Is it mandatory to wear a dance belt?

Male classical ballet dancers wear a dance belt for support and protection of their genitals when dancing. In this article I will talk about the key features you want to pay attention to before buying your next dance belt.

Wearing protective and supportive underwear is not a practice limited to classical ballet, martial artists, boxers, and many other male athletes wear similar support and protection underwear for their practice. Nothing new here.

You want to keep in mind that it serves not just as a protection from your partner during pas de deux, but also protection from yourself to be able to close into a tight 5th without worry. And this is probably why all male classical ballet dancers wear a dance belt and not all contemporary dancers. It is the demands of the ballet technique, rather than just the aesthetics of wearing tights, that makes it mandatory in ballet.

What are the different cuts and models?

There is a variety of models to cater for individual preferences and built.

Waist band thickness

As explained by Isaac P. Bowry, there are different waist band options for your dance belt, and you’ll choose depending on personal preferences and your costume.

For personal preferences, Isaac gives out his tip: if you usually wear your jeans high up, you’ll most likely like a large waist band, if you usually wear them low you’re more likely to prefer a thin waist band.

If your costume has a low waist: go for a thin waist band, high waist and you might need a thick waist band.

It’s always a good idea to have a couple of different models in your bag, and get used to different models and cuts so that you’re not uncomfortable on stage when you’re required to wear something different suddenly.

Back side cut

Every brand usually provides three basics cuts:

  • traditional thong cut, very thin backside cut that focusing on avoiding any visible panty line when you wear tights.

  • full seat cut, as some men don’t find a thong cut comfortable to wear, more and more brands are offering a full seat cut, similar to traditional underwear. Check out the seams and choose the size right to avoid any visible panty lines.

  • larger thong cut, some brands offer a product in-between. This is really a matter of personal preference here


Most brands use a sizing chart based on daily life clothing: XS, S, M, L, XL. Pay attention to their instructions as some might run small or large compared to your jeans size.


Another aspect that you want to check is the padding. Some models are more or less padded. Again it’s a matter of preference and personal built. Less padding is less covering. More padding will help creating a smooth aspect but can be uncomfortable to wear (think wearing nappies).

So some brands are now playing around with their cuts and seams instead of adding padding to create a smooth aspect. That’s probably the kind of model you want to look for, knowing that it will be a little more expansive that a simple waist band – triangle cut.

Which color of dance belt to choose?

Rule of thumb: match your dance belt with your skin color. But as we all know, dance-wear brands are a little behind and the nude color usually means “caucasian skin”… And there are usually three to four colors available: white, black, ‘nude’, chocolate. But as the dance-wear brands are catching up and more colors are made available, always go towards the color closest to your skin color. This will help your dance belt blend is seamlessly – again: no visible panty lines is the goal.

Black color, like a black t-shirt or leotard, is the basic that goes with anything – expect white.

White color is usually chosen only to wear under white tights. Make sure you have one handy and pristine for those occasions.

Pricing: should I buy the most expansive dance belt?

According to Isaac P. Bowry, among the regular dance-wear brands there’s no quality difference between the cheaper and more expensive models. They won’t fall apart because it’s less expansive. According to his experience, the difference in price is driven by the work behind the cut. So a simple waist band – triangle cut is less expansive than a more elaborate model with various seams to create additional support and aesthetic. So that’s where your money goes and it’s a good thing to know what to prioritise.

Care and handling of my dance belt

Follow the washing instructions is the rule here. But most can be washed in the washing machine with the rest of your dance-wear. Pay attention to the kind of detergent and softener you use to avoid any irritation and unwanted chafing.

Are there any other questions about dance belts that you’d like us to cover? Please send us a message.