Ballet Stars

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

Courtesy of Belleza Athletica

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.

Show Comments ()
Ballet Stars
Canadian junior finalist Mya Kresnyak in a variation from "Paquita." Photo by Richard Finkelstein, Courtesy USA IBC.

On June 10, 119 dancers from 19 countries gathered in Jackson, MS to compete in the USA International Ballet Competition. Today, the USA IBC announced the list of 32 finalists, who will compete for medals and cash awards in Round III, held June 19-21. All of the finalists will receive a travel stipend, and medalists and award winners will be announced at the competition's gala on June 22. See the full list below, and stay tuned all week on our Facebook and Instagram pages as we bring you the latest from Jackson, live.

Keep reading... Show less
popular

Cleaning is a daily procedure. Proper maintenance will help extend the life of your floor and protect its special slip-resistant surface.

Keep reading... Show less
News
Ulrik Birkkjaer and Susanne Grinder in Bournonville's Napoli." Photo by Costin Radu, Courtesy Jacob's Pillow Dance.

On June 20, Royal Danish Ballet will open the Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival with a weeklong run in the historic Ted Shawn Theatre. The celebrated relationship between the Copenhagen-based company and the Pillow dates back to 1954, when leading RDB soloist Inge Sand stepped in to replace a dancer from another company at the last minute, resulting in her U.S. debut. Her popularity led to the company's inaugural U.S. performance at the festival the next summer. According to the Pillow's director of preservation, Norton Owen, this was also the first time that works by August Bournonville, the famed 19th-century Danish choreographer, were seen in this country. Following its success at Jacob's Pillow, RDB made its New York City debut at the Metropolitan Opera House in 1956, and in 1957 the King of Denmark knighted Jacob's Pillow founder Ted Shawn for his role in bringing Danish ballet to America. Over the next 20 years, soloists from RDB returned to the Berkshires frequently to great acclaim; their most recent visit was in 2007.

Keep reading... Show less
Ballet Stars
Photo by Amitava Sarkar, Courtesy Houston Ballet

Houston Ballet soloist Harper Watters has a good thing going on. Not only is he one of the company's rising young dancers, but he's also a ballet celebrity on social media, where he charts his life on Instagram and on his hugely popular YouTube series, "The Pre Show" (which he describes as "tons of ballet, banter, boys and lots of backstage shenanigans").

The Dover, New Hampshire, native, who seems just as comfortable in a pair of pink heels as he does onstage, trained at Walnut Hill School for the Arts and Portsmouth School of Ballet. While a member of Houston Ballet II, he landed an apprenticeship with the company after winning the Contemporary Dance Prize at the 2011 Prix de Lausanne. He joined the main company that same year and was promoted to soloist in December 2017. Known for his big personality, elegantly long lines and sensual flow in contemporary work, Watters, 26, is ready to take on the next phase of his career. He recently spoke with Pointe about his new rank and his mission to help others feel proud of who they are.

Keep reading... Show less
News
Sara Webb and Connor Walsh with Artists of Houston Ballet in "Swan Lake" choreographed by Stanton Welch. Photo by Amitava Sarkar, Courtesy Houston Ballet.

Wonder what's going on in ballet this week? We've pulled together some highlights.


The Australian Ballet's Triple Bill, Verve, Includes New Work by Company Dancer Alice Topp

Verve, a triple-bill program from The Australian Ballet running June 21-30 in Melbourne, will host revivals of works from resident choreographers Stephen Baynes and Tim Harbour, as well as a world premiere from company coryphée Alice Topp. Topp's Aurum is inspired by kintsugi, a Japanese art in which broken ceramics are mended using lacquer colored with silver or gold, so that the cracks are emphasized, instead of hidden. In Aurum, Topp applies that philosophy to the human ability to find beauty in vulnerability and imperfections. Completing the bill are Baynes's Constant Variants, which pairs neo-classical ballet with a Tchaikovsky score, and Harbour's Filigree and Shadow, a contemporary ballet featuring striking set and lighting design.

Keep reading... Show less
Ballet Stars
ABT principals Christine Shevchenko and James Whiteside rehearse "Swan Lake" in Singapore.

In the middle of American Ballet Theatre's spring season, principal dancer Christine Shevchenko takes a break from her comedic role of Pierrette in Harlequinade to (briefly) transform into a swan. During the half hour rehearsal, Shevchenko seamlessly transitions from Odette to Odile, running through her various solos without pause—save for the short conferences with ballet mistress Irina Kolpakova, which switch between Russian and English almost as quickly as Shevchenko whips out her fouetté turns (but more on those later).

"The rehearsal process is a lot different right now because every week it's a new ballet," Shevchenko says during a rehearsal break last week. "I'm really trying to squeeze in as many Swan Lake rehearsals as I can, and at the same time, I'm trying to prepare for Don Quixote, which is the week after," she explains of juggling the season's eight programs. "This is my first year as a principal during the Met season, so I'm learning how to figure it out as we keep going. In a way, I'm used to doing parts last minute because that's how I got most of my roles," she says. Ahead, Shevchenko shares exactly how she's gearing up for her Met debut on June 20.

Keep reading... Show less
Ballet Stars
Carla Fracci in "Giselle," via YouTube.

In the late 1950s and 60s, Italian ballerina Carla Fracci won the world over with her definitive interpretations of romantic ballets like La Sylphide, La Sonnambula, and, of course, Giselle. At just 22 years old, she left her home stage at La Scala in Milan to begin guesting internationally, eventually forming a famous partnership with the dashing danseur Erik Bruhn at American Ballet Theatre. The two appear together in this film of ABT's Giselle, in which Fracci's Act I variation is as near to perfection as any Giselle before or after.

Keep reading... Show less

Sponsored

Videos

Sponsored

mailbox

Get Pointe Magazine in your inbox

Sponsored

Win It!