Dance wardrobe project: Intro

7 Oct

I admit it. I am Dance Mad. Always have been, always will. For the past 7 yrs Argentinian tango has lit my life. A few years ago I started learning salsa too, just for the sheer fun of all those turns and spins.

After all this time to acquire a dance wardrobe, I can usually find something decent to wear for the monthly Tango Milonga, though there is certainly room for improvement. However, salsa is a different story. My salsa wardrobe is … well, non-existent, really.

Thus, I am doing a Dance Wardrobe Project.

What do I want out of it?

A dance outfit needs to:

  • highlight the dancer’s movement in an attractive way
  • not restrict movement
  • have the dancer be confident her clothes won’t undo/fly open/buttons pop/cleavage fall out
  • looks good when soaked in sweat (hey I know, an icky subject but oh such an unavoidable reality)
  • not show the world the colour of the dancer’s undies (ok, so call me old-fashioned, I don’t care if I am!)

A dance wardrobe ideally consists of:

  • plenty of variety as I dance so often
  • things that look good on me
  • garments that are easy to clean and store
  • outfits that don’t require thought or fuss to pull together before I go out
  • clothes that all look good with all my dance shoes and hair accessories
  • preferably clothes will also work well at tango practicas and salsa lessons (though most streetwear is fine for these)

Heh… clothes that highlight the dance movements flatteringly, don’t restrict movement, don’t reveal too much. Right. A huge ask! These needs manifest differently in each style of dance.

Salsa outfit specifics

Salsa tends to have a lot of turning, spinning, the arms are raised over the head frequently, articulation of rib-cage and hips. Because it is partner dancing, the woman often facing the partner, the back and side detailing of the clothes is at least as important as the front detailing.
Here is a gratuitous vid of salsa dancing a vid to show what I mean.

Watch Salsa videos and dance lessons at

Hmmm, if that doesn’t work out, go check it out at the website while I try to work out how to embed videos here.And here is another lovely salsa video, just for good measure.

Tango has noticeably different requirements. There is more focus on leg movements (though they aren’t considered polite when on a crowded dance floor – taking out a fellow dancer with a giant gancho just isn’t cricket, you know :-P). The dancer mostly faces her partner so back detail is important, as is side detail. (So many dresses that would otherwise be perfect for tango, have eyecatching detail on the front and plain, boring backs. Such a shame.) Arm movements are minimal. And there are no quick spins so the risk of the undies on show is a lot less than in salsa.

For your delectation here are some gorgeous tango vids. A bit of soul candy. This first one reminds me of Dance Week’s “streets of dance”, organised by Ausdance NT a few years back, where dancers seemingly at random started dancing in cafes and on sidewalks. I and my partner were two of the “random” tango dancers 🙂 The expressions on the chance-audience’s faces were magical!

And another, further away, but gives a different view of tango.

Next post is The Game Plan (finishing up on this one mainly because I want to post this and go get some dinner and see if those videos were embedded properly). Oh, and the next salsa social is tomorrow and I have to get sewing…

One Response to “Dance wardrobe project: Intro”


  1. Travel and ruffles « Tropical Threads - May 12, 2011

    […] and a disappointingly boring result. I have some leftover dark purple polyester knit from my dance wardrobe project, and I love the combination of it with the lemony-lime fizz of the pj’s. And, I confess, […]


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