Contemporary Dance Outfits


Contemporary dance outfits can add a lot to a routine - accentuating the beauty of the dancers' lines and helping to tell a story through movement. Below are some recommendations when it comes to selecting a contemporary dance costume, as well as where to find ideal clothing items for both rehearsal and recital.

Following the Flow

Contemporary dance is full of flowing movement intermingled with sharp, exaggerated steps that can both beautifully halt and make the imagination soar during one single routine. Due to the dance genre's unique choreography and edgy manner of storytelling to music, contemporary dance outfits should be synonymous with the choreography and the emotions being conveyed to the audience. Just as you wouldn't wear a ballroom gown for a tap dance performance, contemporary dance has its own appropriate line of items that can help you look your best.


Costumes are all about accentuating this union of sharp precision and flowing motions. While final selections are often at the discretion of the choreographer or studio owner, there are some dance world guidelines that many groups follow.

Baby Doll Dresses

Baby doll dresses paired with dance shorts are a popular choice for many performances and competitions. Many of the young women who participate in contemporary dance look gorgeous in these waistless and hemless dresses, and they are often affordable enough to purchase for an entire team without too heavy of a financial burden. The baby doll dance dress can come in watercolor (a more artistic and subtle form of tie dye), in solid colors, or in sheer fabrics that look stunning in more dramatic or holiday pieces. You can also find them in almost any print, and if you do not locate something fitting to your routine, they are very simple to sew.

Handkerchief Dresses

For those looking for something a bit more modest or classic looking, handkerchief dresses are another common option when it comes to contemporary dance costumes. These are often made out of lycra or spandex, with a spaghetti strap or sleeveless top and a connected skirt that comes below the knees. Often the hemline is uneven, to provide a more graceful, 'dancer' look.


For a sharp, fluid look, especially for large teams, unitards are sometimes chosen. These full-bodied leotards are tight fitting and can be either tank tops ending with shorts or Capri pants, or long-sleeved tops with full-legged bottoms. Some even come with hoods or attached foot coverings. Unitards come in solid colors or in patterns, and they can be embellished with sequins or attached scarves, skirts, or anything else that will set your team apart from the rest. Starting with a basic unitard is best, as it is inexpensive and practical, and then you can have your seamstress add whatever you'd like.


During contemporary dance rehearsals, outfits vary at the discretion of the studio owner. Customarily, students will wear a leotard with spandex shorts and a tank top or t-shirt over the leotard. Students often dance barefoot, but may also opt for jazz shoes, ballet shoes or foot paws if they prefer.

Shopping for Contemporary Dance Outfits

There are many places to find the dance outfits mentioned above. If you prefer to see things in person or get ordering advice, pay a visit to your local dance supply store. If this is unavailable in your region, or too difficult to work out, there are great online options. Discount Dance Supply provides you with a wide range of outfits for both rehearsal and performance at prices that most dancers can easily afford. Their Freeform modern dance shoe will complete any outfit you choose.

  • Leo's Dancewear supplies affordable costumes as well as rehearsal wear that is ideal for a contemporary dance troupe.
  • Finally, Dancewear Solutions will stand by their name and have a solution for you when you're looking for a certain contemporary dance item.

Contemporary dancewear can be anything you dream up, and with the help of the various suppliers and seamstresses working on providing the latest in dancing trends and styles, you're bound to find the perfect outfit for your performances and rehearsals alike.

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Contemporary Dance Outfits