Monday, January 10, 2011

Ballet Inspired Fashion

With the release of Black Swan, and all the award season buzz around the movie, fashion magazines have been laced with ballet inspired fashion. Based on the romanticism that ballet brings to mind, these soft layers of laces, tulle, feathers and ruffles have everyone feeling like a ballerina. 

I have a completely different outlook when it comes to the romanticism of ballet. I began taking ballet at the age of 5, danced with three youth ballet companies, and performed in numerous ballet productions in the 15 years that I danced. Standard ballet attire wasn’t cute off the shoulder sweaters, tulle skirts and soled flats. We wore standard pink dance tights, leotards and standard ballet flats for barre and center work. We then changed into pointe shoes for the remainder of class and always for rehearsal. During class, you were limited to the amount of clothing you could wear over the leotard and tights, however, rehearsal was a much more casual atmosphere.     

There were bloody feet, bruised and missing toenails, blisters and throbbing muscles. Hair was pulled back in tight buns, never free flowing like you see in photos. Warmer than average studios led to stinky, sweaty dancers. And the studio was one of camaraderie, not fierce competition. There is nothing romantic about being a dancer, however, I wouldn’t have changed anything about my young life as a ballerina.


Some of my American Youth Ballet company members during a summer ballet workshop. I am kneeling in the second row, far right. 

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