Courtesy of Belleza Athletica

Pacific Northwest Ballet's Angeli Mamon Launches a Leotard Line With Edge

Dancer designers seem to be a dime a dozen these days. With three already in Pacific Northwest Ballet's ranks (principals Elizabeth Murphy and duo Lindsi Dec and Karel Cruz), it might seem like an over- saturated market for another dancewear brand to be able to turn heads. Enter Angeli Mamon. With her new line, Belleza Athletica (pronounced "bay-yes-ah"), the corps member is carving out a niche in studio wear with leotards and skirts that match her confident personality.

Mamon in Belleza Athletica.


Born and raised in Seattle, Mamon didn't find ballet as much as it found her. She entered the PNB School through its DanceChance program at 8 years old. "They go to lower-income elementary schools and audition thousands of third-graders," she explains. The program provides full ballet training scholarships, transportation, and dance clothes and shoes (plus bun help) to participants, and particularly gifted students are invited to join the main school after the two-year program.

On a yearly scholarship, Mamon moved up through the PNB School to its Professional Division and was offered an apprenticeship in 2015, becoming the first female DanceChance student to join the company.

Mamon in 'Le Corsaire.' Photo by Lindsay Thomas.

But it was attending the School of American Ballet's summer intensive at 13 that helped stoke Mamon's crafty side. "I didn't grow up in a rich family, so getting a Yumiko leotard was always a big deal," she says, "and when you go away to summer courses, obviously you want to have your coolest leotards." Mamon began sketching her own designs, and by 16, she was cutting up basic store-bought leotards to create them herself.

Starting her own line one day was a natural progression from her early sketches, but Mamon has timed her side hustle carefully. Promoted to the corps in 2016, she finally feels ready to debut the items that she's been prototyping for years. "It's always been in the back of my mind," she says, "but now I feel like I can take the time to do it. And I have a platform and a name, in a sense."

PNB corps dancer Sarah-Gabrielle Ryan in Belleza Athletica.

Belleza launches this summer with six leotards and one skirt—all manufactured in Peru, where Mamon has family. For the leotards, she has selected a special kind of Lycra that resists typical ballerina wear and tear, and the edgy skirts are made of mesh. Remembering her younger days as a cash- strapped student, Mamon also feels strongly about conservative retail cost. The designs' price points range from $48.99 to $65.

Mamon doesn't feel that she's competing with her designer-dancer colleagues. "We're all super-supportive of each other," she says, noting that the differences in their lines (Murphy's LabelDancewear and Dec and Cruz's Solu) match their personalities. "Liz has her very traditional ballerina leotards. And then Lindsi is super-athletic."

PNB corps dancer Calista Ruat in Belleza Athletica.

Mamon herself is drawn to sensual roles—like Arabian in The Nutcracker—and her designs reflect that flirty and fun attitude. "They're a twist on classic designs. I like super-low backs and showing more skin."

Mamon is decidedly self-assured, both as a dancer and a designer. "My dream was to be here," she says of PNB, "and now that I've fulfilled that, I would love to just have my entire career here in Seattle." Though she hopes that Belleza will appeal to a wide audience, she won't pander: "I'm not going to please everyone." For now, she's happy designing for the few—and for herself.

Latest Posts


Complexions Contemporary Ballet's Tatiana Melendez Proves There's No One Way to Have a Ballet Career

This is Pointe's Fall 2020 cover story. Click here to purchase this issue.

Talk to anyone about rising contemporary ballerina Tatiana Melendez, and one word is bound to come up repeatedly: "Fierce." And fair enough, that's a perfectly apt way to describe the 20-year-old's stage presence, her technical prowess and her determination to succeed. But don't make the mistake of assuming that fierceness is Melendez's only (or even her most noteworthy) quality. At the core of her dancing is a beautiful versatility. She's just as much at ease when etching pure classical lines as she is when boldly throwing herself off-balance.

"Selfish choreographer that I am, I want Tatiana to stay with Complexions for all time," says her boss Dwight Rhoden, Complexions Contemporary Ballet's co-artistic director and resident choreographer. "She has a theatricality about her: When the music comes on, she gets swept away." Not too shabby for someone who thought just a few years ago that maybe ballet wasn't for her.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Erik Tomasson, Courtesy SFB

"My Plate Is Full": Sofiane Sylve on Her New Leadership Roles at Ballet San Antonio and Dresden Semperoper

Sofiane Sylve had huge plans for 2020: Departing her post as a principal dancer at San Francisco Ballet, she embarked on a multifaceted, bicontinental career as ballet master and principal dancer at Dresden Semperoper Ballett, and artistic advisor and school director at Ballet San Antonio—and then COVID-19 hit, sidelining performances and administrative plans at both companies. But ballet dancers are nothing if not resilient. In her new leadership roles, Sylve is determined to help shepherd ballet through this challenging time—and transform it for the better. Pointe caught up with her by phone while she was in Dresden.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Erik Tomasson, Courtesy SFB

The Anatomy of Arabesque: Why Placement and Turnout Are Key to Achieving This Crucial Position

Audition for any school or company, and they'll likely ask for a photo in arabesque. The position not only reveals a great deal about a dancer's ability, but it is also a fundamental building block for more advanced movements, like penché or arabesque turn. Beyond technique, it can be the epitome of grace and elegance onstage, creating unforgettable images—just try to imagine Swan Lake or Balanchine's Serenade without an arabesque.

Yet many dancers are unsatisfied with their arabesque lines, and students frequently ask how to improve their extensions. (Social media posts of dancers with extreme flexibility don't help!) In an attempt to lift the back leg higher, dancers may sacrifice placement and unknowingly distort their position in the process. How can you improve the height of your back leg while maintaining proper placement and turnout? We talked to a few experts to better understand the science behind this step.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks