Tan Li Min working with Queensland Ballet dancer Lou Spichtig. Photo by Jovian Lim, Courtesy Cloud & Victory

How Cloud & Victory Used Social Media to Become One of the Coolest Brands in Ballet

Cloud & Victory gets dancers. The dancewear brand's social media drools over Roberto Bolle's abs, sets classical variations to Beyoncé and moans over Mondays and long adagios. And it all comes from the mind of founder Tan Li Min, the boss lady who takes on everything from designs to inventory to shipping orders.

Known simply (and affectionately) to the brand's 41K Instagram followers as Min, she's used her wry, winking sense of humor to give the Singapore-based C&V international cachet.

She recently spoke with Dance Magazine about building the brand, overcoming insecurity and using pizza as inspiration.


On why she started designing dancewear

"When I was in law school, recovering from depression, I decided to try ballet. But looking at ballet clothing, nothing out there was really for adults.

"I decided to design my own ballet tops. And then I thought, Maybe other people will like them too! I thought, Maybe I'll do this for six months while I find a full-time job…and it just kept going and going."

On embracing social media

"The ballet scene in Singapore is very small, so if I wanted Cloud & Victory to have a chance of succeeding, my clothing had to reach an international market.

"I didn't grow up as a dancer. I didn't know anything about running a business, or manufacturing clothing. The only thing I knew was the internet.

"Xander Parish posted a picture of himself and said it looked like he was reaching for pizza. And I was like, I'll run with it—I'll put pizza in your hand! I started to realize ballet doesn't have to be really proper. You can make jokes and laugh about it.

"At first, I was hesitant to put my personality into the social media. But not talking about the aspects of ballet that I love didn't feel authentic. So I started to put more of the things I find interesting or funny into it, and people started connecting with the brand."

On running the business

"Right now, the company is just me, a part-time assistant and an intern. I tell them, 'There's nothing you do that I haven't done or don't do myself.'

"Running a business is really scary. It's easy to worry about failing all the time. But if you reframe the trying as a learning experience, it's a more helpful way to look at it."

On connecting with pro dancers

"When I started out, there was this insecurity—and sometimes there's still remnants of this—because I'm not a professional dancer, so will people be able to relate? Am I accurately reflecting the experiences of dancers?

"The struggle is pretty universal. Dancers are human. Whether you're like me, with my horrible turnout and lack of coordination, or a principal dancer with ABT or The Royal, we all struggle with the same things. We're all trying to get better, and everything hurts!"

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AMDA students learn how to present their best selves on camera. Photo by Trae Patton, Courtesy AMDA

AMDA's 4 Tips for Acing Your Next Audition

Ah, audition day. The flurry of new choreography, the long lines of dancers, the wait for callbacks. It's an environment dancers know well, but it can also come with great stress. Learning how to be best prepared for the big day is often the key to staying calm and performing to your fullest potential (and then some).

This concept is the throughline of the curriculum at American Musical and Dramatic Academy, where dance students spend all four years honing their audition skills.

"You're always auditioning," says Santana Trujillo, AMDA's dance outreach manager and a graduate of its BFA program. On campus in Los Angeles and New York City, students have access to dozens of audition opportunities every semester.

For advice on how dancers can put their best foot forward at professional auditions, Dance Magazine recently spoke with Trujillo, as well as AMDA faculty members Michelle Elkin and Genevieve Carson. Catch the whole conversation below, and read on for highlights.

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July 2021