Heroism and heartbreak are several of the most prevalent themes in life, especially for a New Yorker. Let’s face it, if you have lived in any of the 5-boros during the last dozen or so years, then you have seen heroes and heartbreakers among you — they may have tugged on your heartstrings or even played music (cue Sarah McLachlan song.) Whether you survived Sandy or the Bush Administration, or even the ‘Sex and the City’ series finale, one way or another these events have affected and shaped the personality you have today. Nowadays, you can #breakup via a tweet or text without remorse, would probably never ever be caught dead in a scrunchie, and are almost always prepared the day before a nor’easter or designer sample sale strikes. Oh the New Yorker lifestyle!
However, New York can be a pretty lonely place even though we are surrounded by millions of people daily (the subway during rush hour, the line at Whole Foods, the Wicked lottery, etc.,) and although technology has produced a profusion of positives, it has carved grand canyons between human-to-human interaction and made all of us some sort of Kardashian — some people think a community is a thing you join on Facebook. Long gone are those days when you had to ride your Huffy or take the subway to tell your friend about Joey leaving Dawson for Pacey. Why the need to put on your shoes when you can just update a social media status? More and more I find that we pass the time Ecommerce shopping or binge watching Felicity on Hulu, and less and less are activities that involve people. And yes, I am guilty as a Winona Ryder!
I needed to get out of the 10019 bubble and not fuggedabout the love I have for New York, so I went on my quintessential Manhattan stroll that starts on Hudson and Bleecker and moves down to MacDougal where I detour until I find my way into Washington Square Park. Although I love fashion, I am not a big fan of the SoHo-fication of Bleecker St. I admit I fueled that flame by often patronizing Marc Jacobs (that day I needed a new iPhone cover.) Aside from MJ, I frequented my usual pit-stops like Magnolia (no line!!!) and The Cornelia Street Cafe. I dodged traffic and queues leading into pizzerias by meandering onto quiet blocks that transitioned into busy streets populated by Spa Belles and tattoo parlors. I ended up at a familiar place — the front door of The Joffrey School of Ballet. So, I asked the question: “are we Human, or are we Dancer?”
I remember having to climb “up the steep and very narrow stairway” just to reach that dark and dingy changing room — it was nothing like Center Stage. This was my second act of heroism with the first being the big move to the Big Apple. The Joffrey School of Ballet in the Village was definitely “Dance Ten, Looks Three” in regards to facility, but the instructors were classical technicians who taught you the movement and vocabulary to chassé and grand jeté your way onstage. It also takes a heroic determination and moments of heartbreak to be successful in the art of ballet. In the foreword of Carine Roitfelds’s 2nd issue of CR magazine dedicated to dance, she writes: “Ballet is hard work, and it is one of the last art forms that is done with pure motives — ballet stars rarely sign huge endorsement deals or become world famous. More likely they are real people giving themselves fully to one passion…Because ballet is an art form that breaks the body and the soul.” At some point, you make the difficult decision of continuing the dance or choosing a new partner. I love and adore the ballet, but in a way, it was my Noel Crane. Fashion is my Ben Covington.
I would like to dedicate this post to Ballet (Noel,) because time and time again it has beautifully danced a pas de deux with Fashion (Ben,) and I am very Felicity Porter. The collaborations between Christian Lacroix and the Paris Opera Ballet and the recent assemblé of Valentino and the New York City Ballet are examples of the synergistic rapport between the two artistic mediums. Both worlds do not exist without the body. The dance is an expression erupting from within, and the cloth enhances the narrative by adding layers to the character.
Recently, ballet has been influencing fashion offstage, and I don’t mean wearing your Capezio tights as meggings. Project Runway’s fourth season winner Christian Siriano’s SS13 collection is directly inspired by ABT’s (American Ballet Theatre) The Dream. It is his version of an “off-duty ballerina” and girl be “fierce!” And although deprived of silk chiffon, colorful tulle and layers of organza, Nicolas Ghesquiere’s final SS13 collection at Balenciaga was influenced by dance if not specifically ballet. Many of the looks in his collection included midriffs and leotard inspired tops. I am sure some fashion forward girls will be wearing these to an Ailey Extension class. However, the most apparent union is the ballerina flat. From Chanel to Chloé, almost every major label has made it a staple.
As in Swan Lake or Giselle, the ballerina is the embodiment of heroism and heartbreak in one. (S)he is the epitome of grace under painful pressure, and rigorously works to give you an effortless performance only for the bravos and the bravas onstage at the Metropolitan or at a performing arts center in Omaha. That’s the benefit of being a New Yorker, incredible dancers are your friends and neighbors, and watching an inspiring performance at Lincoln Center or at the Joyce is a chassé or subway ride away; you really don’t have to YouTube it. Get away from a Kardashian or a Real Housewife and force yourself to be among the humans. So are dancers human? Maybe, but they’re definitely heroes among us. And yes, “everything was beautiful at the ballet.”
Pick the perfect flat to plié in. A Nude Ballerina will help elongate your legs and create a clean line.