Feel the Holiday Spirit with a Little Extra Sparkle

As the holiday season winds down, there is still a festive feeling in the air, and on dance floors everywhere. Late Christmas celebrations and New Years’ Eve parties are upon us, and everything looks a little more lively than usual. The wardrobe choices of most have followed suit, no doubt; after all, you don’t want to look drab and plain-jane at this time of year, no matter where you step out for the evening. The tree is aglow, sparkling, twinkling, and shimmering – shouldn’t you be?

Now, that isn’t to say that you should look like a Christmas tree (garlands are not accessories). It just means that this is the time of year to add a little shine and sparkle to your wardrobe, especially for those last few holiday parties.

Pictured above: Rhinestone Spagetti Halter Dress (left), Metallic Mini Dress (right).

Pictured above: Rhinestone Spagetti Halter Dress (left), Metallic Mini Dress (right).

Adding metallic pieces is a great way to do this. For example, slipping on this metallic mini-dress (with say, black tights if you need to keep warm this winter) is a good choice. Accessorize with silver or gold shoes, and an evening bag in shades of metallic, or black to match your tights. Dangling earrings that shimmer can complete the look. If you’re looking for jewel tones – which look great on everyone – this sequined halter dress in purple can best be accessorized with matching purple tones and gold jewelry pieces.

There is also the option of going for more subtle details of metallic shine. For example, a dress with sequined vertical stripes can streamline your figure. This sequined bow skirt has a glittering bow at the top, and pants with a sequined waistband or sparkling slits are also more understated options.

Adding shine around the neckline, as seen here and herelends itself to shimmering eye shadows and makeup highlights. To do that and show off defined shoulders, a halter top is the perfect choice.

And for an accessory that really stands out dramatically, a glittering, sequined bra peeking out beneath a low-cut or slightly open top adds a sexy, more dramatic element of surprise. Keep the glittering, fun, and flirty mystique going with a smoky eye, using black shadows and shimmery accents beneath the brow bone and on the inner corners of the eye.

These tips can apply year-round, whenever you want to mix metallics and shimmer into your wardrobe. But at this time of year, it’s good to keep holiday colors in mind, adding bright reds, greens, and snow whites whenever possible. Remember not to over-do anything, especially when mixing metallic tones, which has to be done carefully. Stay color-coordinated, always adding other metallic elements like a fabulous pair of earrings. Wear what makes you feel comfortable to avoid tugging, pulling, or adjusting anything all night, and go for classy, simple silhouettes. Your aim is to stand out with a little extra sparkle this season, and from there you can – literally and figuratively – shine on.

At the Ohio Star Ball (part 2): Top Dancers Discuss Social Dance Wear

Top competitive dancers spend plenty of time practicing, but with all that talent, we know that, whether in the studio or at the club, they must get out to social dance from time to time! As the saying goes, “if you’ve got it, flaunt it.” But, when flaunting it, what’s important to these experienced performers in social dancewear?  I asked them at this year’s Ohio Star Ball.

Jonathan Roberts of Dancing w/ the Stars, with partner Valentina Kostenko, competing at Ohio Star Ball 2008. The two are this year's World Professional American Smooth Champions.

Jonathan Roberts of Dancing w/ the Stars, with partner Valentina Kostenko, competing at Ohio Star Ball 2008. The two are this year

OSB Professional American Rhythm Finalist Karen Hauer cited comfort, as she did when asked about practice wear, but it’s more than that: “While I’m social dancing, again feeling comfortable, but at the same time feeling sleek and feeling sexy,” she snapped her fingers, “I can get the attention right away.” And she stressed the desire for a smooth, fitted look once again: “A woman’s silhouette is important to me. I think that a woman’s body is so sensual, and if she knows how to show it off, why not?”

For social dancewear that shows off your silhouette and gets you the attention right away, try a style or two from our great selection of salsa dresses, with 6% – 8% stretch, and an attractive, feminine fit.

Emily Takhatarov, World Teen Pro-Am Latin Champion, describes her ideal social dancewear with the words, “comfortable, beautiful, sexy.” Michelle Andronov, World Pro-Am Youth Latin Champion, described it as: “comfortable, tight so you can see more action in your body, and… more feminine.” 

The 2008 World Pro-Am International Ten Dance Champion Tina Bletnitsky, said “When I’m social dancing, I would prefer things that are shorter, flowy, something sexy, that kinda has a salsa look to it.” She mentioned an interest in “flowy tops,” as in those that skim the body and move with it, and added: “I like short sleeves. I don’t like to feel confined in my shirts.”

I also spoke to Juliya Zavadska and her partner Sharone Levit, International Latin Pro Rising Star Finalists (and world competitors). On women, Sharone prefers to see “nothing crazy, not too tight, leave a little for the imagination.” But, he took a moment to clarify: “What kinda women are we talking about here?”

“Beautiful women like your partner here,” I suggested.

“On her? Tight.” He later joked, “She’s comfortable in five-inch heels.”

He said that her ideal dancewear is “sexy, nice silhouette, nice lines, unique… comfortable…” “Unique,” he stressed again, “it’s very important to both of us [to be] unique.”

Professional Latin Finalists take the floor at OSB 2008.

Professional Latin Finalists take the floor at OSB 2008.

Shoes are also part of the equation. They have to combine form and function, in a color that works well with your ensemble, and with the right heel height. Rising Star Latin Finalist Yuliya Zubovay said that she had recently discovered the more important qualities to her in dance shoes.

Rather than going with the crowd, wearing shoes that are too tight or too high, she looks for the right shoes for her feet based on size and feel. “They have to be very comfortable and they shouldn’t be too tight,” she said. “[And] something else I’ve discovered, it doesn’t matter how high is the heel. I have small feet, and for a while I was wearing three and a half inch heels. Now I wear a two and a half inch heel.”

When looking for shoes that are comfortable, don’t require much breaking in, and come in the right heel size for you, consider Very Fine Dance Shoes, sold at our website. The brand is very popular for social dancing, and offers a variety of strap styles and heel heights so you can find what is most comfortable for you.

 When social dancing, you want to feel comfortable, but at the same time have that edge of sensuality, accessorized for polish. Your goal is to dance with smooth finesse and express yourself. But of course, in the same way that every step asserts your personality, your social dance wardrobe should also emulate who you are.

 It’s all about confidence. If you’re not comfortable or feeling good about your appearance, you won’t dance your best. The higher your confidence when you step on the floor, the better the night will be. At e.K. Clothing, we hope you will find something that doesn’t break the bank, fits comfortably, and still allows you to confidently express yourself.

At the Ohio Star Ball: Top Dancers on Practice Wear

It’s the créme de la crème for American ballroom dancers. To many, ‘Ohio’ is ‘the real national championships,’ where dancers at all ages and levels, and from all over the world, come to compete for six days every November. What began as a one-day event 31 years ago is now The Ohio Star Ball, the nation’s largest ballroom dance competition, an enormous event that fills the Greater Columbus Convention Center and hosts thousands of competitive entries in American Smooth and Rhythm and International Standard and Latin divisions.

There are 70 judges, three chairmen, three MCs, 7 scrutineers, 2 DJs, 9 Deck Captains, and a 300+ page program, all coordinating competitive heats that run on a meticulous time schedule. OSB hosts the U.S. National Collegiate Championships, with competitors from 47 different colleges and universities, and the World *Pro/Am Championships in all four ballroom styles, as the largest Pro/Am competition in the world today. When you aren’t watching the competition, visit one of the dance camps with top coaches and industry professionals. Or enjoy the shopping – over 40 vendors of costumes, shoes, music, and other tricks-of-the-trade items fill the second floor. 

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it’s ‘The Big One.’

Top dancers come to the Ohio Star Ball for a friendly and festive atmosphere, a week of great performances, and fierce competition. So, what do they prefer in practice wear? I asked them.

This year’s 2008 World Pro-Am International Ten Dance Champion was Tina Bletnitsky (with partner Nikolay Czarnecki). To win such a prestigious title, one must master the five International Standard styles, and also the five International Latin styles. This requires hours of practice, so this ten-dance competitor must know what she’s talking about when she says: “In practice wear, I think it’s really important for it to feel comfortable, so it’s fitted on your body, it’s not interfering with your practice choreography.” She also prefers “sheer skirts for standard, sheer so you can see your footwork and your legs.” World Pro-Am Youth Latin Champion Michelle Andronov similarly said: “I like to practice wearing dance pants or capris because you can see your footwork.”

Looking for sheer? we would suggest our Diagonal Sheer Striped Pant or our Sheer Striped Gaucho Pants.

Looking for pants and Capri pant styles? Check out the Classic Flare Pant, or the Slit Cuff Capri Pant, made with stretch for ideal comfort and fit.

Emily Takhatarov, World Pro-Am Teen Latin Champion, said she needs “something that stretches, that doesn’t ride up.” And Karen Hauer, Professional American Rhythm Finalist with partner/husband Matt Hauer, has the body to wear just about anything, so it’s no surprise that in addition to “stretch,” she likes a fitted look. “I like tight to the body, everything fit to the body. I like seeing the silhouette of my body,” she said.

Splitshot on Ballroom Floor

Pictured above: Pro Rhythm finalists Matt & Karen Hauer (left), Professional Rising Star Latin Finalists Yuliya Zubovay and Andrei Svirydzendka (right).

Yuliya Zubovay, a Professional **Rising Star Latin Finalist with her partner Andrei Svirydzenka, concurred: “I would say black, and I like to practice in pants.” And Juliya Zavadska, also a Professional Rising Star Finalist (with partner Sharone Levit), added: “It’s really important for me, something that will show me, my personality.”

They all have their preferences on style and fit, but almost all of these dancers said “comfortable” first, when asked what was important in practice wear. At e.K. Clothing, we use fabrics with 6% – 8% stretch, for a comfortable and attractive fit. Check out our affordable variety of practice styles at http://www.ekclothing.com, where you’re sure to find something comfortable and suited to your style personality.

* Pro/Am is an abbreviation for Professional/Amateur, as in students (the amateurs) competing with their teachers (the professionals).
** Rising Star is a division for up-and-coming professional competitors.
-Photo of Zubovay/Svirydzenka by Tony Eng/DecaDance Photography

Coming next week: What do top dancers prefer in social dance wear?


At e.K. Clothing, we are dedicated to offering the latest in quality Latin dance apparel and clubwear that is both fashionable and affordable. For Salsa, Jazz, Swing, Tango, Flamenco and Ballroom dancers alike, we carry a variety of dresses, skirts, pants, tops, shoes and accessories at great prices, and pride ourselves on superb customer service.

However, there are also hot happenings going on behind the scenes of our online store. What sets us apart from many online resellers is that we make many of the styles ourselves, and we have an actual brick and mortar store in Lomita, CA, where we are always busy. When we aren’t catering to you, our valuable and stylish customers, we are fabulously outfitting dance groups/teams and television shows, talking to social dancers, performers, teachers, and competitive champions alike, and paying attention to trends in dancewear. With so much to share, we think it’s time you were in-the-know. So, without further ado: 

Welcome to the e.K Clothing Blog! This is meant to be an informative and entertaining place where you can find dancewear and costume advice, stay up-to-date on what’s new, and get an inside look behind the scenes of our exciting projects. It’s part informal press page, part style guide, and sure to be popular with dancing style mavens everywhere.

Check back for updates, feel free to comment, and as always, be comfortable, confident, and fabulous when you’re on the dance floor.

–Nicole (e.K.C. President/Owner) & Roxie (e.K.C. Blogger)

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