Dancers Took Over the Dior Runway & It. Is. Everything.

Dance and high-fashion collaborations are always something we get excited about, whether it's New York City Ballet's annual Fall Fashion Gala or Sergei Polunin's campaign with Balmain. The latest dancer-designer dream team comes courtesy of Paris Fashion Week, where Dior creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri and L-E-V co-founder Sharon Eyal joined forces for some serious runway magic.

Chiuri, who is the first woman to head up the iconic fashion house, reached out to Eyal, to create a live performance for nine dancers. The clothes themselves were full of tributes to dance, too, from the neutral and pastel color scheme to soft silhouettes (like long, tulle skirts that were reminiscent of romantic tutus). The collection also featured designs that were directly inspired by trailblazing women in dance like Loïe Fuller, Isadora Duncan and Martha Graham.

"Dance speaks about the body and freedom and fashion speaks about the same things," Chiuri told The Guardian. Eyal agreed, sharing in a backstage interview with Vogue Germany, "I love fashion, and I think it's all about the same thing [as dance]: To create a dream."

Performing to music by Israeli techno musician and DJ Ori Litchik, the dancers moved through a storm of white rose petals in unitards designed by Chiuri inspired by the four elements of nature.

Of course, this isn't Chiuri's first foray into the dance world, as she designed costumes for Daniil Simkin's Guggenheim project, Falls the Shadow, just last fall. So it's really no surprise she knocked it out of the park (or the Longchamp Racecourse if you want to get technical) for her big spring/summer 2019 collection debut. Fashion designers and choreographers, take note. This is how you bring dance to the runway.

Watch the whole show here:

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Stark Photo Productions, Courtesy Harlequin

Why Your Barre Can Make or Break Your At-Home Dance Training

Throughout the pandemic, Shelby Williams, of Royal Ballet of Flanders (aka "Biscuit Ballerina"), has been sharing videos that capture the pitfalls of dancers working from home: slipping on linoleum, kicking over lamps and even taking windows apart at the "barre." "Dancers aren't known to be graceful all of the time," says Mandy Blackmon, PT, DPT, OSC, CMTPT, head physical therapist/medical director for Atlanta Ballet. "They tend to fall and trip."

Many dancers have tried to make their home spaces as safe as possible for class and rehearsal by setting up a piece of marley, like Harlequin's Dance Mat, to work on. But there's another element needed for taking thorough ballet classes at home: a portable barre.

"Using a barre is kinda Ballet 101," says 16-year-old Haley Dale, a student in her second year at American Ballet Theatre's Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School. She'd bought a portable barre from Harlequin to use at her parents' home in Northern Virginia even before the pandemic hit. "Before I got it, honestly I would stay away from doing barre work at home. Now I'm able to do it all the time."

Blackmon bought her 15-year-old stepdaughter a freestanding Professional Series Ballet Barre from Harlequin early on in quarantine. "I was worried about her injuring herself without one," she admits.

What exactly makes Harlequin's barres an at-home must-have, and hanging on to a chair or countertop so risky? Here are five major differences dancers will notice right away.

December 2020