I used to have a whole wardrobe of leotards…
I had a red one, and a pink one, and a blue one, and a small collection of black ones. This is because I used to be an early childhood dance teacher–as in, that was how I made most of my living, and what I did with most of my days. I taught kids, mostly ages 3-6, how to plie and tendu and shuffle-hop-step.
(Side note: Don’t think for an instant that this makes me any kind of good dancer. I took a ton of dance classes in college, but I’m strictly amateur, with tight muscles and general lack of flexibility. What I am is great with little kids. This is the primary skill of teaching baby dance classes, not any kind of dance technique.)
At the beginning of my teaching career, I wore a ton of leotards and tights. Some places I taught required it, but even when they didn’t, I’d usually wear them because:
- I had highfalutin ideas about modeling proper dance attire for my students.
- I also thought (and technically still do) that it adds to the magic of dance class for young students.
- I looked young, and it made parents take me seriously. An I Am a Serious Dance Teacher costume.
- You guys, I was so skinny. Like, I’m not saying I’m not a small lady now, but I was really little then, because I was teaching all the time. If you consistently bounce around with three year olds for 15 hours a week, you too, will probably think leotards are really comfy.
I have gotten rid of the majority of my leotards, because I teach, at maximum, 2-3 classes a week, these days. I don’t need more than one. I don’t actually need any, it’s so rare for me to wear them. It is rare because:
- I teach in after-school programs, and feel a little too naked in tights and a leo and a sheer skirt in, say, the hallway of an elementary school.
- I’m not teaching ballet, so no one expects it.
- I am over 30. Parents finally take me seriously, regardless of my attire.
- Leotards are a pain in the neck. I’m nearly always going somewhere after class, somewhere I’d rather not be wearing a leotard.
- Since I’m not teaching as much anymore, my, um….bosom…is less happily confined these days. This is an example of a problem I’m happy to have.
But this is the Month of Vintage Underwear, so I dusted off my one decent leotard.
Now, old school real ballet teachers, from most accounts, probably just wore regular clothes, because they didn’t do much dancing. They gave corrections and tapped people with their scary canes, is my general impression. You could wear a girdle to do that.
Historically, leotards are a fairly new development. They came into fashion with Modern dance in the 20th century, and eventually became the standard class-wear they are today. If I had an early 20th century style tunic, I’d have worn it, but I don’t, so out the leotard came.
I paired it with leggings and shorts, because of my aforementioned feeling too naked at schools in tights.
I did not take a picture, so please imagine I looked like this:
It wasn’t that bad. It really wasn’t. It was way better than teaching in a girdle. I’ll probably do it again…at least until the end of this month.