Ballet Careers
April Giangeruso in Chameleon Activewear's April's Read Carefully model. Courtesy Giangeruso.

If you keep a close eye on Instagram, you'll have noticed a long list of American Ballet Theatre dancers posting shots wearing unusual leotards accompanied by the hashtag "#momtard." And if your sleuthing skills are particularly superior, you'll have traced them back to corps de ballet dancer April Giangeruso, who has been sporting brightly flowered and confectionary-printed leos in the studio years before making them available to her colleagues and the rest of the ballet world.

Giangeruso officially launched Chameleon Activewear, her new set of boldly designed leotards, earlier this month, and the reactions have already been overwhelmingly positive. "It's so exciting to see other dancers happy in them, and to receive messages from students and professionals about how they love the prints and the way the leotards fit," she says. Ahead, we caught up with Giangeruso for all of the details on creating her company (and the cutest #momtard story you'll ever hear).

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Ballet Stars
Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo's Albert Pretto. Items from left: Victoria's Secret bag, practice skirt ("I got this at a boutique in SoHo"), Deuserband resistance band, AlbyPretty biketard, hand-knit legwarmers, AlbyPretty t-shirt and skirt, Ballet Maniacs bag ("It has pockets on the side for pointe shoes and it's big enough for practice tutus"). Photo by Quinn Wharton for Pointe.

Alberto Pretto, a dancer with the all-male comedy troupe Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, keeps his two dance bags stuffed with extra practice clothes, tutus and props. "I'm a total bag lady," he says. While rehearsing as his Trocks alter ego, Nina Immobilashvili, it's crucial for Pretto to get into the character's mind-set by wearing the right-length tutu for Giselle or practicing with his Esmeralda tambourine. "It's important with partnering to feel the same way that you would in a costume," he says. Switching his clothes during the day also leaves Pretto feeling refreshed, and it gives him a chance to model his newest creations for his dancewear line, AlbyPretty. "Sometimes it's good to bring a little color into the studio."

Pro Pointe Shoe Hacks From The Trocks' Alberto Pretto youtu.be

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popular
Kira auf der Heide via Unsplash. All product photos by Jayme Thornton for Pointe.

The holidays are fast approaching, and if you're still in need of the right gift for the ballerina on your list, we've got you covered. From every day essentials like a new leotard, to gifts that are slightly more unexpected (but still practical!) like crystal hair pins, here's what we're gifting this year.

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Just for fun
via @discountdance on Instagram

"Ballet pink" tights and palest-pink slippers. "Nude" fabrics that match only the lightest of skin tones. Unfortunately, many dancewear staples have historically been available only in a single "flesh tone" that tended to exclude non-Caucasian dancers.

Thankfully, in recent years dancewear companies have begun to respond to this issue, offering more varied shades of tights, pointe shoes, body tights, etc. (One former Knicks City Dancer even made inclusiveness the foundation of her business model.) Now, you can also get foundation garments that suit your unique skin tone with the new Mariia True Bare Collection.

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Trending
NYCB's Unity Phelan and Miriam Miller accessorize with colored bobby pins while modeling for Côté Cour. Photo by Erin Baiano, @erinbaiano.

Bored with your daily ballet bun? We found the easiest way to amp up your studio look, courtesy of luxe leotard line Côté Cour. At a recent photo shoot for the brand's newest designs, we noticed that New York City Ballet dancers (and Côté Cour models) Miriam Miler and Unity Phelan added a touch of color to their slicked-back buns with their bobby pins.

Photo by Erin Baiano, @erinbaiano; courtesy of Côté Cour, @cote_cour.

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Ballet Stars
via Instagram, Bravado Dancewear

Dancewear and leotards designed by ballerinas is nothing new. But Dusty Button isn't your average ballerina. The former Boston Ballet principal has made her own rules in the dance world, keeping an Instagram following of over 200,000 mesmerized with a mix of classical and contemporary clips (pirouette combos to Drake and développés to Hailee Steinfeld are just a sampling of what you'll find). But over the past few months, Button has been breaking up her usual studio clips with teasers for Bravado Dancewear line—created by Button and available now.

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Ballet Stars
P.O. Alienz in Lavender Leotard; Paulina Waski modelling a Kreature Kulture t-shirt. Photos Courtesy Paulina Waski.

Walk into any ballet class and you're bound to see a row of dancers clad in leotards patterned with dainty flowers and lace. But nearly three years ago, American Ballet Theatre corps dancer Paulina Waski wore a very different kind of leotard to class—and her colleagues loved it. Now an average day at ABT includes any number of dancers in leotards featuring angry aliens, detached eyeballs and grinning monsters.

"My dad, John, is an artist, and he draws all these crazy creatures," Waski explains. "One year he did what he called his paper plate project; he drew a new creature onto a paper plate every single day for 365 days. I thought, 'he should put one on a leotard!' He screen printed one onto one of my old leotards himself, and when I wore it to class everyone was wowed." And so, Kreature Kulture was born.


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Ballet Careers
Murphy wearing one of her designs. Photo by Lindsay Thomas, Courtesy PNB.

On any given day, Pacific Northwest Ballet's rehearsal studios are filled with ballerinas decked out in a rainbow of colorful, innovative leotards—many designed and hand-sewn by principal dancer Elizabeth Murphy.

Murphy didn't grow up sewing. In fact, she didn't even know how to run a sewing machine until she was 18. She didn't want to sit still long enough.

The Chelmsford, Massachusetts, native started dance lessons as a child in her hometown, and by her early teens decided to pursue a dance career. She moved to Pennsylvania to train at The Rock School for Dance Education. While still a student, she danced supplementary roles at Pennsylvania Ballet. Murphy then landed a position with Ballet West II before entering its main company in 2007.

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Inside PT

There’s nothing better than the feeling you get when you walk into your favorite dance store. You're surrounded by shelves of pointe shoes, racks of warm ups and—my personal favorite—gorgeous leotards. But with all of those leo options, it can be a daunting task to pick out your favorites. Which will make you look your best? To help, we’ve made a list for the best leotards to flatter every body shape. When you feel comfortable in your dancewear, it can do wonders for your confidence, and in-turn, affect your performance in class, rehearsal and even auditions.

Broad Shoulders:
With wide shoulders, your goal is to draw attention inward and down. A boat neck will accentuate your collarbone while cap sleeves will help blend your shoulders with your torso. A pinched-front camisole is a good choice for when you want to go for the delicate look.
Avoid: Halter leotards, which can make the shoulders appear wider than they are.

Large Bust:
Look for leotards with a built-in shelf bra or underwire. A conservative neckline, thick straps and a high-cut leg lend more support while drawing attention away from your chest.
Avoid: A dipping neckline and thin camisole straps, which bring focus where you may not want it and pose the threat of a wardrobe malfunction.

Wider Hips:
Find a leotard that emphasizes your shoulders with an open neckline. Ornate detailing at the top such as prints, colors, patterns or gathering will take the attention upward with a fashionable addition.
Avoid: Solid colors with a plain, bare neck, which draws the eyes to your hips since there is nothing pulling the focus to the top.

Short Arms:
With the right balance of proportions, sleeveless leotards, thin straps and low necklines lengthen everything on your upper half.
Avoid: Tank leotards and three-quarter sleeves, which cut the line of the arm.

Short Legs:
You can fake a longer leg line with a high cut bottom, often called a French cut, and a plunging neck or back. These details make the entire body seem taller.
Avoid: Biketards, low-cut legs or wearing shorts over your leotard, which can cut the line at too square of an angle.

Short Torso:
You’ve likely been blessed with gorgeous long extremities, so embrace them! A classical ballet cut, camisole straps and low-cut legs are staples to look for. These all provide the illusion of an incredibly elongated torso and play up your already lengthy arms and legs.
Avoid: High leg lines, which could shrink the look of your trunk.

Stomach Insecurities:
We have all had one of those days where you just don’t love your abs. Ruching or gathering around the stomach and ribs will make your waist appear smaller and give support.
Avoid: Spandex material or milliskin without any gathering. The shiny texture brings attention where you may not want it.



Buy Guide

For these and other styles, and to find out where to purchase classwear in your area, contact the following manufacturers:

Bloch: 800-94-BLOCH, www.blochworld.com

Body Wrappers:
800-323-0786, www.bodywrappers.com

Capezio/Ballet Makers, Inc.: 800-533-1887, www.capeziodance.com

Chacott Co., Ltd.: 800-835-1701

Danskin: 888-DANSKIN, www.danskin.com

Eurotard: 770-475-3045, www.eurotard.com

Freed of London, Ltd.: 866-MY-FREED, www.freedoflondon.com

Gaynor Minden: 800-637-9240, www.dancer.com

Grishko:
800-474-7454, www.grishko.com

Harmonie:
800-435-4518, www.harmoniedance.com (purchase Harmonie clothing online at www.capeziodance.com)

Leo’s Dancewear: 800-736-LEOS, www.leosdancewear.com

Malakhov by Chacott: 800-835-1701

Mirella
: 800-457-0304, www.mirella-dance.com

Mondor, Ltd.:
800-363-1460, www.mondor.com

Natalie Dance Wear: 888-223-1878, www.nataliedancewear.com

Prima Soft:
800-431-6005, www.prima-soft.com

Sansha:
910-371-0101 x110, www.sansha.com

Weissman’s Designs for Dance
: 800-477-5410, www.designsfordance.com

Só Dança:
800-269-5033, www.sodanca.com

 

The color orange has a special meaning for Keith Lin, designer of KeithLink leotards. To him it signifies sunshine and the happiness of dancing. For six years, Lin’s colleagues in the dance world urged him to start his own line of leotards, and on April 4, the brand launched its first Spring/Summer collection, Awakening.

Lin studied dance at Taipei National University of the Arts but soon realized that his passion lay behind the scenes. He left college to work in a costume design shop, and after three years his mentor told him to open his own workshop. Lin spent the next thirteen years designing costumes for companies like Cloudgate and Taipei Chamber Ballet.

Lin’s debut studio wear collection features eight styles for women and five for men. Unlike most brands, each style comes in one specific color, and Lin only makes twelve leotards for each style because he doesn’t want people to show up to class in the same outfit. Fabric, cut and color are all important elements. “The fabric needs to expand to twice its size,” Lin says, “so that dancers’ movements won’t be restrained by the leotard.”

Lin finds inspiration for his designs in Greek mythology and the statues of gods and goddesses and the lines of their bodies. His leotards take the names of Aphrodite, Arete, and Nymph to reflect the character and romantic essence of the myths.

Lin is very meticulous and treats his every design like a work of art. KeithLink leotards come in a dainty box. The tags, with care instructions, are hand-sewn on after every detail is checked as a sign of approval that the product is ready for sale. Right now leotards can be purchased in Taiwan, and Lin is exploring ways for dancers in the U.S. to purchase his leotards.

“The studio space should be embellished with color and design,” he says. “My vision is that every dancer can take class carefree and stop worrying about their leotard.”

**

Pointe is giving away three KeithLink leotards (all size M). Check out our giveaway!

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