Dress Hints for SCD (in Frankfurt)
For the Feet
The best footwear for all occasions, including balls, informal socials, or our weekly dance evenings, are soft shoes with light, flexible leather soles, as worn for gymnastics – no hard-sole dancing shoes, street shoes, or trainers with dark soles (which are disallowed in the school gymnasium). We strongly recommend against rubber soles on account of the danger of injury they imply – they tend to be too »sticky«, and especially with less secure dancers, Achilles tendon or muscle fibre problems up to and including ruptures may happen. (Experienced Scottish dancers sometimes like to have rubber-soled gym shoes in their bags, for those floors where nothing else works, but for the Herderschule we would advise to keep them away.)
Gymnastics shoes are easily available at reasonable cost in sports and/or shoe outlets (in Frankfurt, the Hauptwache area should offer several of those). Just watch out for that leather sole instead of the more usual rubber! Ballet shoes (available for ladies as well as gentlemen) are also not expensive. With these, many ladies like to go for the split-sole versions, which support more elegant foot positions. More stylish, of course, are »ghillies«, the original Scottis dance shoes with the crossed laces along the foot, which are also more conveniently adjusted. Unfortunately, ghillies are comparatively expensive (from 30-35 Euro, with no upper bound) and must be ordered from the UK. We shall be happy to recommend outlets, and every so often we also make group orders, which will be announced in class. – For (first-time) self-orderers: It is better to get the shoes a bit smaller instead of exactly fitting, as many tend to »expand« quickly during use. This also depends on the manufacturer and the materials used.
Ghillies are certainly the footwear of choice for gentlemen. Many ladies also enjoy wearing them, but others find ballet pumps more comfortable and/or fetching. The purveyors of ghillies usually carry those, too, but opinions may differ concerning particular styles. Experienced lady dancers will be happy to elucidate this further! Possibly the local ballet shop will also be able to offer something adequate for »her«.
The third option – especially for people who contend with foot problems and cannot wear heel-less shoes for longer periods of time – are the »jazz shoes« available in ballet shops. These have a stiffer sole with a very low heel but are still flexible enough for SCD.
On Tuesday nights, comfortable clothes are most important. If available, skirts and kilts are of course very much appreciated. A skirt should be wide enough for extended steps and no longer than mid-calf so as to allow corrections to footwork and reduce the danger of injury. – Trousers are feasible but more experienced dancers tend to avoid them, since skirts are much more comfortable (for transpiration-inducing activities like SCD). If it must be trousers, we recommend, for both ladies and gentlemen, loose-fitting, comfortable ones that should not hang down over one's feet (the microclimate in tight jeans isn't really agreeable, and very wide and long bell-bottomed trousers may be stylish, but increase the danger of tripping and do not allow the teacher to peek at one's footwork). Since the hall is unfortunately not always well-tempered (stuffy and hot in summer, and in winter either too hot, or too cold and draughty), you should prepare for different temperatures (cardigan/sweater for breaks, possibly leg-warmers in winter).
For our ball, we recommend to ladies a »more formal« outfit including a dress or skirt. Attire at our ball (others may be less formal – or more so) ranges from »proper« ball gowns to summer dresses and »dirndl« style outfits to a skirt and blouse, with hem lines ranging from (nearly) floor-length to mini. Here, too, something warm for the shoulders during breaks may be advisable in spite of the (occasionally very warm spring time). – »White with sash« is definitely not mandatory; feel free to go for it, but not every lady really finds herself attractive in this outfit and should be invited to put on something more advantageous. Neither are we fussy about whether the sash is pinned to the left shoulder or the right.
Men usually wear the kilt – here, the spectrum ranges from »formal dress« (»Bonnie Prince Charlie« jacket with evening shirt and fur sporran) from white shirs with (bow or normal) tie to more informal styles (jacket- and tie-less with a »peasant« shirt). If you don't own or can't borrow a kilt (it may be worth asking around in your local dance group), then by all means do come wearing trousers (a suit or suit jacket would also not come amiss). Non-kiltwearers are usually a minority, though.