Costumes transform us from our daily selves into the extraordinary world of the imagination.
In acrobatics, a costume is an outfit worn specifically for one or more performances. An acrobatic costume elevates the performer from mere mortal to a kind of superstar, accentuating their skills, style, look, and talent.
That’s what makes it so important to pick just the right costume. Of course, when it comes to costumes, it can be hard to know where to start.
How Do You Choose Clothes for Acrobatics?
Big shows like Cirque du Soleil have their own costume designers to create custom looks for each performer. But not all acrobats have this luxury, so they may need to plan a little more carefully for a successful show.
What works for one act or apparatus may not work at all for another. But a basic rule of thumb is to avoid wearing anything sharp, catching, or too slippery. Pick something that matches your style and your intention for the performance. But don’t overthink it.
Costumes are for the stage, and it takes quite a bit of practice to get there. That’s why clothes for acrobatic training classes are also necessary. There are many important factors to keep in mind for both training clothes and costumes.
What to Wear in Training Class
Your aim in class is to learn, so keep your clothes low-key and practical. Young children, especially little girls, usually like to “dress up” a little more for class. Generally speaking, most snug-fitting athletic wear should work just fine for most people. Here are a few training outfit ideas.
Below I’ve added a few links to the Amazon so that you can find them easier**
- The MdnMd Girls’ Leotard, with its fun, classic lace neckline and short sleeves, is just fancy enough to satisfy a feeling of dressing up without too many flashy embellishments.
No matter what color inspires your little one, this garment is sure to please. A standard leotard like this with just a touch of fun is a perfect component for a young person’s acrobatic outfit, whether they are training on the floor or in the air.
- Tights are important for keeping the legs protected from fabric burns, tumbling falls, and partner work, as well as for modesty in class. Wiwink Plus I found on Amazon here offers transition tights (meaning they can be worn footed or footless, depending on the activity) that come in a variety of shades.
- Thicker leggings are an option to wear over a leotard. This one can supply your little one with comfortable leggings that come in a variety of colorful options. Fun eye-catching designs are also available.
Leggings can also be worn under the leotard like tights, and they are ideal for colder weather.
- If your child does not prefer to wear a leotard, consider a tank top option to go with leggings such as the C9 Champion Girls’ Keyhole Tank. Leggings with a casual tank give off a less formal vibe that may appeal to older girls.
- The basic Capezio Leotard for adults is a wardrobe staple for many dancers and acrobats. With its high-quality design and construction, you can move freely while staying comfortable. Capezio is a leading name in dance clothing around the world.
- Just as with children, tights are also important for adults. This one is an ultra-soft tight, a top choice for keeping the legs protected, completing your rehearsal look, as well as giving a flattering silhouette.
- For leggings, Alo Yoga has a great Women’s High Waist Legging (go Amazon here) that is comfortable, practical, and flattering. Although the company refers to yoga in its name, there is a lot of crossover between Hatha Yoga and acrobatics. Alo is a top company for high-quality leggings.
- Athletic shirts such as the icyzone Workout Tank Tops for Women are the perfect choice to match a great pair of leggings like those described above. They come in a pack of three, giving you various colors to choose from depending on the day.
- Men can also wear a shirt and leggings or close-fitting sweat pants such as the WT02 Men’s Basic Jogger Fleece Pants. These are comfortable and allow just the right amount of movement while coming in an array of stylish colors. They may be made for joggers, but acrobats can take to them well.
- The Thai Fisherman’s Pants this one here can be a great choice for men or women who are looking for a looser, more freestyle fit. These trousers provide great comfort and style, although putting them on may take some getting used to. They are a wrap-style pant with a string closure and can be worn without a shirt if it’s appropriate.
These pants also come in different styles and colors. They actually work perfectly for a distinctive and memorable costume look, and they have been worn on prestigious stages by some of the world’s finest acrobats.
What Not to Wear (and Why)
- Exposed zippers, hook closures that may catch on something, velcro, sharp objects, or anything of this sort should never be worn for acrobatics. These types of items can catch on fabric apparatuses, or even cause injury to you or your acro partner if you have one.
- Spandex fabric tends to be too slippery for many acrobatic purposes, especially aerial silks, although it can work for some.
- Restrictive clothing should not be worn, as this will also restrict your movement.
- Anything you feel slightly uncomfortable in will become magnified while participating in acrobatics. You should always make sure to feel good in your acro clothes. You definitely don’t want to be thinking about what you’re wearing while you’re onstage.
Tips for Finding Your Best Acrobatic Costume
Generally speaking, the best acrobatic costumes are made of fabric with four-way-stretch, which allows you to move in all directions. Avoid dangling jewelry or protruding costume embellishments, as these can interfere with your work, particularly in aerial arts. Strapless outfits are bound to fail you.
Find something that really speaks to your character and to your heart. An impression of your costume is likely to stay in the minds of your audience. Many times, simple is best. This way, you can really focus on your movement and giving a good performance.
Always practice a few times in a new costume to make sure it will work for you.
TOP 6 Costume Ideas for Acrobatic Performance
This sparkly two-tone leotard from Kaylre is an ideal choice for a youth tumbling routine or aerial number. Its long sleeves provide warmth, along with modesty to put the spotlight on the performance. I’ll give it 5 stars.
The Yeahdor Girl’s Halter Gymnastics Leotard is made of stretchy material with a little more sass. Its cut-out halter style can accentuate the acrobat’s movements. The look could work well as the costume for a performance on spinning Lyra.
For a classic adult look, try this metallic high neck leotard from Speerise. Metallic fabric does an amazing job catching the lights in a stage performance, and you can’t help but shine in this costume.
Even a leotard with a basic cut can be show-stopping with a few embellishments. The Wingbind Sparkle Leotard adds just the right twinkle to the costume and comes in women’s and girls’ sizes.
For a whimsical look to accompany a duo acrobatic dance piece, check out this lyrical dress from Agoky. While this dress would not be suitable for most aerial arts, it could work well for a romantic, acrodance duo number.
In an aerial hoop act, you can choose to show a bit of midriff depending on your choreography. The Amourri Vintage Polka Dot Bikini is a wonderful choice for this. Its high contrast dotted red-black colors really set the tone for your character as you walk out on stage.
There may be a lot of special considerations for picking up an acrobatic costume, but when you are an independent performer, your costumes are a big part of your life.
Many acrobatic artists will tell you that they have become not just costume wearers but costume collectors. When you understand the basics of acrobatic costuming, you can let your imagination run free.