Website of the week
I quit the gym a little over six months ago, and at the time, it was very liberating. I used to love to take classes at the gym (yoga, hip-hop), but eventually I started to hate being confined to a schedule, so then I just lifted weights and did cardio machines, which got to be incredibly tedious after awhile. Looking back on it, I think that while I started going to the gym for good reasons (to be healthy), after awhile, I was just going through the motions. And it sucked. So I quit. And while since then I've been doing yoga and pilates on my own, I just can't get the same workout at home that I can in a class where I have someone pushing me. But the worst part was that working out this way, I clearly was not releasing enough energy, of which I have a lot, and if I don't get it out, I get all stressed out and go crazy. A few weeks ago, I had my second major epiphany of my adult life, which is that the only exercise I really enjoy doing is dancing, because, as cheesy as this sounds, it not only lets me release my built-up physical energy but my emotional energy as well. So I've started dancing again! Since it's been a long six years since I've taken a proper dance class, my dance accoutrements have fallen by the wayside. Thus far, I've attended class wearing all manner of former workout clothes--stretchy pants, sports bras, old tees and tanks, plus my ancient jazz sneakers (they were the first ones ever made and, yes, I still have them)--because I can't find any of my old leotards and stuff. Granted, dancewear has changed a bit since my '90s glory days (which can best be described as "grunge ballerina")--I used to attend class in spaghetti-strap leotards and footless tights or a unitard, paired with thigh-high legwarmers. Leotards still appear to be popular, but there were a lot of leggings and stretch pants too. And since I can always use an excuse to go shopping, I hit the web in search of places to shop for new leotards and such.

I was delighted to find the online home of Discount Dance Supply, which has always been my favorite source for shoes, leotards, and such. Back in the day (like, before the Internet), DDD was just a catalogue--which appears to still exist--but the website is even better because, like Amazon, you can rate the products. This is helpful especially in the case of shoes, because most of the time, you never know how good (or bad) a shoe is until you actually dance in it. But, for example, there's a Bloch jazz shoe (please note, I can't link directly to anything on this site) that has 10 five-star reviews, making it (hopefully) a pretty sure thing. The reviews are also great for leotard-shopping, as the reviews note which styles fade, gape, flatter bigger busts (very useful info for me), and etc. I won't bore you with the details of my leotard, tights, and jazz-shoe search, however, because as I remembered while browsing, dance stores always have cute "warmups" and other dance-inflected clothing that you can incorporate into your look, plus it's all more authentic (and cheaper) than the dance-inspired looks that periodically crop up in designers' collections.

For example, I'm always a fan of the chiffon wrap skirt. True, it's sheer, so you need either a slip or some thick tights underneath, but nothing else says "dancer" more clearly and, at $16, this Capezio style is quite a bargain.

These ABT shorts would be great for wearing to a regular old gym, especially if you have great legs, but I'll be wearing mine over tights.

Dance catalogues are always a great source for basic legwarmers, but sometimes you can find funky styles, like this open-knit pair from Grishko.

And, I know these "dancer overalls" look kind of ridiculous, but, trust me, they're so comfortable, perfect for lounging around your apartment on a lazy weekend.

This K.D. Dids sweater is almost as iconic as their thigh-high legwarmers, and it's a little less obvious than the classic wrap sweater.

And dance catalogues are always a good resource for footless tights. This durable low-rise Capezio style is a mere $7.80, and it will last far longer than that pair you bought at Urban Outfitters.

Now through August 13th, shipping is a mere cent on orders over $100 (usually, from what I remember, costs escalate quite quickly), but in case you want to postpone your purchase, the site has a great wish list feature, of which I'm always a big fan. I'm going to hit the K.D. Dids store on Lafayette tomorrow, but I think I've found at least a couple of leotards and a new pair of jazz shoes here. So while my dancing might be a bit rusty, I'll at least look like I belong there.


Anonymous said...

Hi C,

Where are you taking your dance classes? I have not felt very welcome..just curious. How are they for beginners?

Cheryl said...

I've been taking classes at Peridance. I think the instructors are pretty good overall and the levels tend to be mixed, even in the level-specific classes. They are better for jazz and hip-hop, however; I can't seem to find a good modern class there, so I'm going to try Dance New Amsterdam next week.