ladylike

afterlight

I’ve never met a dancer who is not hyper specific about her taste in leotards.  Tight and supportive, soft and worn in, bright, dark, feminine, sporty, strappy, simple; There are a lot of options and even more opinions.  Of course, I am no exception to the rule, preferring my leotards supportive yet soft, and feminine but flattering.  Despite my mother’s insistence that my bust is fairly compact, my tendency for dramatics has me completely convinced otherwise, resulting in a certain inclination towards what I like to lovingly refer to as “boob-friendly leotards”, i.e. those which suit a slightly fuller chest.  I tend to favor dark colored (re: slimming) leo’s that cut high on the hip, dip low in the back, and offer some kind of unique feature to set it apart in a sea of basic black camisoles.

All details considered, you can imagine my apprehension in opening the package that contained a custom-designed leotard, made especially for my blog, by a young dancer (and I mean young!) whom I have never even met.  I held the package in my hands, waiting just long enough for my curiosity to swell into a tangible entity outside of myself.  A few nearby other dancers took note of my anxiousness and encouraged me to rip open the package.  When I did, we were all blown away.

It’s hard not to fall in love with this leotard instantly.  It collects little pieces of light from every beautiful balletic dream and weaves them all up into a fairytale of a garment.  But what surprised me about my experience receiving this leotard was the way in which every aspect that would normally send me running for cover actually became what I love most in this piece.  You know how sometimes when you try too hard to hide something, it actually becomes more glaringly obvious?  Well, there’s a widely revered characteristic in French women that I have always been envious of; They use their flaws and insecurities as defining features, promoting the effortless allure of unbrushed hair and a good run in your stockings.  In this leotard, I have finally reached an understanding of French female empowerment.  The light colors I habitually avoided now gracefully wrapped their way around my body, and feminine cut-outs along the neckline emphasized the bust I had always spitefully suppressed.  And you know what?  The change felt good.  I strutted my stuff through every rehearsal in the gorgeous creation, and I think my confidence showed; Almost every girl in the company approached me that day complimenting the new leo, and even asking where and how to get one for themselves.  If that doesn’t confirm a successful design, I don’t know what does.

With its soft, delicate, vintage-inspired front and a sporty, clasp-enclosed shrug style back, this leotard really does it all.  It’s so completely one-of-a-kind and like nothing I’ve ever had the pleasuring of dancing in before, and I am proud to know Setting The Barre is being represented so elegantly.  And because Miss Jones knows that no project is complete without a personal touch, she even embroidered my name into the hip.  Incredible.

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So readers, I invite you to experience the bliss that is classic femininity with a decidedly modern twist.  Get your hands on the limited-edition Setting The Barre leotard, with a special reader’s only discount.  Use the code DANCE13 for 10% off at check out.

view the rest of the Miss Jones Dance etsy shop here.

Special thank you to Sarah Jones for her stunning design and Jenay Evans for her brilliant photography.

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

sketchy looking

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Sketches of me during company class, by Jan Gendron.

I have fallen in love with Providence for a long list of reasons.  The world renowned restaurants, historic buildings, and gloriously suburban east side all make that list of course, but my absolute favorite thing about this lively little city is its incredibly expansive artistic culture.  I mean, I can’t be the only one who finds it impressive that such a teeny capital city can breed enough artistic freedom to become one of the most exciting creative hubs in the country.  With small cinemas like the Avon and Cable Car showcasing the latest indie movies, the students of RISD continuing to amaze the community with their impossible talent, and Etsy and DIY-inspired stores like Queen of Hearts and Modern Love thriving on Westminster, it’s undeniable that Providence’s fondu pot of artistic imagination and skill is constantly thickening.  This is made even more obvious at FBP by the presence of such local artists as photographer Cemal Ekin and Jan Gendron, who has been sketching dancers during company class, perched with his easel like a quiet, pastel-wielding little bird at the edge of the studio, since I can remember.  He recently posted the above photos of his sketches of me onto Facebook, so I thought I’d share them with you all today, along with a little love for Providence.  To see more of Jan’s work, grab some tickets to the final performance of Up Close On Hope this weekend, where you can enjoy a gallery of both Jan and Cemal’s art while you sip wine and munch on hors d’oeuvres during intermission.  How’s that for a culture-packed evening?!