danseuse balletwear

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I firmly believe that ballet is for everyone.  Physically invigorating, emotionally empowering, and creatively freeing, ballet feeds every portion of a person.  From the proper management of bodily stress to the discipline of repetition, there is always something to be learned.  Regardless of age, body type, and experience, the benefits of a ballet class are universally attainable- the “ballerina body”, however, is not quite so easily acquired.  Enter Danseuse Balletwear.  Created by style blogger/recreational ballet dancer, Michelle Haswell, and her fashion designer friend, Aleksandra “Dust” Stojadinov of the label Disturbance, Danseuse is a collection of luxe warm-ups designed to flatter all body types, from the lithe young ballerina to the one-class-a-week mother of 3, and every dancer in between.  The line was born from Ms. Haswell’s struggles with the common insecurities that seem to spawn from most balletwear, and her unique vision of a truly beautiful,

“universal and luxurious collection, which is kind to all bodies and ages.”

Each piece reflects the graceful world from which it was inspired, incorporating sweet tulle hems, delicate wrapped fabrics, and soft feminine cuts to create elegant garments fit for a prima- and a pupil.

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I had the pleasure of testing out two pieces from the Danseuse collection, made to order in The Netherlands by the talented Miss Dust herself.  The darling Lana romper (pictured above) is the barre equivalent of your favorite onesie: soft, snuggly, effortless and a magnet for compliments.  Even FBP’s artistic director stopped me in the hallway to check out the romper and let me know just how much he liked it!  The coziest warmup in my arsenal, by far, and I’m loving this neutral pastel pallet- perfect for spring.

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Also fluttering their way into the FBP studios, the breezy Wendy shorts feature a loose fit and curved hem, with high cut sides that resemble a longer style of the infamously flattering “SAB skirt“.  These are perfect for keeping your hips warm without the restriction of any tight, clingy fabrics restricting your movement.  All of the perks of a skirt, in shorts form…kind of like the ballerina version of that beloved skort from your childhood…see, dreams do come true!  And with a name like Wendy, you know these are sure to be my new favorite shorts…

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Both pieces are made to have a looser fit and feature adjustable drawstring waists, so you can easily tailor the garment precisely to your preference- grand battements to the gods, who’s with me?!

PS- Check out this post from Danseuse Balletwear co-founder, Michelle Haswell’s “pointers” (heh heh) for preparing for your first pointe class.  I must admit, in my first pointe class I was guilty of that dreaded ribbon faux pas!

PPS- Leg warmers in the first photo by Rubiawear.

PPPS- Stay tuned for an exclusive chance to get your hands on some of my favorite brands, coming later this week!

nice to meet you, miss jones

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Today’s big announcement pertains to a project I’ve been anxiously waiting to share for weeks now, so here goes:  Ladies and gents, I would like to formally introduce you to the exclusive Setting The Barre leotard (!!!!!!!).  I’ll admit that I was a bit trepidatious in agreeing to collaborate with a young dancer living across the globe on a leotard to represent something so near and dear to my heart.  But in the spirit of 2015 and embracing all opportunities, I decided to encourage the industrious Miss Jones to indulge in this adventure, and boy was that a rewarding decision.  I immediately fell in love with her creation, examining every detail, but in turn realized that my pool of knowledge regarding the designer herself was rather shallow.  So before I get down to my review of the leotard (stay tuned for the third post of this installment), I’d like to give you all a chance to get to know Miss Sarah Jonesphoto 2

First can you tell us a bit about yourself and your dance background? 
I started ballet when I was 3 at  the Valerie Jenkins Academy of Ballet in Sydney [Australia] and I’m now 15 and studying for my Cecchetti Advanced 2 exam (eek!) I also take jazz, hip hop, character and contemporary. I probably won’t go the super classical route in the future, but I would love to be part of a contemporary company and maybe do some commercial work. I dance mostly because I have absolutely no idea what kind of person I would be without it, or what I would do with all that free time :) I also love the constant challenge and the discipline it has taught me.

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What inspired you to start designing and sewing your own leotards?
I started to make my own leotards because I felt consistently uninspired by the designs at my local dance store; they were always just the same few colors and cuts shuffled around a bit, plus they’re always super expensive! The fist thing I made was a simple wrap skirt and I got so many positive comments from other people at my studio that I just decided to take it a little further and make leotards.

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Do you build your own patterns?  
I make all my own patterns, mostly through trial and error and sometimes basing them off things I already have. By now I’ve built up a good range of existing pieces I can mix and match to create almost anything. Leotards have the bonus that they’re made of stretchy fabric so you can get away with not having insanely complicated patterns.

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How do you come up with the silhouettes and styles for each new leotard?
I take inspiration for leotards from everywhere! If I see someone wearing a really great dress, I think about if it could be translated into leotard form. Another great source of inspiration is swimwear because the designs are often much more elaborate than your traditional leo but the construction is still quite similar. I love anything that is not really conventional, if it’s a bit dramatic and catches your eye from across the room that’s ideal!

photo 1What makes the STB leotard special?I would have to say the main distinguishing features of the STB leotard would be the tulip shaped cutouts around the neckline. I was inspired by an amazing dress I saw in the window of a Pucci store which had a row of cutouts around the waist. It got me thinking about how cutouts could be used in leotard form. I think it’s important thing is that a design has some element of symmetry and that the lines created are streamlined and flowing (just like in ballet!) so I really tried to keep that in mind when designing the leotard.photo 3

Now- just for fun- choose 3 words to describe your own “studio style”…

If I had to choose the words to describe my aesthetic they would probably be fun, flirtatious and unexpected. That’s a difficult question!

Stay tuned for my thoughts on this gorgeous design, and for information on how you can get an STB leotard for yourself, with a special readers-only discount code!

For more peeks at this pretty leo, click here.

photos by Jenay Evans