Warm Up Gear for Ballet

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Thigh-High Leg Warmers

Ballet instructor adjusting girl's foot in ballet class
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Warming up is fundamental to ballet. A good warm-up routine is essential for preparing your body for a tough ballet class. You should warm up the major muscles of your body before you begin every ballet class. However, your ballet instructor will tell you that warming up your body from the outside is important as well. Keeping your body warm, especially on chilly days, is extremely beneficial. If your body is cold, you risk suffering from a dance injury, such as a pulled muscle.

The good news is, warm up gear is fun to wear! Because most ballet instructors enforce strict dress codes, ballet dancers usually enjoy sprucing up their wardrobe during warm up time. Think of your warm up as a chance to really shine and show off your personal style. Today, dancewear shops are stocked with stylish warm-up gear, stylish enough for even the trendiest ballet dancers.

Leg Warmers

Perhaps the most popular of all warm up items, leg warmers are long knitted tubes used to warm up your legs. Leg warmers can be found in several different lengths, from very long to very short. Depending on the length, leg warmers help to keep your ankles, calves, knees and thighs warm.

Thigh-high leg warmers, like the ones pictured above, are worn all the way up to the tops of your thighs.

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Over-the-Knee Leg Warmers

Ballet dancers wearing leg warmers
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Over-the-knee leg warmers are worn just over the knee and keep your entire lower leg warm.

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Knee-High Leg Warmers

Beautiful dancer stretching
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Knee-high leg warmers keep the lower halves of your legs warm, reaching just to the knee.

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Anklet Leg Warmers

Young women sit resting in rehearsal room
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These anklet leg warmers are fun, stylish, and keep your ankles warm.

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Foot Warmers

Ballerina standing on wall, low section
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Sometimes referred to as pointe shoe covers, these big fuzzy socks really keep your feet warm on cold days.

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Shrug

Shrug
Tracy Wicklund

A shrug is worn on your arms to keep your hands, wrists, and arms warm. Think of a shrug as a leg warmer for each arm connected behind your neck.

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Wrap Top

dance gear, leotards
Tracy Wicklund

A wrap top is worn like a jacket. Wrap tops wrap around your torso and keep your arms and upper body warm.

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Sweater Wrap

Sweater wrap
Tracy Wicklund

A sweater wrap is just like a wrap top, designed for keeping your upper body and arms warm. Sweater wraps are worn in very cold weather, as they are made of sweater material.

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Dance Shirt

Stretching During a Barre Class
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Dance shirts can be enjoyed all year, even in the middle of hot summers, since they are usually made of very sheer material. Dance shirts fit snugly on the body.

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Warm Up Shorts

Friends looking at male ballet dancer in mid-air
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Playfully known as "booty shorts," warm up shorts are tiny, tight-fitting shorts that are worn right over your tights and leotard. Warm up shorts are available in many textures, from thin lycra material to thick wool and cotton.

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Jazz Pants

Jazz pants
Tracy Wicklund

Jazz pants aren't just for jazz dancers...jazz pants are worn by ballerinas, too. Jazz pants are tight-fitting pants that slip right on over your tights and leotard. Some jazz pants are tight down to the ankle, but some are wide-legged.

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Parachute Pants

Parachute pants
Tracy Wicklund

Popularized in the 1980s, parachute pants have made a huge comeback in the dance world. Parachute pants are made of a thin plastic material designed to keep your entire lower body warmed up.

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Ballet Skirt

Girl working with ballet teacher
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Last but definitely not least, a ballet skirt is one of the most popular warm up items worn by ballerinas. A ballet skirt is made of a very thin material and is tied at the waist.

Learn how to properly​ tie a ballet skirt.