seen in standard ballroom dancing costume designs, whereas short, often asymmetrical and sleeveless styles are common among Latin and Rhythm designs.

Feathers, sequins, and bright colors and patterns are the norm for achieving show-stopping style.

Costumes vary by dance to meet the different requirements for movement, with standard dances following more of a seamless structure and fast-paced

Latin-inspired dancing needing more room for mobility. Gene Kelly and Rita Hayworth are a notable dance couple, iconic for their dancing and the costumes they wore.

Behind the Scenes

Preparation for designing ballroom dance costumes involves a lot of research, and designers must ensure comfort and mobility are achieved without sacrificing visual appeal.

Costume care must be prioritized; costumes are fully decorated and should be washed gently to preserve fabrics and embellishments. Storing costumes in proper containers in areas free from pests, humidity, and bright lights is key for longevity.

Contemporary Trends and Innovations

Contemporary trends focus heavily on both style and mobility. Shimmering sequins and stones, bold colors and patterns, and fun ruffles and feathers are used depending on the theme.

New technologies allow for an easier design process, and many companies are practicing more sustainable methods such as ethical recycling and using compostable materials. Chrisanne Clover is a renowned dancewear design company offering an array of of styles.

Schedule Ballroom Dancing Lessons at Fred Astaire Dance Studios

The art of ballroom dancing shines at Fred Astaire Dance Studios, and our company understands the importance of showcasing the craft and captivating audiences with artfully curated costumes.

Designers and dancers alike work hard to create dazzling looks, and it’s crucial to appreciate all the hard work that goes into them.

Schedule dancing lessons today at FADS Indianapolis!