Costume Selection for Acro Dance

acrodance clothes

Close your eyes and picture an acro dance costume…. Do you picture a unitard, where everything from wrists to ankles is covered? Bonus points if the unitard is in some form of animal print, or black and white so that the dancer can portray a clown.

The world of acro dance costuming has come a long way since its days of unitards and the same handful of characters being recycled again and again. These days, many more dance teachers are educating themselves about the art of acro dance and see how it closely relates to, and assists with the training of, other dance genres. Because the industry now understands that acro is such a key part of a dancer’s skill set, it feels less foreign to us, and acro dance tricks are being woven in with jazz, lyrical, and modern choreography. In short, your dancers are no longer forced to pick between a clown or snake print unitard for their acro solo.

Although the options for acro dance costuming are virtually limitless, there are still certain features to be aware of when selecting a costume for your acrobats:

  1. Hands and feet should be free for safety. This means that gloves and shoes should be avoided at all costs.
  2. Because acro dance involves so much upside-down and floor work, we recommend always having your acrobats in tights (no bare legs)! Beige stirrup tights create a nice long leg line, and footless tights are also available if you prefer.
  3. Instead of selecting longer shorts, try opting for a bodysuit cut or short shorts, which will do a better job of maintaining a long leg line.
  4. Ensure any skirts are short enough that they will stay out of the dancer’s face when upside down, and that they aren’t too voluminous. Your student’s balancing may be picture perfect, but not with her face covered in tulle!

For younger or more recreational dancers, it’s always nice to utilize a flashier costume to add to the excitement of the routine. For your more advanced dancers, it can be really lovely to keep the costuming simple and let their technique (and your choreography!) steal the show.

Today’s dance teachers are in a great position for selecting acro dance costumes because current industry trends are very streamlined and form fitting: this is partly due to the increasing popularity of acro dance and the needs of the acro dancer. The costumes you select should be to your own personal taste while also being forgiving to your dancers when they are upside down: always ask yourself if your costume choice will enhance, or hinder, your vision.

Keeping all of this in mind, sometimes you just need to go with your heart when selecting a costume for your acrobats, and if that means bringing back the full-length animal-print unitard, we know that your students will rock it!