Members of NYCB at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.
Yesterday we told you about New York City Ballet corps dancers Emily Kikta and Peter Walker, the duo behind the Saratoga Performing Arts Center's video campaign in advance of NYCB's summer residency. Each day this week, SPAC has released one of eight short films on its website and social media channels that were choreographed, co-directed and filmed by the two dancers. And they're giving us an exclusive look at the last one of the series.
Shot on location this spring in Saratoga Springs and Troy, New York, these films shows NYCB dancers frolicking in train stations, parks, race tracks and other iconic locations in the area. Fittingly, this last one was filmed onstage at SPAC, where the company opens its summer season July 5. Starring Walker and NYCB corps members Devin Alberda, Meaghan Dutton-O'Hara, Mimi Staker, Sebastian Villarini-Velez, Sarah Villwock and Giovanni Villalobos, it shows off the theater's gorgeous natural surroundings.
Ballet-inspired clothing is nothing new, and the dance and fashion worlds have always been in conversation with each other. Think of how many prominent choreographers have enlisted fashion designers to create costumes for their work, or how ballet flats have become a wardrobe staple.
Lara Tong, Mimi Staker, Olivia Boisson, Unity Phelan and Rachel Hutsell (photo via PUMA)
But lately, activewear brands are catching on too, with collaborations that emphasize the athleticism and strength of ballet dancers. There's Misty Copeland's "I Will What I Want" campaign for Under Armour, the recent GapFit campaign featuring dancers like Calvin Royal III, Keenan Kampa and Mayara Pineiro, and, as of next week, a whole line of ballet-inspired sneakers and sportswear from PUMA, as part of their "Do You" campaign.
The Basket Heart sneaker (via PUMA)
The collection is part of PUMA's partnership with New York City Ballet, which began last summer. Called Swan Pack, it's made up of mostly black and white pieces, including a sneaker with pointe shoe-esque ribbons and a black cape with feather embellishments.
While we're excited about the clothes themselves, the best part of all is the campaign's stunning photos, which feature NYCB corps dancers Lara Tong, Olivia Boisson, Mimi Staker, Unity Phelan and Rachel Hutsell wearing some of the new looks. And the "Do You" message, encouraging self-confidence and individuality, can't be beat.
Lara Tong and Olivia Boisson (via PUMA)
The collection launches on February 1, and will be available in stores and online.
Many of you may remember last summer’s “Strictly Ballet,”Teen Vogue’s reality web series that took viewers inside the high-pressure lives of six students at the School of American Ballet. And you may especially remember those nerve-racking class scenes with Peter Martins, ballet master in chief of New York City Ballet, as he assesses SAB’s highest level students for possible company apprenticeships. At the series’ end, we learn (spoiler alert!) that then 17-year-old North Carolina native Mimi Staker has made the cut.
Since then, life has gotten even more exciting for Staker—after a few months as an apprentice, she was promoted to a full-fledged corps member. (And on May 13, she’ll debut in her first leading role as Maria in Jerome Robbins’ West Side Story Suite!) In a new online video released today on The Scene, Staker reveals how her life has changed and what a typical day is like at NYCB. (And they’re long, often going from 10 am to 10 pm.) You can check it out here: