Ballet Nacional de España dancers killing it. Via media.giphy.com

The Story Behind that Viral Video of​ Spanish Dancers on the Runway

Is there anything more alluring than a group of well-dressed men who seriously know how to move? According to 15 million views of this Spanish fashion show, it seems not.


Here's Just One of the Clips That's Gone Viral:

The video shows dancers from Ballet Nacional de España performing director Antonio Najarro's choreography for a runway show introducing the Spring/Summer 2019 collection from Oteyza. The sharp, sleek unison phrases and passionate masculine energy of the dancers have entranced viewers around the world as much as it wowed the fashion influencers in the live audience.

So How Did This Collaboration Come About?

Najarro says he's long been a fan of Oteyza's designs: "He uses the aesthetic of the Spanish dancers—the cape, the high trousers, the hat, those are all very traditional costumes for men."

The BNE director first choreographed a fashion show three years ago for designer Juan Duyos, using about 20 female company dancers, to music by Björk.

Dancing in the Designs Created Unexpected Magic

This time, he wanted to capture "the energy and the spirit of the boys—with the Spanish passion." Once he convinced Oteyza to trade models for movers, Najarro spent three weeks alone in the studio creating the choreography, then took a week and a half to set it on the dancers (including himself—he makes a solo appearance in the middle and at the end).

He knew the piece might make a splash since it was so unexpected: "To see men in a fashion show dancing with castanets, stamping with their feet, it's very strange and completely unique."

Still, he wasn't expecting so many millions of views. "I'm so happy because it's my mission to introduce Spanish dance to other worlds, like painting, photography, fashion and cinema," he says. "I want everybody to know this dance in a traditional way, but also in a modern way. I feel like the ambassador of Spanish dance."

Watch the Full 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.

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December 2020