When you are learning and practicing dance, very often the only requirement is that you have comfortable clothes that won’t get in the way of your dancing. That all changes, however, if you are going to be performing in a dance recital or performance. Or even if you want to look your best when attending a dance social. In those situations, getting the perfect dance dress can be so important, and you will usually wear different styles of dresses depending on what sort of dance you will be performing. Read on for our guide to the best dresses for each style of dance for women and girls.

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Ballroom competition dresses

Getting the perfect dress for a ballroom competition or performance is key because the goal is for you to stand out as much as possible (in a good way!). Your dress also needs to perfectly show off your dance steps and movements. So it should be relatively form-fitting, at least around the top part, with the addition of some eye-catching details, such as a high slit, gemstones, and cut-outs.

You can split ballroom competition dresses into two main categories:

  • Smooth dances – e.g. foxtrot, waltz, quickstep
  • Latin dances – e.g. cha cha, rumba, salsa, as well as tango

These two different categories have slightly different competition dress conventions.

Smooth dancing ballroom competition dresses for women

A smooth dancing ballroom competition dress is usually long and tight at the top and torso but with a flowing skirt (often with the addition of crinoline or crinoline-like material to make it thicker). The skirt part of the dress needs to sway with you when you dance, and this will help to highlight your movements.

ZX Women’s Ballroom Dance Dress

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This is a sleek and sophisticated ballroom dance dress. It comes in two different versions: long-sleeved and short-sleeved. The short-sleeved version has a scooped neckline and short lace sleeves and comes in black or wine red. The long-sleeved version has long decorative laced sleeves and a triangle lace neckline. It comes in black, green, peacock blue, red, and wine red.

Both versions of the dress are made of nylon and milk silk and have a u-shaped backless cut-out near the back neckline. The skirt is an A-line swing skirt with some beautiful lace-filled slit cut-outs. This skirt will look amazing when you swing it!

You may need to wear some dance shorts and a sports bra with this dress as it doesn’t come with a leotard built-in.

Whitewed Short Sleeve Long Ballroom Dress

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If you want a voluminous skirt, this could well be the dress for you. The fabric skirt comes in black, blue, purple, red, and yellow and is covered in sequins. It is in a godet design which gives it extra flair, and it has mesh inserts to add volume. This skirt will sway beautifully!

The top part of the dress is tight and has a crew neck. It is in black for all versions and it features a sequined leaf-and-twig asymmetrical design that runs from the shoulder down to the opposite waist. These asymmetrical details can really help you to pop on the dance floor.

Nakokou Women’s Ballroom Dance Competition Dress

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This dress will look breathtaking on the dancefloor. It has a beautifully layered mesh skirt that will flair and swing as you dance. Its velvety bodice is both form-fitting and luxurious and it continues down into the skirt in little icicle shapes all the way around. All around the top part of the bodice, there is a gorgeous pattern of gemstones that are at both the front and the back. So you will stand out even from behind.

The neckline is an asymmetrical strapless design that will show your dance movements perfectly. The dress comes in black, blue, purple, red, and royal blue. The company provides a sizing chart to help you find the perfect size since it is measured in Asian sizes.

Yilinfeier Women’s Multi-colored Diamond-mounted Competition Standard Ballroom Dress

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The detailing on this ballroom dress is exquisite. It comes in blue, green, light blue, pink, red, rose, purple, white, and yellow and each one looks stunning. It has a simple high-neck collar with mounted gemstones. The chest and arms are made of gauze, with gemstones going from the bottom of the neck and down into the corset-style bodice.

There is an asymmetrical gauze wrap that helps to highlight your waist, and the gemstones run in parallel to this ending in the flowing gauze and milk silk skirt. A length of gauze around each wrist attaches to the skirt, which will add some extra drama and flair to your dancing.

Yumeinen Ballroom Dance Competition Dress

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And if dramatic is what you’re looking for, you can’t go wrong with this dress. It has drama in every inch of it. The bodice is long-sleeved with a crew neck and low back and comes in black, purple, green, lake blue, and red. But not all of it is in that color. The chest area opens into white with simply masses of gemstones, ending in a triangle shape at the white gauze long and floaty skirt.

Did we mention gemstones? Well, there are also gemstones in a flower design at each wrist, and along the neckline and waist at your back. There is a choker made in the color of the bodice with gemstones mounted on it, and there are sprinkles of gemstones everywhere else on the main part of the dress.

Against the color and the sparkle, the white of the skirt really pops and, as a nice touch, it is trimmed at the bottom in the same color as the bodice. There is also gauze at the wrists that attaches to the skirt. It is safe to say that every eye in the room will be on you when you wear this dress!

Smooth dancing ballroom dresses for girls

Ballroom dresses for girls don’t tend to be as long and flowing as those for women, but they do still need to have some element in the skirt that helps it to swing and flair to accentuate their dance movements.

Kid’s Ballroom Professional Dress

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This is a lovely ballroom competition dress that is perfect for any girl. It is both comfortable and perfect for showing off their dance moves. It has a high collar and the bodice and skirt are made of diamond velvet. The swing skirt has a three-dimensional fishtail edge that helps it to flair during dancing. There is a small spandex mesh cutout across the midsection and the long-sleeved arms are made of the same material with a finger hook to keep them in place.

The dress is a stealth zipper at the back and built-in underpants so your child can be both comfortable and confident.

Modern Ballroom Professional Dance Dress for Girls

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This is a lovely velvet and lace stitched dress with a fishbone-edged swing skirt. It comes in green or white and there is velvet detailing around the collar, back, and waist. The arms are long-sleeved with a mesh lace design and the lace continues across the velvet bodice and skirt. It also has underpants included.

Yumeiren Girls Competition Ballroom Dress

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This girl’s ballroom competition dress has a long and flowing layered gauze skirt. It has a lace design on the bodice and on its 3/4 length sleeves and a comfortable belt to cinch at the waist. It comes in black, lake blue, and red and is comfortable, breathable, and soft.

Jeath Kids Sleeveless Ballroom Dress

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This dress is a shorter dress with an asymmetrical cut to the tulle skirt. The bodice is sleeveless with an illusion sweetheart neckline and a double crisscross design across the back. There are eye-catching sequins across the top of the bodice and the dress comes in blue, lavender, mint green, and white.

Latin ballroom competition dresses for women

Latin dresses usually look quite different from standard ballroom dresses. They tend to be very short and with an uneven, handkerchief, or fringe hemline. This helps to make the skirt swing and sway when you make quick turns and prevents your legs from catching in the fabric when you perform high kicks. They can also be shorter at the front than in the back.

ZX Women’s V Back Rhinestone Deco Latin Ballroom Dress

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If you want a dress that will move with you as you dance, this is a great choice. It has multi-layered tassels from the top to the bottom to make it shimmy and sway with every movement. It has a U neck at the front and a V neck at the back and there is a beautiful rhinestone design across both.

The dress comes in black, fuchsia, red, and royal blue and has both a bra and underwear built-in so you can shake and shimmy to your heart’s content without having to worry about the skirt lifting up.

ZX Women’s Latin Ballroom Halter Fringe Dress

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This dress will definitely stand out. It has a halterneck design with fringe down the center and all across the front of the skirt. At the back, there is a backless design across the shoulders with a beautifully designed fluffy tulle tutu for the back of the skirt. The asymmetrical and eye-catching design of the skirt will look amazing when you dance.

The dress has a built-in bra and underwear and comes in fuchsia, red, and royal blue.

Nakokou Women’s Rhinestone Competition Backless Latin Ballroom Competition Dress

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The detail in this dress is stunning. It is asymmetrical throughout to really make it pop. It has a strapless design on one side of the dress with rhinestones along the edges of the bodice. There is a dramatic cutout that starts in the center of the diagram and ends at the top of one thigh, There is another cutout on the opposite waist and a rhinestone embedded belt to cinch in your waist.

The skirt is longer on one side than the other and the bodice is backless on one side but with a dramatic horizontal strap. It doesn’t come with underwear or a bra included, so you may need to wear dance shorts with it.

Faship Latin Dance Dress

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The color blocking on this dress is gorgeous. There are two versions: one with the main color in black and the detailing in red and one the opposite. They both have one short sleeve and one strap with a bow tie at the shoulder. There is a cinched waist and a skirt that lifts and flows beautifully. The entire dress is made of stretch fabric that is form-fitting and comfortable.

Nakokou Latin Dance Dress for Competition

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This is definitely an eye-catching competition dress. It has a black bodice and a blue skirt. The bodice is halter with a gemstone collar and gemstones all across the bodice. And at the back, there is a cutout in the center of your back.

The skirt has two layers. There is a tight layer underneath and then fabric draped in such a way that exposes your hips and outer thighs and that moves beautifully when you dance. Your hips are further accentuated by two gemstone chains across them at the top and there is a tassel in the front center to further accentuate your movements.

Nakakou Latin Sequin Tassel Competition Dress

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This is an elegant dress that looks almost like evening wear. It is in a figure-hugging black with pink gemstones around the top and a prominent large pattern of white gemstones around the asymmetrical neckline. There is a gemstone embedded strap on one side and the other side is short-sleeved. The skirt is made completely of tassels that are pink and shiny. It will really catch the light as it moves while you dance.

Latin ballroom dresses for girls

Happy Cherry Kids Latin Dress

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This is a sophisticated little dress for Latin dancing. The main part of the dress is black and there is a range of secondary colors. The skirt is three-dimensional with an irregular hem and has the secondary color as cutout sections all the way around. The secondary color is also present in the bow-tie belt, which can also be used as a decorative piece on the mid-back (and looks very eye-catching).

The fabric is stretchy, breathable, and wrinkle-resistant. The neckline is a crewcut and the dress is sleeveless. This will be comfortable to dance in but will also look great.

Happy Cherry Girls Sequin Dance Outfit

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Also from Happy Cherry, this is a Latin dance outfit that is going to really shine on the dancefloor or stage. It comes in dark blue, red, sky blue, or yellow and the front part of the bodice is entirely covered in sequins. At the back, it is secured with straps. The front part of the skirt is tassels that will really move when your child dances and the back part of the skirt is in a unique multi-layered tuxedo skirt design.

Not only that, but you get a lot of extras to elevate this dress into a full costume. It comes with underpants in a matching color, a head flower and a chest flower, a choker fabric necklace, and two decorative sleeve separates. This dress will catch the light and move beautifully and your child will really stand out.

Daydance Kids Latin Ballroom Dance Dress

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If you’re looking for something with a bit more understated elegance, this could be the perfect dress. It is a separate leotard and skirt and you can either have both in burgundy and black or mix-and-match with one part burgundy and one part black. The leotard has a one-shoulder design with a short sleeve on one side and a sleeve with intricate cutouts on the other side. The skirt is a ruffle fringe Latin skirt with built-in underpants. The bodysuit has a snap clasp at the crotch which makes going to the bathroom much easier! It is made from soft and stretchy spandex so will be comfortable even if your child is dancing for a long time.

Ballet costumes

For ballet class, you only need to wear a leotard and tights, and maybe a soft wraparound skirt. But for performances, you will often need to wear a tutu. These come in a variety of styles, including romantic, pancake, and platter, bell, and powder puff. They can be stiff or they can be gentle and flowing and they are often made out of many layers of tulle or stiffened tulle, but they can also be made of muslin, gauze, or nylon.

The tutu is attached to a basque and bodice which are form-fitting and these can be bought separately or the tutu can be part of the costumes. Tutus help to frame the dancer’s precise moves while also giving an impression of weightlessness and even flight.

Ballet costumes for women

Wendywu Women’s Professional Ballet Platter Tutu

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A platter tutu sticks out straight from your waist with a flat top. This is a pull-on platter tutu that is made of six layers of stiff tulle. It has built-in underwear underneath and comes in black, blue, red, white, and pink. The sizes run quite small so it’s a really good idea to check your measurements against the sizing chart. It comes with the tutu only so you would need a bodice to wear underneath.

Kai-Road Women’s Professional Tutu Costume

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This is a complete ballet costume with tutu and bodice included. The tutu is white and pull-on and is made of eight layers of hard cotton organdy and measures 35 inches when it is fully fluffed out. The bodice is decorated with gemstones and feathers down the center and looks gorgeous. They also send out hand bands, a head flower, and socks as a free gift!

This tutu costume also runs small, so you might want to consider getting a size up.

Acuss Women’s Sequined Turtleneck Ballet Tutu Dress

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This is a bodice with an attached tutu and it comes in black, white, purple, or blue. The bodice is a sleeveless velvet design with an illusion neckline and choker collar at the front and a keyhole at the back. The tutu is made from two mesh layers of tulle with glitter sequins attached.

This is another costume that could run small, so you may need to be careful with sizing.

Leo Women’s Standard 24″ Soft Tulle Juliet Tutu

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This is the tutu only. It’s in a long romantic style and comes in white, pink, or black. The tutu is made of three layers of tulle and has interior elastic to help keep your lines smooth but there are also two lines of grippers to help it stay completely secure.

Ballet costumes for girls

Baohulu Ballet Leotard Tutu Dress for Girls

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This tutu dress is really highly rated. As one reviewer put it, “It is the stuff that little girl’s dreams are made of”. And it’s easy to see why. It is a beautiful ballet tutu dress and it comes in seven different colors. It is made of cotton and lycra so fits well and is comfortable to wear. There are rhinestones around the collar and all over the top of the tutu so it really does sparkle. It has a scoop neck and ruffle sleeves to add to the fairy look.

The tutu is made of four layers of tulle and has built-in underwear. It has a lovely bow at the back to give it that extra bit of magic.

Stelle Girls Cute Tutu Dress

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This dress from Stelle is another highly reviewed tutu dress that comes in ballet pink, black, blue, and purple. It is soft and comfortable with a full front lining. The top is a vest with a racer back and the tutu is stiff and full (without being so full that it interferes with dancing) and is made of layers of tulle.

Oridoor Girl’s Skirted Ballet Dress Outfit

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This is a full ballet performance outfit. Along with the dress and attached tutu, you get decorative armbands and ballet tights. The tutu is made from three layers of mesh and the leotard bot it and the leotard are covered in gemstones. This would be a great dress for a performance and would really sparkle on stage.

Lyrical, contemporary, and modern dance dresses

While these dance styles are different, the style of dress is often very similar. Lyrical dance uses a mixture of ballet, jazz, and modern dance techniques, and the choreography is focused on moving with the lyrics and what they mean. Similarly, contemporary dance incorporates elements of ballet, jazz, and modern but its focus is more on improvisation and it is characterized by fluidity, sharp transitions between movements, and emotive storytelling. The oldest of the three, modern dance began as a way of making dance less formal than traditional ballet and uses elements from a wide range of dance styles, including ballet, folk, religious, and ethnic. The focus is on free expression and it can use non-traditional methods in its performances, such as speech and film.

There is a fair amount of overlap in these dance styles, although they have very different focuses. For all of them, however, the stripped-down nature of the dance and the idea of emotion and free expression lends themselves to more muted and simple dress styles than you would see in many other dance styles. The dresses tend to be in a single color and with a simple floaty skirt.

Lyrical, contemporary, and modern dance dresses for women

Odasdo Women’s Lyrical Dance Costume

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This is a simple and classic dress. It comes in black, red, royal blue, white, or wine red, and it is all in one solid color. The bodice has spaghetti straps, a pinched front, and a hidden back zipper. The skirt is a handkerchief double-layered chiffon skirt with a zigzag hemline to make it floaty and to accentuate your dance moves.

This dress isn’t a leotard and doesn’t come with underwear, so you will need to wear dance shorts underneath.

Yizyif Women’s Adult Mesh Overlay Ballet Contemporary Dress

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This dress is in a gorgeous color-blocked design. It comes in burgundy, navy blue, orange, or violet and the color blocking is achieved with different shades of the chosen color. It is a leotard dress with an interesting shoulder design. On one shoulder, there is a spaghetti strap and on the other, a vest strap. Another piece of fabric comes across the chest and the back is backless.

There is a layered mesh short skirt with a split that is light and floaty.

easyforever Women’s Lyrical Contemporary Dance Dress

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This dress is in solid muted colors, including black, burgundy, navy blue, and white. It is a leotard dress with underpants and bra included and the leotard is see-through mesh everywhere else. It has a round neck and long mesh sleeves.

The skirt really is the star of the show, however. It is attached only at the back, meaning that your dance movements and footwork will be clearly seen from the front, and it is a beautiful flowing maxi skirt that will make you look like you’re floating.

Odasdo Women’s Lyrical Dance Dress

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This dress comes in black, green, white, and wine red. It has a sequined sleeveless leotard with a heart-shaped bodice and an illusion mesh neckline. It has a little cut-out at the back. The skirt is made of long mesh and is attached at the waist. It is a single layer of mesh so your legs will stay clearly visible underneath it, which will help everyone to see your leg and footwork. There is also a slit at the side to further accentuate your movements.

Lyrical, contemporary, and modern dance dresses for girls

Zdhoor Girls Sequined Lyrical Dance Dress

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This dress comes in blue, navy blue, burgundy, ivory, or teal. It is a leotard with built-in shorts and the top part of the leotard is covered in sequins and has spaghetti straps. There is a long tulle drape that can be tied at one shoulder to give the dress an extra little detail.

The skirt is one layer of irregular cut lycra with a side split so will flow nicely when your child is dancing.

ranrann Girls Open Back High-Low Lyrical Dance Dress

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This dress comes in black, blue, pink, and white. It’s a leotard with a skirt attached and the leotard is made of polyester and spandex, so it is soft and comfortable to dance in. It has an illusion neckline made out of tulle and is sleeveless with an open back.

The skirt is one layer of tulle with a high-low hemline that will look beautiful and floaty when your daughter dances.

iiniim Girls Cutout Back Lyrical Dance Dress

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This is a beautiful dress that would look lovely for a performance. It is a leotard with a skirt attached at the waist. The leotard has an illusion neckline made with mesh and the body of it is covered in gorgeous silver shiny patterning that will really pop on the dancefloor or stage.

The skirt is a maxi skirt made out of a single layer of mesh so your child’s leg and footwork will still be visible underneath.

Flamenco dresses

Flamenco dance (also known as baile) is an expressive and high-energy form of dance with roots in Indian, Arabic, and Spanish dance styles. It is characterized by clapping (sometimes with castanets), percussive footwork, and intricate hand, arm, and body movements. One of the most recognizable elements of flamenco dancing is the dress.

The flamenco (or gypsy) dress came from humble origins, being worn by peasant women in Seville. The beautiful, colorful, intricate design soon caught the eye of the high-society ladies, however, and the popularity of the dress skyrocketed. Flamenco dresses tend to be long, with a marked neckline. They hug in tight at the waist but then open and flair out at the hip and down to the ankles. They have ruffles in the sleeves and the skirt and they are brightly colored, often with a polka dot design.

Flamenco dresses for women

Women’s Black and Red Layered Satin Long Skirt for Spanish Flamenco

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This comes with just the skirt, but a black leotard worn underneath would complete the look. The skirt is a full circle 14-yard skirt made of artificial satin and is perfect for flamenco dancing. This skirt will flair and swing dramatically while you pull off the characteristic flamenco movements. It is one layer, however, so you could layer a petticoat underneath to give it some extra bounce.

Z&X Women’s 6-tiered Long Swing Latin Flamenco Dance Dress

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If you don’t fancy the shiny satin look this skirt could be perfect for you. It again doesn’t come with a bodice so you would need to wear a leotard underneath, but the skirt is beautiful. It is a 360-degree large swing skirt that has two main layers. The inner layer is soft and comfortable against your body and the outer layer is lightweight and flowing with layer upon layer of color-blocked mesh. This skirt is made to look amazing when you move in it, and you will!

Flamenco dresses for girls

Forum Novelties Flamenco Girl’s Costume

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This is such a pretty dress. The main color is black but there are ruffles in gold and red at the sleeves and at the bottom of the skirt. The skirt is gathered and pinned with a rosette to give it extra layers and movements. It also comes with a matching red and gold rosette for your child’s hair.

Anuka Spanish Flamenco Dress for Girls/Kids (Made in Spain)

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This is another super pretty flamenco dress for girls. It comes in red or pink. The skirt has three ruffles giving it a lot of bounce and movement and the sleeves also have ruffles. There is a fringe design down the front of the bodice in white and the ruffles all have classic white polka dots.

Belly dance costumes

Belly dancing originated in the Middle East and is characterized by the incredible undulations the dancers perform with their stomachs and hips. It is another dance style with an instantly recognizable costume. Also known as a bedlah, the belly dance costume is usually in three parts: a fitted top or bra, a full-length skirt or harem pants, and around the hips a belt. The belt and the top are usually highly decorated with coins, beads, fringe, embroidery, etc.

The costume is designed to accentuate every element of belly dance. The belly is bare to show off the belly undulations and the hip belt with its decorations and coins shows off all of the hip movements that the dancers make. The coins also bring a percussive element to the hip movements.

Belly dance costumes for women

Oridoor Women’s Belly Dance Dress

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This costume comes in a wide range of colors so you should definitely be able to find one that suits you or your performance. It consists of three parts. The fitted bra is adorned with coins, embroidery, and sequins and will really catch the light when you move. The hip belt is also covered in the same decoration with enough coins to make a good sound. Below that, the skirt is maxi and made of layered chiffon with a front slit that will help to accentuate your movements even more.

Royal Smeela Belly Dance Costume Set

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This is a beautiful belly dance costume that comes in 11 different colors. The bra top is highly decorated with sequins, rhinestones, and beads in a gorgeous pattern that will really catch the light. The belt is made of beaded tassels and chiffon slices to really make it move with you and show off your skills. The belt is made of chiffon and is soft and flowing with a slit up the side and a ruffled hem. Every element of this costume will move well and sparkle in the light, which will help you to look your best while you are performing.

This belly dance costume doesn’t have coins attached so is perfect if you would prefer to not make any noise. It isn’t missing anything else by losing the coins because the movement is added back in with the addition of all of the tassels, beads, and chiffon. So even if you’re silent, you will still shine.

Geyoga 3 Piece Women’s Belly Dance Costume

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This is an Egyptian belly dance costume that is perfect for performances. It has a 3/4 length puffball sleeve chiffon top that is lightweight and breathable. It also has harem pants made of chiffon and mesh with a slit that pops open at the side when you pop your legs. These pants will look amazing when you move in them.

The belt is adorned with three rows of high-quality coins that make a deep and classy sound when you move. They are all hand-sewn so are unlikely to drop off.

Belly dance costume for girls

Girls Spanish Flamenco Belly Dance Dress

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This dress would be suitable for flamenco dancing or belly dancing. The skirt is a 360-degree red cake-tiered dance dress that can be lifted to 720 degrees. It is trimmed in gold. So works really well for flamenco dancing but also has enough movement for belly dancing.

The top is covered in coins so will make a lovely sound when your child moves and will also catch the light. No skin is shown but there is an illusion mesh around the waist to give the belly dance look without it actually being a bra top. The costume also comes with a matching headband.

The bottom line

Buying dresses and costumes can be such a fun part of dancing and it is really interesting to think about the purpose of the different design elements that are associated with each style. There are so many options out there for both women and girls that you are bound to find something that fits your or your child’s style and makes you feel confident when you dance.