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Dance influences fashion, and fashion influences dance. As dance changes with time, so too does the attire worn by those expressing themselves through rhythm and movement.

From swing to mambo, from cha cha to popping, disco to salsa and electro to moonwalk, dance trends come to represent the period in which they became popular. There are a huge number of recognized styles that underpin the practiced methods of dance and here are some of the main ones.


Ballet dates back to the 15th Century and emerged from the Italian Renaissance before further becoming popular in France. Ballet is highly technical and has developed into a fine art all of its own.

Part of a concert dance, the performance is choreographed to classical music and forms part of the “ballet” performance itself. Ballet has three basic styles – classical, neoclassical and contemporary.

The clothing worn for a ballet traditionally consists of a tutu, a dazzling dress, tunics, masks, tights and pointed shoes designed to allow points and turns to be made with ease. The ballerina’s costume brings feminine beauty and grace to the stage combined with masculine strength and freedom of movement.

Ballroom dancing

Ballroom is commonly used as a shorthand for a variety of partner dances. The term originated at the end of the sixteenth century in France. Ballroom today has evolved into two main genres – International and American styles.

Popular dances within these categories include the waltz, the tango and foxtrot, and the pasodoble, bolero and samba. Ballroom has grown into a popular form of competitive dance with competitions held all over the world which have surged in popularity in recent years with glitzy televised contests featuring celebrities and professional dancers.

Traditionally, ballroom costumes for female participants have featured glamorous dresses. Men tend to dress formally with tailcoats, waistcoats and white bowties most common.

Tap dancing

Tap dance is characterised by the creation of a percussion-like rhythm created using tap shoes striking on the floor in accordance with the music.

Often performed as part of musical theatre, tap dancing focuses on choreographed formations, often with more than one tap dancer taking to the stage at once. Tap dancing is influenced by a range of dance styles including flamenco and classical with broadway themes or more casual rhythm and jazz aspects.

The shoes are all important in tap dancing with performers often adding metal plates to soles to accentuate the sound. Top hat and tails are common with a chorus line look achieved.

Contemporary dance

Particularly popular in the US and Europe, contemporary dance developed during the mid-twentieth century, drawing on classical, ballet and jazz dance styles with modern artistic influences.

Contemporary dance is expressive and fluid with a rawness that doesn’t follow any fixed rules but also combines this with the discipline, control and poise of more traditional dance styles.

Loose-fitting clothing is common as are bare feet. The rest of the outfit for contemporary dance depends entirely on the story being told, the chosen theme, the setting and the expression, tastes and ‘look’ that the dancers and their choreographers are seeking to achieve.

Modern dance styles

The trend for rock and roll, rock, disco, punk and rave music throughout the latter half of the 20th Century into the new millennium brought about the development of many fresh dance styles.

House music and House dance were borne out of the underground clubs of New York and Chicago. Built on a myriad of influences including jazz, Latin, soul, funk and R&B, House dance is all about freedom, improvisation, and feeling the beat.

Hip-hop evolved from a music style originating in the 1970s and found great popularity in the United States, France and the United Kingdom. Hip-hop has had a huge influence on street fashion

Breakdance is one of the most athletic dances there is, having emerged in the 1970s and 80s in New York’s Bronx. Usually danced solo, breakdance requires huge talent to perform choreographed or freeform dance coupled with athletic movements to soul, breakbeat, hip-hop and funk music.

Fashion and dance

While may be certain conventions associated with specific genres of dance, sometimes quite elaborate and often instantly recognisable, fashion will always play a crucial role in how dancers express themselves.

But above all, what is worn on whatever stage is chosen to perform the dance, above all what matters is the emotion that the participants hope to convey and their comfort level and need for freedom to express themselves. And that ‘look’ can be transferred into everyday and street fashion in whichever way you choose.

Dance movements will defenitely help you perform better on the podium on Lady Popular Fashion Arena

Image by anncapictures via Pixabay