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Leotards are tight suits most commonly made of cotton or lycra. They are very tight to the body, allowing the most possible freedom of movement, and a “clean look” improving the dancers line and aesthetics, if well worn. At a first look, they are quite similar to women’s swimwear.

There are male and female leotards, although it is more commonly used by women. Many men tend to prefer a t-shirt, although some schools and studio’s requires leotards for a cleaner profile.

A leotard is either full-bottomed, or with a thong back, the full-bottomed one being far more widespread. If it is a female leotards, it is often reinforced with a second layer around the bust, to provide support and to prevent the breasts from showing through the material.

Other than that, they come in all shapes and pattern imaginable, specially the female ones. You know, girls, they always want to get some new clothing, right.. So also ballerinas.

More on leotards on Wikipedia

Read more about the equipment used by dancers in their everyday life in our column Tools of the Trade: Ballet