Why does your dancer need a cover-up over his/her dancewear?
Many have asked this question and I feel the issue deserves an explicit explanation.
Teachers do not have time to discuss the matter in-between classes and parents are
often greeted with a curt “Your dancer needs a cover-up.” When pressed teachers
blame it on “the rules” in order to avoid a lengthy discussion. In a nutshell, there
are three basic reasons why your dancer needs a cover-up: etiquette, respect, and
Etiquette is just as important in dance as technique and performing skills.
The teacher must instruct students in a traditional code of behavior in order to
develop the whole dancer. Instruction includes when it is appropriate to speak,
stand, sit, ask questions etc. The cover-up is a tradition passed from teacher to
student. Students who do not wear cover-ups are considered poorly trained by
professionals in the dance world. Proper etiquette requires that dance attire be
worn only in the dance room and costumes be worn only on the stage. Drill teams,
jazzercise and aerobic classes do not teach this tradition just as they do not teach
a structured dance form. In other words, in order to preserve dance as an art
form, and stand apart from multitudes of people who wear dancewear as a fashion
statement or to the gym to workout, dancers must respect the traditions passed to
them from their instructors.
Respect for the community is another reason to cover your dance clothes.
Most people do not wear their bathing suits into the grocery store because it is not
the appropriate place for swimwear. The code of behavior developed for dancers
does come from common sense principles. Many parents feel that their child is not
old enough to be considered inappropriately dressed. If the child is old enough
to take dance class then he/she is old enough to behave appropriately. We do not
wait until a child is nine or ten before teaching them to say please or thank you.
Because we all know that good habits started young are hard to break. My own
daughter has never questioned leaving the house without a cover-up because she has
never known any different. Teaching our children self respect and respect for the
community will be much appreciated by the parent when the dancer is older.
Physical fitness is the final reason for the traditional cover-up. Dancers are
likely to hurt themselves if they dance when their muscles are still cold. Instructors
warm up each class with special exercises to help prevent injury. It is important
for the dancer to keep their body warm before and after class, especially in the cold
months. This is the reason that tights are required for serious dancers. If the
muscles cool too quickly they will become tight and sore. This makes the likelihood
of tearing a muscle or tendon much greater. Young students are more flexible and
resilient and the instructors do not require as much of them. This is why a big T-
shirt is acceptable as a cover-up. Students old enough to study jazz should wear
warm clothing from shoulders to ankles in cold weather. Although dance does
promote good health, injuries are common, especially if the dancer does not follow a
I hope this thorough explanation of the “cover-up” policy will help parents
and dancers better understand the rules. I also hope all dancers will follow the rules
and wear a “cover-up” to and from class. We are depending on your cooperation to
protect the reputation of the studio, the quality of our instruction, and the well being
of your dancer. Thank you for your interest.