Mother nature's monthly gift is difficult enough to deal with without having to worry about wearing a leotard and tights and moving... A lot. I've heard several different methods of dealing with all that girl stuff and I think the best way to discover what's best for you is to experiment. I'm gonna give a last "girl talk" warning here. :P
The way most girls see it is, if you want to be a dancer you have to wear a tampon. I have a few friends who opt not to but it is much more difficult to work around especially during a show when you CANNOT stain your costume!
However, if you don't or can't wear a tampon then you can find a way around it. Many dancers today are finding themselves fond of trash bag shorts.
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If you wear a pad with a leotard and tights you can undoubtedly see it. Some teachers don't like it when their students wear shorts so I would discuss it with your instructor beforehand and let them know why you need to wear them, they'll understand. However, if you wear a pad the risk of leaking through is greater and I find it immensely more uncomfortable. But everybody has a different situation and I suggest experimenting and seeing what you like best. If you have a really heavy flow it is safer to wear a tampon.
During a performance in which you only have one costume and can't wear shorts to hide a pad, you really do need to wear a tampon. I have an over-twenty-year-old friend who gets her period during every show without fail. She has yet to figure out why but just to be safe she usually puts in a tampon before putting her costume on.
At my school we have a story that's been told for a decade. During a dress rehearsal for Swan Lake one of the corps de ballet dancers was wearing a white swan tutu and suddenly got her period. She was on stage at the time and the other dancers let her know as soon as she was in the wings. Incredibly embarrassed she went down to the costuming room and they bleached the tutu before opening night. Our motto in the dressing room for every performance since then has been: "when in doubt, put in a tampon!"
In the end it's totally up to you as to how you're going to handle that "time of the month".
Hope this helps girls! If you have any more comments, questions or requests then leave a comment below :)