What Should I Wear?
Going to a social event like a
dance can create a lot of anxiety. Most people want to look good and
make a good impression, fit in with the regular crowd, and be
comfortable for an evening of activity. The BACDS website
(www.bacds.org) contains some hints about what to wear, and an
internet search on contra dancing can yield many informative websites
with pictures. Here are a few tips about dressing for a dance.
Comfortable shoes are the most
important part of a dance outfit. Many experienced dancers have
specialty shoes for dancing, but that's not a requirement. If you are
just getting started with contra or English country dancing, choose
footwear from your closet with soft, smooth soles that can be cleaned
off easily. Shoes with a deep tread can bring in dirt and small
stones that damage the finish on the dance floor. Also, rubber soles
that stick to the floor can be hazardous to knees and ankles during
turns and twirls. Please avoid wearing shoes that might leave black
marks on the floor. Ladies, choose shoes with low heels that will
stay securely on your feet. Those strappy sandals look great, but
you'll be much happier dancing in those sensible shoes.
When you find yourself looking
on the web to line up a month's worth of dances, consider investing
in a pair of special shoes that you only wear on the dance floor.
Many companies that manufacture shoes for dancing make dance sneakers
that provide cushioning and special soles. There are also ballroom
dance shoes, jazz, and character shoes. Some folks like bowling
shoes. Some people like athletic shoes. You can ask other dancers
what they prefer and where to find dance shoes.
Most regular BACDS dances, both
English country and Contra dance, call for casual dress, and you can
wear what you prefer. Loose, comfortable clothing that doesn't
restrict movement is best. Lots of women like to wear skirts or
dresses with twirl ability. (Some men like to dance in skirts
too. There's a fun article about men in skirts on the Queen
City (Buffalo, NY) Contra Dancers website: www.qccd.org.) Many men
like to wear light slacks with t shirts. Hawaiian shirts are
popular, too. Shorts are just fine.
Both Contra and English country
dancing call for rather vigorous, sustained movement. You may want to
wear clothing that launders easily. And, if you tend to perspire
heavily when you exercise, bring an extra shirt or two. You'll be
more comfortable, and your partners will appreciate it.
While good hygiene and grooming
is always appreciated, using fragrance of any kind is not. Some
dancers suffer from allergies and chemical sensitivities that flare
up with painful symptoms with exposure to fragrances. Please do not
use any cologne, perfume, scented lotions, or aftershave when you
attend a dance. It's even better if you can use unscented soap, hair
products, and deodorant or antiperspirant. If possible, you can use
unscented detergent for laundering your dance clothes.
There are some special events,
the Fall Ball, the No Snow Ball, and the Playford Ball, where people
dress more elegantly. And there is an annual Halloween Contra dance
where costumes are admired (but not required).
Casual, loose fitting
clothes and clean, soft soled shoes are the only wardrobe items
needed for a wonderful evening of dancing at any of the regular BACDS
Contra and English country dances. And kindly observing
fragrance free guidelines helps make the dances more comfortable