So what are these hip alignment belts that the ballerinas are wearing?
Hip alignment belts are traditionally worn over a leotard to assess correct hip alignment while dancing, but for most dancers, they are just aesthetically appealing.
I LOVE wearing belts, as I like to accentuate my long legs by pulling the bottom of my leotard close to or over my hip bones. Most leotards, especially Yumikos, look more like a pair of shorts on the bottom, which I think really shortens limbs. So belts help to keep my leotard up high and in place! Belts also break up your torso. Depending on your body type, you may or may not like wearing belts (short torso vs. long torso).
Belts can also be worn differently. For instance, some of the girls at my studio like to wear their belts around their hip bones, but I prefer to wear it around my waist, where it naturally stays.
A store bought belt looks very professional and neat. Even in certain ballets, like Balanchine’s Agon, the costume includes a black belt! (Pictured below). Belts are pretty cheap ($3.95 at Discount Dance) and are available in different widths and colors, based on your preference. Wearing a colored belt over a black leotard can be very cute!
If you don’t want to buy a belt, an easy solution to make your own is recycling an old pair of ballet tights (either pink or black looks nice depending on your leotard). All you have to do is cut the waistband of the tights off with a sharp pair of scissors. This kind of belt is especially comfy because it is looser, and it stays in place well. Even if no one at your studio wears belts, try it out! My friend went to the Boston summer intensive and said that after wearing her homemade belt to class, a ton of other girls started to as well. Be a trendsetter!
Note: I like to take my belt off for partnering classes, as it tends to slide around while turning. See what works for you.