by Tom Kilps
When I started taking dance lessons I was 12 years old. I enrolled in the jazz classes only, even though the studio offered ballet and tap classes. Taking a ballet class wasn’t too appealing to me at that time. When you are the only boy, it can be intimidating at first. I was taking classes only a few times per week for fun.
When I took the classes I wore a t-shirt, sweat pants, and jazz shoes. Underneath all of that, I wore regular underwear. At that time, my preferred underwear was boxers. I feel this is normal for boys at a young age to wear regular underwear while dancing. Wearing a dance belt wasn’t even thought about, nor did I even know of its existence. I had danced this way for a few more years with the lack of knowledge of proper dance attire. I eventually had ended up in a beginner ballet class just to get the basics. Even then, I wore my sweats with boxers. I had clearly been getting a bit more serious about learning about the different types of dance.
When I was 14, I was set up to join my first summer intensive. It happen to be a ballet summer program. So, I had to purchase my first pair of black tights and a dance belt. My mom took me to the local dancewear boutique. This is the kind of boutique when you step inside, you get hit with the smell of leather Capezio shoes and the sight of way too much pink. This was an interesting shopping experience, to say the least. Immediately upon arrival, my mom says to the sales clerk, “he needs tights and a dance belt.” Thanks mom for the embarrassment!
When I first saw what the dance belt looked like, I cried a little inside. “It’s a thong?!” I had no idea why it had to be a thong. I think I got a quick explanation from the sales clerk about not having underwear lines. If I recall, I wasn’t able to try the dance belt or tights on in the dressing room. You normally aren’t allowed to just put on a dance belt before you purchase it. It’s a sanitary thing. At 14, I was clearly a size small anyway, so there wasn’t an issue with guessing what size dance belt and tights I needed to wear.
I remember returning home after the “fun” shopping experience of buying thong and thinking, I should probably go to my room, lock the door, and try this horrible thing on. I tried it on and didn’t like it at all. I thought to myself, what guy would wear a thong?
I did eventually accept the fact I would have to wear this dance belt in my summer program classes. Oh, and for the record, I think I had bought more than one dance belt. You need more than one if you are taking classes every day.
Wearing a dance belt took some getting used to, and I got over it real quick. I must say, after the initial feeling of wearing a thong, you do get used to it and focus on other things, like the steps you are trying to perfect in ballet class. Wearing a dance belt is just something all boys in dance have to face eventually.