Tag Archives: ballet tights

Mini-Review: Dance Paws and Capezio Ultra Soft Tights

I’m gonna do a 2-in-1, because if I wait to write these mini-reviews separately it probably won’t get done…

Anyways.

Dance Paws, in the package

Dance Paws, in the package

First up, Dance Paws. These are my first pair of Modern dance “shoes”, or as it says in the package “protection for the bare foot”. While I made it through a year of beginner modern without anything like this, I did notice toward the end of my second session that there was just no way for me to turn more than a half turn in my bare feet since my feet stick to the floor. I tend to have very ‘gummy’ skin, and even if I build up a callus it almost immediately peels off before it gets thick enough. (And I’ve seen, backstage, the aftermath of someone’s callus cracking  *insert horrified face*). As I tend to be resistant of buying new stuff unless I absoutely need it (‘need’ being subjective, since obviously I’m not going to be eating them or living in them…), I made it through the modern classes just doing half turns and dealing with it. But for our performances there was going to be quite a bit of barefoot turning, and the least fun place for a meniscus tear would be on stage in the theater in front of everybody, so off to the dance store I went. I filed it under the ‘cheaper than knee surgery’ category…

That said, these are not cheap! Although they utilize much less material than ballet slippers, they cost over twice as much. Craziness! Especially because they look really simple, like the kind of thing anyone with a sewing machine can whip up in a half-hour, tops. Just a little bit of meshy material, elastic, and a suede (or imitation suede) sole.

Top view, bottom view

Top view, bottom view

Did they work? Yes, much better than I expected. I tried them on in the dance store, but it’s not the same. I tried balancing up on releve a few times, but you can’t really dance around at the store. And since it was cold in our rehearsal room, too cold for me to go barefoot, I didn’t get to  actually start dancing in these until our last dress rehersal already at the theater (which was surprisingly warmer than the studio). And once we started, I didn’t notice them at all. Since I find split-sole ballet slippers to be uncomfortable, I’d been worried that these would feel the same way, but they don’t, they’re much more comfortable. The sole doesn’t get in my way for balancing at all, my turns went well, everything was fine. So yes I would recommend these, though I don’t know how the other brands of modern shoes out on the market compare. (Since trying them on entails sticking your bare toes through the little toe holes, i don’t know if these are a case of you-try-it-you-buy-it. Seems pretty unsanitary otherwise…)

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Capezio Ultra Soft tights

Capezio Ultra Soft tights

Next up, Capezio Ultra Soft tights. These were a recommendation from one of you readers about a year ago, when I asked about tights that were more durable and didn’t run after one wear (like those awful Theatrical brand tights…). Of the ones recommended, these were the only ones I found at the local dance store so I picked them up back then, but I’d been waiting until I needed a new pair (like a performance) to finally wear them.

In short, I love them! Right out of the package they felt much thicker than pretty much every other brand of tights I’ve tried (that would include Bloch, Theatricals, Body Wrappers, Natalie Dancewear). They fit pretty snug, and I got the size L/XL, so that’s one potential downside (not for me personally – a snug fit makes me feel like a superhero!). While being snug as far as the circumference of the legs (and I’ve posted my leg measurements before in my knee pad post – my legs are not on the larger side at all compared to regular people, apparantly huge in dancer terms), there is plenty of room as far as length, so perhaps sizing is based more on length? I was just glad I followed the height-weight chart in the back and didn’t try to squeeze into the S/M. I got the footed tights, but it’s possible the different styles have  different fit, so if i ever try out one of the other styles I’ll have to remember to update this.

As for the color, these are really pink. I know all pink tights start out life as the pinkest they’ll ever be, and gradually begin the process towards gray, but these did seem even more pink than my last new pair of pink tights (Theatricals). It’s a nice pink though, just a little startling at first.

Don’t believe me? Here’s some photographic evidence:

Clockwise from R: Capezio pink tights (new), Theatricals pink tights (new-ish, Theatrical and BodyWrappers Tights (very used)

Clockwise from R: Capezio pink tights (new), Theatricals pink tights (new-ish, Theatrical and BodyWrappers Tights (very used), feline friend

The Theatrical tights in the center are a pair that I had been saving since our performance last June and barely started wearing recently, so the color has not faded yet. I included the very used tights in the picture to show how grayish the pink tights get after lots of wears and washes. As youu can see, the pink of the Capezio tights is much more vibrant. If the color lasts through washes then these will be the perfect tights! However, I’m planning on putting them away for a  while and just wearing my older tights to class in the meantime in case I need new-looking tights for another performance.

And, just for fun, a ballet slipper comparison picture, featuring another feline friend.

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When they said “clean the floor with your shoes” for tendus they weren’t kidding…

There was just no way I could get those shoes clean without accidentally scraping pieces off them!

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Improvise

No, not the kind of improv done during Modern class, though that is fun too…

Some awful person ran off with one of my leg warmers (I took them off after class, could have sworn I put them in my bag, I had somewhere important to be (family emergency), then I get home and there’s only one leg warmer in there. Not to worry, the studio has a lost and found. Except I get there the next day -as I spent the rest of the previous day with my Dad at the hospital – and the leg warmer is nowhere to be found.) What kind of awful person takes things that are not theirs?  (That may be a rhetorical question)

Anyways, I had another class to go to and no way of keeping my legs extra warm. An idea struck. I remembered this old pair of pink leggings that I kept around that no longer fit. I’d been keeping them around on the hopes that I would fit into them again – not going to happen unless I want to lose all my newfound jumping power (muscles) – or if not to donate them to a local thrift store once I accumulated enough items to make the trip worth it.

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Pink leggings, not ballet pink but close enough

Instead, I cut the legs off from the gusset and improvised myself some leg warmers. They actually fit really nice and snug all the way up to a little over my knees – perfect leg warmer length. I wore them as is already, but I’m thinking of possibly hemming them so that the knit doesn’t begin to run.

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They come up to a good height mid-thigh without feeling like strangling my leg

Even if I do get another pair of dance legwarmers like the ones I had (which I feel so guilty about because I was so irresponsible as to put myself in the situation that someone could take them…) – and I might as the stirrup part really helps keep my arches warm during barefooted Modern class, and unfortunately warm arches are a necessity for me – these fit well underneath pants or leggings to keep me warm throughout my day.

Bonus: The gusset part that I cut off makes a great pair of warmup shorts (not pictured).

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The post would not be complete without showing my crappy turnout…

I Guess Home Is Where You Hang Your Tights…

Doing dancer-laundry did not feel like a chore, compared to the drudgey of moving...

Doing dancer-laundry did not feel like a chore, compared to the drudgery of moving…

Finally, today I felt like I took the day off, doing no moving-related things at all. Could that be why I felt like I had a good class, despite at times floundering about in center?

We did this cool new thing at barre, which I was not able to catch the name of, but it basically went like this. Do 4 rond de jambes while doing a promenade, turning a quarter turn every rond de jambe. When F Teacher had this girl demonstrate what we were about to do, my jaw dropped, just a little. It looks so intimidating! So when we did the combination, when we did the first side I just took the option of doing 4 regular rond de jambes. But when we did the second side, F Teacher happened to be right near by, and I kinda felt like I had to just do it . So I sort of did, having no idea how I was supposed to do this.  I actually made it around, I can’t believe it!

Center was hard. We did a more contemporary piece and the speed was really getting me. There were a couple slower moments, when we did stuff like passe releve balance, or grand battements on releve that were fun even, but the quick parts were not very good. I loved the music though, but it was hard to really just dance instead of worrying about keeping up. Can’t believe I consider a passe releve balance (from fourth, to then come into releve sous-sus) an easier part of the combination. I guess it just goes to show that a move that was once considered impossible and some point becomes do-able.

Overall, I felt I had a good class. Been going over the new center combination a little, trying to work off my post-class hyperness/adrenaline rush. At a much slower tempo, of course…