Everyone is aware of how glamorous dance sport can be. The beautiful dresses we get to see in shows and competitions is proof that competitive ballroom dancing is an alluring form of art. There’s a reason why every Latin dance uses its own style of dresses and that is to accentuate the dance movements and showcase the skill of the dancers themselves.
With so many dress styles to choose from, picking the right one may feel like a confusing task. In this article, we’ve put together different types of dresses that suit each of the five Latin dances to help you make an informed decision.
Cha-cha is a sexy dance that entails fun and flirty movements. You want your outfit to match the dance’s provocative nature which can be achieved using fringe. Fringe is perfect for highlighting your movement as they work very well with the fast and dynamic actions that Cha-cha has to offer.
There is a wide variety of fringe types like beaded fringes, Latin fringe, and sequin fringe. Choose one that best matches your personality and partner with a separate skirt and top to complete your sultry look.
Samba is all about voluptuous and bouncy movements which make the dance a spectacle to watch. The key to a great Samba outfit is by wearing the correct style of dress with materials that help emphasize that bouncing action. Latin fringe dresses coupled with sequin and rhinestone accents work well together in samba dance costumes to emphasize the dance performance.
Color, sparkle, and glitter are your friends in samba dance, which is white you often see dance costumes in vibrant colors such as neon green or yellow that are accentuated with sequin, rhinestone crystals, and fringe.
If your dance routine allows for it, adding feathers is always a timeless classic for samba, whether is be a feather headdress, backpack, or feather belt. Adding these accessories for the show or even as an entry or exit piece can make you really stand out and memorable to the crowd.
Rumba is a more sensual dance that features flowing movements. Usually, the dance features slow movements followed by a short, but precise, lively burst of action such as a spin or turn. The dance exudes a feeling of daydreaming and romanticism into its movements to create feelings of sensuality. It’s for this reason that you want your outfit to reveal a bit of skin in a rather delicate fashion. Rumba movements are fluid and are characterized by the classic figure-8 move of the hips. Look for a dress with skin-tight materials like silk to highlight your curves and accentuate your body movements.
AB Swarovski stones capture stage lighting in a spectacular way which is perfect for adding even more dimension to your movements. Partner that with a flowing and lite silk dress and you’ll be lighting up the atmosphere in no time!
Paso Doble encompasses the full Spanish passion. It’s the dance of the flamenco, the cape, and the matador. You want to bring the audience to this mindset by incorporating a few elements of Spanish culture into your outfit. How do you achieve this? By adding flowers, polka dots, long skirts, heavy ornaments, and epaulettes to your dress.
You’ll notice that many Paso Doble dancers use the color red as the base of their outfits because it captures the sound, movement, and drama of the entire dance. Like a matador and the bull, Paso Doble is an aggressive dance that features passion and fierceness. A traditional Paso Doble costume includes a full red skirt that represents the matador's cape. Pick up a plain bolero jacket and embellish that with decorative trim and rhinestones to capture that Spanish appearance. In this couple dance red, black, and gold are often used to capture the feeling of the matador and the bull.
Picking the right dress for Jive can be quite tricky considering the dance is derived from the jitterbug, a swing dance that started in the 1930s. Usually, people associate jive music with the later decades like the 1940s or 50s as the fashion trends were more in line with the dance compared to those in the 30s.
Perhaps the most accurate way to dress for jive is to borrow from the cabaret/burlesque style. This means using short skirts, fringes, gloves, and beads to blend the movements with the upbeat and lively style of music that Jive uses. If your performance is for jive dance only, then you have options in your costuming style. You can go retro and dress like a sailor with the lady in a swing dress, or go more contemporary with a set of Latin fringe pants and top.
Why it’s important to pick the right dress for Latin dances
Aside from rhythm and technique, picking the right dress is crucial when performing a ballroom dance number. This is because your costume will either make or break the style of the entire dance. The last thing you want to do is to pair impeccable technique with inappropriate dress.
You invest a lot of time and effort in mastering every step of the dance and it’s an absolute must that you do the same to your ballroom dance costumes. While you may get the technique right wearing the right dress will ensure that your dance goes from technically admirable to a work of art. Keep in mind that ballroom outfits aren’t chosen based on aesthetic appeal only.
There’s strategic thinking involved in how the colors, materials, and fitting work together to highlight the movements of the particular dance you’re going to perform. Hopefully, with this guide, you can get a better idea of what type of dress to wear for each style of Latin dance.