Whether you’re psyching yourself up for your first lesson, hitting up the local dance hall, or making your checklist for an upcoming competition, bringing the appropriate ballroom dancewear is essential. After all, you don’t want to be the only one in a business suit, do you? Or the only one who forgot to bring a towel?

1. Dance Shoes!
Anyone planning on taking lessons longer than a couple of weeks definitely needs to invest in this ballroom dancewear. Dance shoes are heeled, with suede leather soles, allowing you to make turns without sticking to the floor and wrenching your knee. Shoes for smooth/standard have a lower heel (1-2”) and a closed toe. Shoes for Latin/rhythm dancing have a higher heel (2-3”) and an open toe. Men’s heels are shorter than women’s.

2. Comfortable, breathable clothing
No different from any workout, your ballroom dancewear should be light, and allow unrestricted movement without catching on anything. While you can dress in yoga pants and a tee shirt for a private lesson, you might want something a bit more smart or business casual when in a group class, or out on the town.

3. Deodorant and breath fresheners
An absolute must – but shower and brush your teeth before you go dancing – would you want to dance closely to someone who smelled bad?

4. Water bottle
Don’t be fooled – you can work up quite a sweat in a class, even more so at a Latin club. If you don’t want to drink out of a bathroom tap or pay the exorbitant rates charged by club management, smuggle in a bottle hidden in the rest of your ballroom dancewear.

5. A snack
If you’re like me, prolonged physical activity causes you tto get major food cravings. In my case, I actually get dizziness and muscle weakness if I ignore this! For an immediate energy boost, bring something with natural sugars, like fruit in a ziplock bag.

6. A Towel
See number 3: Unless you’re just as bad, a sweaty dance partner is NOT a tempting prospect. Stick it in your bag during dances, or just stuff half of it into the back of your pants pocket.

‘Hang on’ you say, ‘there’s WAY more stuff I bring when I dance!’ And that’s fine too; these are the bare essentials for ballroom dancewear you would take to any event.