My first season with Ballet Arkansas has officially come to an end. It has been an exciting year for me, filled with many opportunities to dance in some of my favorite roles. I especially enjoyed the roles of Kitri, in Don Q, and Arabian, in Nutcracker. Before joining Ballet Arkansas I danced with Milwaukee Ballet’s second company for two years. Dancing during 40th anniversary season of Ballet Arkansas was the first time that I did not have a required dress code in the studio.
The studio in my home town, where I trained for many years, had a dress code of pink tights and black leotards. As we got a bit older we were sometimes allowed to wear a skirt for rehearsals or variations class. Summer intensives also usually had strict dress codes of solid leotards based on levels, and pink tights. Even in the second company, there was a very strict dress code. We could wear colored and patterned leotards, but only pink tights worn under the leotard, and no skirts or warm ups of any kind.
Each dancer in the company of Ballet Arkansas has their own studio style. I noticed this during my audition last spring. One of the many things I was excited about when invited to join Ballet Arkansas, was having the freedom to dress in my own style. There are many dancewear lines that offer options to customize the color, fabric, and cut, of leotards. This makes it easy to find the styles in which you feel most comfortable and confident. Ballet Arkansas is fortunate enough to be sponsored by Footlights Dance store, which is locally owned and operated here in Little Rock. Footlights offers a beautiful and diverse selection of dancewear and shoes for people of all ages. For my Personal studio style, I gravitate towards earth tone colors like tans, greens, and rusts versus bright, vibrant colors. I also would much rather wear black, tan, or no tights at all, rather than pink tights which make me feel very academic. I also tend to go through phases with my studio style-sometimes ditching the leotard all together for a more athletic look, wearing workout leggings, sports bra, and flowy top. Towards the end of the season I started wearing more patterned leggings instead of tights.
Having this freedom in the studio is important, because at least in my case, if I feel confident in what I’m wearing, this confidence comes across in my dancing. It also shows off a bit of my personality in the studio. I’ve experienced that this company, under the leadership of Michael and Catherine Fothergill, do a great job of celebrating and encouraging the individuality and uniqueness of each dancer. By allowing this flexibility of attire in studio style, each dancer can express themselves through dress and let their personality shine during company class and rehearsals. I’m grateful to be allowed the freedom to express myself through my studio style, and am looking forward to the start of the 41st season here at Ballet Arkansas.