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Dance Leotards: Where did they come from?

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Dance Leotards: Where did they come from?

Dance leotards are seen as a standard outfit for a dancer in modern times; however this hasn’t always been the case.

A Brief History of Dance Leotards


In the early days of the ballet, dancers wore clothes which were the fashion at the time, usually made of stiff materials that didn’t provide the dancers with much movement. This made it difficult to show some of their intricate dance moves. As ballet became more complex in the 16th Century, the dancers decided to alter their outfits to showcase their intricate footwork and ballet shoes. After this time, and the invention of tights, dancewear began to allow more movement, paving the way for the dance leotard to become a stapel wardrobe piece.
Initially, the leotard was known as the maillot, a French term for ‘swaddling clothes.’ The name leotard came from a French Circus acrobat called Jules Leotard in the 19th Century, who wore the clothing as it allowed more movement during performances. The leotard was then adopted by other ballet costumers for this reason. This is when the leotard became more popular, and more linked to dancewear.
The dance leotard was originally only for men, as in the 19th century it was deemed ‘too revealing’ for women; however this attitude relaxed and the leotard was then adopted by many female dancers.
In the mid-20th Century the dance leotard was improved with the invention of new stretchy fabrics such as Lycra which improved the fit of the dancewear. Also, during the 1970s, leotards became a lot more than dancewear, and had a moment in the fashion industry, when bodysuits were the thing to be seen in.

Dance Leotards Today

This brings us up to the present day, where dance leotards are readily available and come in a vast range of designs, colours and sizes to help with movement and to add an extra wow factor to any routine.
At Wholesale Dance, we supply high quality leotards which can be worn for dance and gymnastics and which provide optimum flexibility and movement. There is a large amount of eye-catching designs on our website to compliment any form of dance, and we offer sizes to fit both children and adults.

Find Out More About Our Dance Leotards

If you are interested in purchasing a new dance leotard, why not take a look at our wide range to see which style suits you. Alterntively, you can also contact us if you have any other questions.

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About Wholesale Dance

Wholesale Dance was established in 1989 and has evolved into one of the premier UK dancewear suppliers. As a major distributor and manufacturer of dancewear we pride ourselves in the wide range of choice we offer, with products ranging from dance leotards and catsuite to ballet and tap dance shoes, for all ages and sizes and in an array of stylish dance designs.

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