Sarah and I hosted an event this past summer at Dance New Amsterdam in NYC. The event was intended to open up a discussion about entrepreneurship in the dance industry. I had to capture the audiences attention in order for them to notice how many “holes” there are in the dance industry and how people like us could fill in the gaps by opening businesses that solve basic problems. I did this by using boysdancetoo as an example. Wearing my best outfit and shaking a bit with nerves I said, “Raise your hands if you know a really great men’s dancewear store.” ::crickets:: “No one?... Ok.. well that’s why we opened boysdancetoo. The Dance Store for Men…” Amazing. A room full of dancers and dance industry entrepreneurs could not think of one place off the top of their heads to find men’s dancewear. Amazing, but not shocking.
Did you know that in NYC you can find like 20 stores that sell luxury shaving products for men but you can’t find one good store that sells men’s dancewear? Ok ok, you can probably find cheap men’s tights, old men’s dance belts and maybe... just maybe... a men’s leotard. But come on! Where is all the men’s dancewear? And more importantly, where is all the good men’s dancewear? It took us over a year to find “all” of it. And by all I mean, all of the good men’s dancewear. There are other manufacturers that you don’t see on our site that sell men’s dancewear. But there are reasons you don’t see them on our site. They just aren’t good enough.
Our selection of men’s tights for example are there because we spent a long time finding all of the options for tights for men and then spent an even longer time vetting which options were the best. We ended up choosing men’s ballet tights from Mstevens (economical, popular, reliable) men’s ballet tights from Repetto (ridiculously well made, insanely comfortable, super durable) and men’s tights from MotionWear (colors!!!!!). Men’s biketards? Good luck with the other men’s dancewear makers. We found 3 that knock everyone else to the floor. The Wear Moi “tango” is out of this world. Men’s dancewear at its most masculine and most comfortable. It looks so good because they really, really, really thought of a male body when it came to this piece of dance wear. Motionwear saves the day again with colors for our men’s biketard selection. And then there is our specialty line from Linges Dancewear. Come on! No one makes men’s dancewear like this anywhere. The selection we have from this unique dancewear maker is fun, vibrant, and made in NYC. The designer really understands what a contemporary, fashion forward, male dancer wants in their dancewear. There are male dancers all over the world that go to class a million times a week and wear the same stuff over and over again. Many of them are auditioning and need something else besides their talent to make them stand out. Perhaps a men’s biketard with a turquoise top will do it. If everyone is wearing black ballet tights and a white shirt… I would imagine eyes would be on the guy wearing the special biketard. And what was everyone wearing to warm up in? Old sweatpants? Old sweatshirts? Or were you wearing the only acceptable leg warmers from the girly dance store around the corner? We knew that men’s dance warm ups were something that male dancers wanted. So we went to the best dance/knitwear designer there is and asked him to make an all men’s dance warm up line. And he did. So far we have sold out of our men’s dance legwarmers, men’s knit hoodies, and men’s knit ballet tights by KD Dance, 3 times. 3 times! The fact that they come in charcoal grey, black and navy really help the male dancer individualize too.
Speaking of individualization, that was something that we really thought about when searching for men’s dancewear. What will help the male dancer be unique in classes and rehearsals? Everything else in this world is made in a thousand different ways or customizable so we can all feel like what we are wearing or carrying expresses our unique style. Why not men’s dancewear? We aren’t where we want to be yet but we think that our selection of ballet tights, jazz pants, leotards, dance shirts, dance shorts, and dance warm ups, is a good start. We already have a blog about men’s dance pants but with the topic of individuality, I have to mention something about what we have. When I worked at a major dance store in the city, we were inundated with boys wanting tights and dance belts, but what I remember being the most frustrating item of men’s dancewear that these boys could never find was… men’s dance pants. Sweats just didn’t cut it for these boys. They needed something specific for dance class. They especially wanted pants that looked more like a trouser. So it was super gratifying to find the Wear Moi Jazz pants. They fit just like awesome wide leg trousers but are obviously made for male dancers. They are just so perfect. We added the traditional jazz pants made by Motionwear; one flared and one straight leg. They are your staple men’s dance pants. Then, and most importantly, when it comes to being unique… we found men’s ballet pants. Yes ballet pants. They are such an amazing addition to our men’s dancewear selection and oh so perfect for the male ballet dancer. They are super luxurious and they fit in just a way that they give the same esthetic as tights (when it comes to seeing lines) but act, move and look like pants. These are a “must have” for serious male ballet dancers.
We are approaching our first year open here at BOYSDANCETOO and we are so proud to have solved a major problem in the dance world by simply opening a store that sells dance clothes for men. As much as it pleases us to hear stories about male dancers being asked by other male dancers “where did you get that?!” we will be even more happy when everyone just knows… Oh they must have gotten that leotard, those ballet tights, those jazz pants, those shorts, that shirt, that bag, that unitard, that dance belt… at BOYSDANCETOO. It will happen sooner than later. We ARE the dance store for men. We WILL become the most popular place to buy men’s and boys' dancewear in the world.