The 2021 Dancewear Trends Forecast

A dance retailer’s guide to the latest trends in color, style, fabric and more

Dancer in black leotard from Ballet Rosa with gold metallic floral detail, holding gold fabric behind her
Dancer Fuki Takahashi wearing Ballet Rosa’s Thea leotard, with gold floral detail. Courtesy of Ballet Rosa

In this wildly unusual year for the dancewear industry, what key products, fashions and trends can dance retailers expect to see as they plan their purchases for the coming year? Dancewear makers discuss their top style inspirations for this year’s looks.

Bright Colors and Foil Prints

Dancers will want bright, cheerful colors that can be mixed and matched from head to toe, and they’ll also want foil prints. Danshuz customers loved a 2020 release of a graphic tie-front tank top with a “Dance, Dance, Dance” rainbow foil print, which led to the company developing more in that category this year. Ballet Rosa, on the other hand, released a limited-edition gold-foil leotard in December. The company expected to sell 100, and ended up selling 760. Guess what’s in its 2021 lineup? A gold-foil–embellished collection.

Train-at-Home and Safety Products

Dancer in sleeveless gray leotard with pink trim and black leggings balancing on blue foam roller
When at-home dance is the new normal, a foam roller kit, like this one from Gaynor Minden, comes in handy. Courtesy of Gaynor Minden

Gaynor Minden already offers a foam-roller kit and flexibility and resistance bands, but it will be releasing additional train-at-home products and will also introduce other products with environmentally friendly packaging and materials. Ballet Rosa expects to see continued sales growth for its Barre Guard, a patent-pending protective, zippered cover made from printed Meryl microfiber or stretch cotton, and it has created a line of matching face coverings for all of its 2021 leotards. 

Young dancer wearing pink mask, made by Bloch, Inc., with dancer images on it
Bloch, Inc.’s B-Safe masks for children and adults come in multiple colors and prints. Courtesy of Bloch, Inc.

In addition to Bloch, Inc.’s B-Safe masks, the company is focusing on versatile products for wherever dancers need to train. A new sneaker called Alcyone can be worn at home, in the studio or on the street; Bloch’s spin stickers will turn any shoe into a dance shoe; and a soon-to-be-released kneepad will offer multi-shock cushioning panels and a stretch construction.

Even More Activewear

Ballerina Briana Baldovinos models a rose print tank bra and capri leggings and a black halter-neck leotard in black.
DanzNmotion brand ambassador Briana Baldovinos in rose print sweetheart-neck cutaway tank bra and capri legging (left) and halter-neck corseted waist leotard (right). Courtesy of DanzNmotion by Danshuz

The activewear market outlook was good even before COVID hit. “With that consideration, Danshuz continued to build upon our activewear assortment,” says Michele Sparks, director of product development for DanzNmotion by Danshuz. “We put efforts into fabrics that have a luxe feel but also offer compression and performance qualities, and I’m also very excited that we will be finally launching a small group of seamless styles with body-contouring effects.”

Dancer in camp leggings and Pastry-brand butter boots in wheat color balanced over a high stool in a wide split.
Studio to street is stronger than ever. Comfort and style combine in this Pastry look, with butter boots in wheat. Courtesy of Pastry

Pastry will launch a capsule collection of activewear and accessories designed to go from the studio to the street. “I believe comfort will be a defining factor in purchasing decisions across all categories of dance moving forward,” marketing manager Christina J. Chalmers says. “After spending almost a year at home, dancers are wearing slides, slippers and activewear. I think shoes and apparel that are designed with comfort in mind will be popular choices post-pandemic.”

Increasing Inclusivity 

Brown pointe shoes from Bloch, Inc.
Bloch, Inc. will introduce three shades of brown pointe shoes in 2021. Courtesy of Bloch, Inc.

Bloch will be introducing three shades of brown pointe shoes in 2021. “It’s taken a while to put into place with all the product development delays we’ve faced, but we’ve worked closely with several dancers of color to make this happen and ensure we get these colors absolutely right,” says Cathy Radovan, COO of Bloch, Inc.

Gaynor Minden pointe shoes in Cappuccino, Espresso and Mocha satin.
When the Massachusetts factory where Gaynor Minden’s pointe shoes were made was forced to close, it took some time to find a new source for its pointe shoe satin—in all the right shades. Courtesy of Gaynor Minden

Gaynor Minden, which introduced a wider range of skintone shades for pointe shoes in 2016, faced a setback this year when its Massachusetts factory closed. It had to find a new source of satin—in all the right shades—and with COVID disruptions to the supply chain, this took a while. But the new satin, from Italy, is “even more beautiful and lustrous,” says Eliza Minden, head of design. A note to retailers, however: “The new satin does make the shoes fit slightly different. We’re urging retailers to check the fit.” 

At left, Lloyd Knight, a young black man, wears black knee-length pants and a black shirt with red patterns. His back is to the camera and he leans over in passe. At right, Jim Nowakowski wears short black shorts and a black t shirt with a chain pattern. His leg is extended high to the side, and he leans slightly away from it while reaching down, with palms up.
Men’s collection from Ballet Rosa: dancer Lloyd Knight in Alessio shirt in rojo (left) and Jim Nowakowski in style Omar in black. Courtesy of Ballet Rosa

Ballet Rosa not only added three additional skin tones to its dance belt offerings, it decided to create an entire fashion collection just for men this year. “We wanted our collection overall to have new colors, new technology and even a higher sense of energy and creativity,” CEO Luis Guimarães says. “The male dancer has been put on hold for years, so this year, we want them to feel as special as possible, and to be able to express themselves and be inspired by our creations to be the best they can.”  

Hannah Maria Hayes has an MA in dance education from New York University and has been writing for Dance Media publications since 2008.