When prospective students call the Arthur Murray DC Dance Studios, one of the most frequently asked questions is “what should I wear to ballroom dance lessons?”

We tell our students that they need to be comfortable, keeping in mind that we are a professional organization. You need to wear clothes that you can move in comfortably, that are not too tight and don’t restrict movement. For men, a shirt and nice pants are preferred. Think “business casual”. If you sweat a lot, bring a change of shirt.

For women, something looser and flowing is best. Something that allows you to take large steps backward and forward, as you follow your partner’s lead. Tight skirts, or ultra miniskirts don’t allow freedom of movement, plus you don’t want to worry about your skirt rising too high. Also, be aware of sleeveless shirts or tank tops. With all the spinning and turning, the straps can slip off your shoulders, and some partners may be uncomfortable touching so much skin.

Shoes are the single most important clothing item for any dancer. If you plan to become a serious, long-term dancer, then you will want to invest in ballroom dance shoes. In the beginning, you will want shoes that allow you to glide around tballroom dance shoeshe dance floor. Suede or leather soles are best. If you don’t have leather soled shoes, then a pair of dress shoes will probably do. Avoid athletic shoes, as they tend to grip the dance floor, which could damage your knees or ankles. If you are preparing for your wedding dance, wear shoes most similar to what you intend to wear for the big day. You will want to practice moving around in them before you are in front of all of your friends, family, and youtube!

Most important, be sure that your shoes are secure on your feet. This goes for both men and ladies. You don’t want to trip over your feet, or have your shoes fly off in a turn. And ladies, be sure that your heel is secure as you spend so much time walking backward.

Lastly, please pay attention to personal hygiene. You will be dancing very closely, sometimes with multiple partners. Strong colognes or perfumes irritate some people. Keep mints available, and use them before you start getting in close dance holds.