Bachata Dancing – What to Wear/What Not to Wear 

Confused about what to wear for Bachata classes and going out Bachata dancing? Here is a guide about what to wear/what not to wear when Bachata Dancing.

Clothing for Beginner Classes

When you first start Bachata dancing be ready to work up a sweat in class. You will be moving and learning new things, so you will get hot. Something casual and comfortable that you can move around in and feel good about yourself. It has to be a bit form-fitting since you don’t want wardrobe malfunctions while you are dancing. T-shirts and jeans or leggings are fine. Shorts or skirts if it’s hot or you want to be a bit cooler while dancing. Try for lightweight, breathable materials or ones that wick away sweat. Don’t worry about dance shoes yet, just wear something that has a slippery sole like smooth leather or plastic. Once you have completed a beginner or Level 1 class, you should start thinking about purchasing dance shoes. Read below for more tips on shoes. So in summary wear lightweight, breathable materials that are easy to move around in and don’t wear anything that makes you feel uncomfortable.

Clothing for Intermediate and Advanced Classes

Add in Dance shoes (see below) and it is pretty much the same as beginner classes. Make sure clothing is not too loose – you don’t want wardrobe malfunctions. Make sure skirts and dresses stay “down” when you spin, turn and style. Dresses that are too long, too flowy or too tight are not ideal for dancing as there is not much opportunity for adjustment or “wardrobe checks” once you’re in the middle of a dance.

Clothing for Social Dancing

You can pretty much wear whatever you want to. You’re not only at a club to dance, but you’re there to socialize as well, so you might as well wear something you look and feel good in. Having said that, once you become addicted to Bachata you might want to start thinking about organizing your closet into “Bachata-friendly” clothing. But in Toronto, you will see people in everything from dressier T-shirts and jeans to skirts, dresses or more formal wear. Whatever makes you comfortable. Also, bringing an extra shirt or two to change into midway through the night is really helpful (and highly recommended).

Dance Shoes 

When dancing Bachata, you want to keep it simple for what you wear on your feet. Dance shoes can cost anywhere from $60 to $200 a pair and they are lighter weight than regular street shoes. With proper care and maintenance, a good pair will last you from 6-12 months. There are many options to choose from.

Jazz Sneakers for Both Men and Women

These are a great option for complete beginners or for practicing. These shoes provide great arch support and the plastic split soles are good for spinning and the added cushioning is very comfortable. Bloch and Capezio both produce good jazz sneakers.

Jazz Slippers for both Men and Women

As the name implies, these shoes are made of supple leather that fits like a slipper and come in slip-on or lace-up versions. Some slippers have a suede sole which is more suitable for multiple turns. Others have a plastic split sole (like sneakers) which is easier to maintain but not as easy to spin with.

Ballroom shoes for Men

Ballroom shoes are the most formal footwear. They have suede soles which need to be brushed after every usage to maintain their quality. Men’s ballroom shoes have a Cuban heel that can be 1″, 1.5″ or 2″ in height. These shoes are geared towards more formal dance venues and events (i.e., performances) and are generally not very popular in the Salsa scene.

Dance sneakers for Men (the most popular style)

This is the most popular option. Companies like Ballo and Jinga produce stylish shoes for men (they most resemble the look of a Puma sneaker) and come in a variety of colours and styles. These shoes can have suede or smooth rubber soles that make it easy to spin and move on the dance floor. But they are “sporty” enough to resemble a street shoe so guys don’t feel like they are wearing an “obvious” dance shoe.

.Salsa or Ballroom shoes for Women (the most popular style)

The most popular option for women is Ballroom or Salsa shoes. They are the most formal footwear and have suede soles. The soles need to be brushed after every usage to maintain their quality. They are made with special arch support and cushioning. Women prefer Ballroom/Salsa shoes to any other dance shoe because they come in the most versatile styles and can go with pretty much any outfit. If you are a new dancer it’s best to choose a heel height of 1.5″ to 2″. More experienced dancers prefer heels of 3″-4″ but be mindful that higher heel heights can be painful to dance in for a full night of dancing if you’re not used to dancing in heels.

Several shoe companies make beautiful dance shoes – Burju and Natural Spin both make beautiful and stylish Salsa shoes, with companies like Capezio and SupaDance making more traditional ballroom styles.

Shoes and clothes are just part of the equation. Read Bachata-How to Dance Smoother for even more tips.

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