Feature: Dedicated followers of dance style fashion

Thursday 20 May 2010

Dancerstyle team: Meg Ferguson & Georgina Harper Meet Georgina Harper (right) and Meg Ferguson (left), the team behind dancerstyle a new blog which celebrates the inventive and varied fashion sense of dancers.

They’re often to be found on the streets outside dancer frequented establishments like Pineapple Studios, so they’re looking forward to shedding a few layers themselves this weekend in the relative warmth of the exhibition halls of Olympia at MOVE IT, the UK’s biggest dance show, where they’ll be on the look out for dancers of all styles and ages with that certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ to photograph. Georgina tells us more…

So why a style blog dedicated to dancers… **I work in dance, programming dance events and festivals that bring together all styles of dance, so I am working with dancers of all styles all the time. I am also a big fan of fashion blogs like The Sartorialist (which focuses of street fashion photography) and Style Bubble so it made sense to put the two passions together. Dancers are innovative and unique in the way they dress, and they often pioneer trends. I thought both other dancers and the general fashion-savvy public would be interested in what they are wearing.

Doesn’t dressing up for the stage mean dancers prefer to dress down for the street? **In some dance styles that is true. If to dance you need to wear a leotard like in ballet, that just simply doesn’t translate to streetwear in the UK climate! However, the unique way that dancers translate rehearsal wear into streetwear interests me. I find dancers often do layering really well, so they can add legwarmers, boots and a dress over the top of their dance kit to create a different, but distinctly dance-like look on the street.

Can you spot an off-duty dancer on the street? **I have got a bit obsessed with trying! I look for details like the obligatory brown and silver Bloch bag that dancers often carry their kit in, and or a confident way of clashing colors. Dancers don’t follow fashions in the same way as everyday folk, they put items together differently and often mix high street clothes with dancewear. Ballet dancers off duty are easy to spot as they hold themselves in a particular way.

And guess a person’s dance style from what they’re wearing? **Streetdancers are really confident with colours and patterns and Flamenco dancers often wear full length skirts on their way to class – one dancer told me “flamenco is in the dancer’s soul every moment”, so I guess they are less likely to turn up to class in jeans! You might expect ballet dancers to be more reserved, but we’ve photographed some really bold choices (see Marie – Louise’s gold mac on dancerstyle.co.uk)

Commercial dancers often get to wear the latest looks on the set of music videos and films. I saw some new women’s Puma trainers when I was visiting the set of Streetdance 3D, the new British dance feature film. Puma had supplied them specifically for the film and they weren’t going to be in the shops until the following year.

Is there one thing you think unites all dancers in style? **Essentially their clothing has to be practical and comfortable. Dancers often rush around the city, dashing from morning class to auditions and casting then performances in the evening, so it is unlikely you’ll see a dancer in platform heels or a suit. But this doesn’t mean they compromise on style. Their body is their business so they have to look stylish and cutting edge.

So where are the dance fashion hot spots? **For dancerstyle.co.uk we hang around outside Pineapple Dance Studios in Covent Garden, Danceworks near Selfridges, outside Sadler’s Wells and on the Southbank. The Capezio and Freddy shops in Covent Garden are also good as lots of West End dancers and the Royal Ballet dancers go there to stock up on dancer wear essentials. Also any American Apparel store!

Do designer labels cut it with dancers? **Dancers do like labels, but it is very style specific. Ballet dancers we have photographed were dripping with designers like Vivienne Westwood, Burberry (see Desree’s floor length Burberry satin coat on dancerstyle.co.uk) and Louis Vuitton, mainly for handbags and coats. Streetdancers love New Era caps and sports labels like Nike and Adidas, but they mix it with high street finds from Primark, American Apparel and H&M.

Sensible footwear – or not. Do dancers look after their greatest assets? **They like to be comfortable as I said, and there is certainly attention to detail in the foot and ankle area! Trainers or Converse boots have different coloured laces on each foot and layered neon socks. Leather boots are a trend for contemporary and ballet dancers, masculine riding or biker style boots are taking over from slouchy 80’s boots right now (see Marie-Louise on dancerstyle.co.uk sporting this sort of boot). Comfort with attitude is what it’s all about.

Dancer Style 2010 What’s particularly ‘of the moment’ with the dancers you’ve seen lately? **Arabic style keffiyah scarves are everywhere, particularly in bright colours (see Robert on dancerstyle.co.uk) and mixed with sports wear rather than as part of a boho look – I’ve seen these scarves on both girls and guys.

Where are you going to be next? **We’ll be at MOVE IT 2010”: from 11 – 14 March at Olympia. MOVE IT is far and away the biggest gathering of dancers of different styles in one place all year – the best place to see the latest trends and for us to capture some unique looks. There are also major open auditions happening. on Thursday 11 March at MOVE IT for Cirque Du Soleil, Disneyland Resort Paris and Boss Creative Entertainment, so we’ll get to photograph what people are wearing to impress the casting directors and stand out from the crowd.

www.dancerstyle.co.uk

February 2010

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