You may know William Bracewell for his amazing talent on stage ( First Soloist with The Royal Ballet Company ) but there is another string to this mans bow and that’s his talent behind the lens!! We did an impromptu shoot a couple of months back and I wanted to share his work with you ! We did it all in 20 mins, super chilled and carefree, just the way we both like to roll ..
His Instagram account - instagram.com/williambracewell?igshid=12psz0bnypsyt
Dressed by Nicol Edmonds and the photographer himself William Bracewell......
A dancers life is very busy. Not only are we performing most evenings but during the day we're preparing for upcoming productions. It's never as simple as preparing a show and then getting it on stage and having a chance to relax during the day (contrary to what people often think...), we are constantly learning new rep and new roles. This means that we’ll have a full day of rehearsing two or three (or four or five!) different ballets throughout the day while trying to fit our normal life into gaps between rehearsals. Imagine those day to day pieces of life admin that you do while at work. The couple of minutes you spend on the phone to the estate agent, the time you slip away from the desk to coordinate dinner with your boyfriend.... now imagine doing that from within a quiet ballet studio - impossible!
Thats why those 15 minute breaks between rehearsals are so precious. You’ve got to move from studio to studio, find a second to book a physio appointment, grab somebody from wardrobe to discuss a costume alteration and find time to organise dinner! It’s still crucial to arrive in the studio ahead of the rehearsal though, arriving flustered is never good mental preparation,
I have always thought these moments before a rehearsal in the studio are something quite beautiful. I love to see the different way in which a dancer spends these precious quiet minutes.
It ranges from a quiet moment to oneself to go through repertoire with a colleague or just surfing through insta if you know you’ve got a less stressful rehearsal ahead of you. It’s just a brief moment you have for yourself and in this line of work that is appreciated indeed.
Shoutout to my amazing colleagues and to all dancers around the world , you guys rock, never forget it !
My feet. They are absolutely disgusting I know, but always want to share to my followers both sides of the ballet world- not just the perfect insta pic. I have bunions calluses, every toenail is bruised and grown in weird scary directions. But hey, they are my tool and I give them respect.
When I wear an open toe sandal during summer I paint these bad boys a bright colour to mask everything else ! I never moisturise, us dancers like a dry foot! If they are too soft you are prone to blisters around the nails, on the balls of your feet and the worst ... back of the heel ! I once had a really ( a REALLY ) bad blister on the back of my heel during a Swan Lake run. I thought adrenaline would mask the pain.... I was wrong !
My second toe is bigger than my big toe which caused a lot of stressing on the bone when I was a student. My physiotherapist Moira McCormack took me to see an orthotics specialist who designed a toe separator and lengthener to resolve the problem. It worked. I now make them myself along with many other dancers.
Here is a how-to guide ...
The toe separators last for ages. I only make new ones when I lose my previous, I rely on them so much. Tara, a friend and dancer with The Royal Ballet, made up a song about me losing my separators.. it’s hilarious and very catchy, we sometimes just break out into the song in the dressing room !!
I have had a research, and to buy these products the website is
( this is not an ad, I have not been paid to promote these products, just replying to a lot of people who have asked me if where they can buy these products !)
Every dancer has a trump card !
Can you turn for days and only stop when you fancy it ? Can you jump so high that a photographer misses your head? Do people drool when they see your insane foot arches ? Or how about a beautiful port de bras that could make a simple exercise into a piece of art? High extensions that makes a person say ‘ouch’ ? Or what about a great actress, who could tell a story with a plie exercise? We all have one, maybe two ... ( Natalia Osipova has all these cards, it’s what makes her a ballet superstar ! )
Every dancer has in my opinion ‘their thing’. You just need to find it, learn to love it and work on it even more ! Whenever I teach a masterclass, I like to go round the studio and ask each student what their trump card is and for them to announce it to the studio. It’s not boasting just learning to be confident with your attribute.
My attribute is flexibility. Yes I was born with high extensions, and walked like bambi for many years as a young student. I have been called ‘lucky’ my whole life by my fellow dancers, but it does come with a price and that is strength ! I could throw my leg up but it took me years to build muscle and technique to control that leg in a place I was happy with. The more strength I got the tighter I felt. There’s a trade-off between strength and flexibility and I had to spend as much time stretching as I did in the Pilates room. It took many years to get to a point where I was happy and confident with my adage. But of course, let’s not forget the countless hours spent practising the other parts of ballet, don’t worry I won’t go into that ! That 10,000 hours is no myth....
If you are a dancer what’s your trump card? If you are not a dancer, maybe you work in finance, or you’re a nurse you also have a card. Let’s use those cards, embrace and celebrate them...
When I was a child I loved finding old black and white photographs of ballerinas backstage. In their dressing rooms and going through the routine of preparing for a show. I just found them unbelievably glamorous and I desperately wanted to be like them - powdering their face while wearing a tutu with dressing gowns draped over chairs. Its incredible to think that I now live that life. Its not as glamorous as I imagined but its not far off!
There really are lightbulbs surrounding your mirror. They serve a purpose too, they create just the right kind of uniform glare so that you can recreate stage lighting. Eliminating shadows on the face and allowing you to see what the audience will see. We don’t have costumes draped over chairs but they are hanging up behind us on rails. If you’re getting ready for a big three act ballet you’ll have a couple of rails to hold all of the costumes (Countess Larisch in Mayerling for example) or if its a modern ballet or even an old Balanchine one its often just one single leotard hanging there! Our incredible costume department prepare all of this during the day of the show while we’re upstairs in the studios rehearsing.
Pointe shoes are either hanging up ready to be sorted or if its a big show and I’m a bit more nervous I’ll have chosen my favourite pair in the morning and they’ll be on my place ready to slip on.
At the Royal Opera House, and I think this is the same all over the world, we have a little speaker on our place that we can tune into either the Linbury Theatre or the main stage to hear whats going on. This means that when you’re getting ready for a show you can hear the orchestra warming up, the audience coming into the auditorium and start to really get in the mood. If its a really big show though and I’m nervous then I’ll turn the speaker off - it freaks me out too much!
There is a lot of mental preparation before a show, no matter whether its a big or a small role, us dancers are perfectionists and we are desperate for our performance to be perfect for the audience. This leads to a certain atmosphere on big nights in the dressing room. Often it will be chatty and we’ll all be sailing through the evening without a care in the world then occasionally on the premier of a big show you can hear a pin drop - there’s a hushed atmosphere as everybody gets into their own individual mindful space. The women in my changing room know when I’ve got a role that I’m slightly nervous about, I manically tidy my area and do long-delayed admin.
Regardless of what show I’ve danced the end of the night is always the same, an explosion of hair pins, toe tape and make-up!
So, what does Olivia eat?
So, after the success of my recent blog ‘Should You Be Eating That Cake Olivia?’
I wanted to give you a deeper insight into my diet. It’s not the perfect diet, but it’s a happy diet. I have so many stresses in my life, I don’t want to stress about what kind of honey I should be adding to my porridge according to the latest fad.
I discovered when I was 19 that I was dairy intolerant. I had no idea why I kept reacting so badly when I ate yoghurts or drank a latte. Imagine my surprise when my mum nonchalantly commented, ‘Oh yes I remember when you were a baby we had to take you off milk for a year as you kept on vomiting!’. No more yoghurts for me.....
I’m good with sheep and goats milk which is a relief because I need something to go on top of lasagne and pecorino works just fine. It also means I don’t miss out on pizza as long as I insist on buffalo mozzarella. I would hate it if I couldn’t have any cheese at all.
One thing I realise about my diet that could be different to other people my age is that I just don’t eat microwave meals (don’t even own a microwave!) and I never use sauces out of jars - they all taste the same, I think it’s the gum, stabilisers and preservatives that they use. There’s a generic ‘canned’ taste about them. I always cook my own pasta sauces and curries. I guess I’d say that I’m not a ‘natural’ cook but over the past few years I’ve made a real effort and I’ve learnt some reliable meals that I can turn to at a moment’s notice.
I always say to people that I eat healthily and what I mean by that is that I have a balanced diet. I eat wholewheat pasta and homemade sauce, brown rice and my partner bakes our nutty, wholewheat bread twice a week. Its got quite a reputation that bread - my family can’t believe we can eat it every day, its so filling!
The other side of that balance is that I just don’t really deny myself anything if I want it. After a show I might celebrate and go out for a steak frites and a glass of Champers. Before the show, not so glamorous, you’ll see me eating McCoys salt and vinegar crisps With a pint of squash ! Ryo Hirano is always laughing at me, he says they only stock McCoys because I eat them. Its usually after I’ve had a really hard day so I think actually that its salt replacement that my body is craving.
I’ve noticed that I’ve cut down on the amount of meat (particularly red meat) that I eat and I guess thats been a conscious decision, I just don’t think its healthy to have it as much as I used to. My dad was a butcher at Sainsburys while I was growing up so our meals were always centred around good quality meat, thats definitely been a change for me, I cant believe how much meat I used to eat!
I love fish but only really shellfish and white fish, I just don’t like the taste of oily fish like mackerel or sardines. I know they’re so good for you but they’re just not for me.
To give you an idea of a typical few days this is what I might eat:
When I make my porridge it’s cooked with oat milk on the hob. Sometimes if I’m feeling fruity I’ll add some golden syrup, nope sadly not honey or seeds like you should, but golden syrup because I like it !
Two massive slabs of toast with marmite or jam. This bread is hardcore, made with wholewheat and seeds.
Pasta Bolognese - Chilli Con Carne etc
If I haven’t had a show the night before and am organised, I’ll bring in meals from home. I use wholewheat pasta/rice, and of course always using my fresh sauces from home.
Out and about in Covent Garden
I’ll nip out and get a tuna baguette from Prèt A Manger or go to Benitos Hat and have a Mexican feast. Quick and easy.
Canteen at Royal Opera House
I love the canteen at work, (so much so, that I’m the ‘canteen representative’ for the Royal Ballet Company). I’ll grab a sandwich or get something hot from the counter, always a good selection to choose from.
When I’m performing in the evening I’ll eat in the canteen again, but if I’m at home then these dishes are my ‘go to’. I like to go out for dinner but can get quite pricy, so opt for these Liv classics.
Chicken Katsu Curry - Fish with breadcrumbs potatoes
Love a breaded fish drenched in vinegar with potato wedges and peas.
Love pasta. It’s so quick and easy after a long day at work.
Piled with lots of fresh salsa and guacamole with nachos on the side !
‘Ahh so I suppose you don’t eat much?’
‘Do you live on salad?’
’You must be so hungry?’
‘Do the male dancers hide the food from you?’
‘Have you been on a life long diet?’
‘Should you be eating that cake?’
Socialising as a ballerina can sometimes be tedious. Once I’ve mentioned that I’m a ballerina (and believe me, I try to stay away from the subject!) I’m constantly asked one or more of these questions. It’s almost as if people are desperate to confirm their impressions of a ballerina and once they get past the introductions its just a matter of waiting a polite amount of time before they feel they can ask.
Lets be honest, there is a certain aesthetic that is desirable for ballet. I’m incredibly lucky, I had parents who raised me in such a way that I would never have felt that I needed to diet because I wanted to be a ballerina. Like most young women there was a stage in my life when my hormones were going crazy and I was a bit plumper, but I never considered any of the fad diets of the day. Its because of this I think that I’ve got such a healthy metabolic rate, I never starved my body and in return it doesn’t stockpile bulk when I eat.
I’ve come up with what I think is a possible contributing factor. During the 50’s and 60’s women were a similar shape to other women of the day but something changed in the next few decades. I think that George Balanchine, (choreographer and artistic Director for more than 35 years with New York City Ballet) has a lot to answer for. From what I hear he was an over-bearing and emotionally manipulative character. This resulted in countless women spending years trying to live up to his idea of a perfect ballerina. In my opinion this gradually shifted the shape of ballerinas of that time in the US and of course what started in the US at that time eventually reached Europe and Asia.
Back to the questions in hand. Do you like to ask them? Does it satisfy some voyeuristic fascination? I only ask because when I answer and explain that I eat like a horse to be able to dance the hours I do, what I see in some eyes is not satisfaction but maybe a slight disappointment? Maybe the image they really want is of a dancer sitting at home, sewing her pointe shoes, watching a ballet film and eating celery sticks. What’s funny is that I do do these things ! I need to sew my pointe shoes, I have to watch ballet after work to learn up-coming repertoire in the season and I do eat celery! However alongside this, I also eat curry by the bucket, love a glass of Malbec and when I eat celery it comes with a mountain of hummus balanced on top! I also make clear when people ask, the sheer amount of dancing that we do. In terms of hours per day I can’t imagine how many calories we burn, we don’t sit around plaiting each other’s hair in the studio, our work is unbelievably strenuous and the days are very long ! I joke about what will happen when I stop dancing. Probably then I’ll have to rethink my portion sizes !
In fact, I think I’m like every other young woman I know including my ballet friends - I’ve known literally hundreds of ballerinas from my time as a student and now as a professional and while we can never truly know what goes on behind closed doors I can only think of a handful who I was sure had some kind of problem with food. Were their problems anything to do with ballet? Or were they the usual problems with self-image that all young women seem to struggle with and they just happened to be ballerinas?
Whats also interesting is that there are men and women in the ballet world and the aesthetic requirement for both genders is the same, but its only women who are asked those questions. I cant help feeling that there’s a touch of misogyny at play....
I do receive a lot of questions from young students about my diet and when I teach at summer schools or masterclasses I always emphasis the importance of a happy relationship with food. Our body’s are our instruments and unlike a violinist who can probably change their violin during their career, a dancer can’t. You gotta learn to love your body and respect it, eventually, it could pay off your mortgage !
One time, while cycling home after a show of ‘La Fille Mal Garde’, I hit a pot hole on the road and flew over my handlebars landing on my chin with full body weight ! I had a huge gash so deep you could see my chin bone. A couple who saw the accident called an ambulance and I was taken to a&e, I was absolutely fine considering the impact and just got stitched up. The reason I’m telling you this is that I also had an X-ray and the medics couldn’t believe I didn’t break a bone, not even a fracture. I felt really proud ! I think that my healthy diet had a part to play in this outcome. No frail delicate ballerina there,
So if it’s ok, could you stop asking a ballerina about her diet please ? Maybe talk about her favourite ballet or what pointe shoe brand she wears, there are so many interesting aspects to a ballerinas life, dive in ! Your response will be warmer, trust me !
To all my dancer buddies out there, you’re welcome!
Now you know that I do eat cake, the men don’t hide food from me, I don’t just eat salad and I’m not hungry, we can take a look what I do actually eat!
In next weeks blog I’ll show you inside my fridge and meals I like to cook !
Alina won the the National Dance Critic Award this year for outstanding female performance (classical) for her performance in Akram Khan’s Giselle with the English National Ballet. Alina is a very special artist and was particularly sublime in this role
The Ballet Bag
Launched this year with huge success my ballet bag also comes in a rucksack, they tick all the boxes for the ideal dance bag ! Designed by me!
To purchase the ‘it bag‘ of 2018 www.ballet.style/pointe-shoes/ballet-style-ballet-bag
Collections by Claudia
Claudia (an Ex Royal Ballet dancer) has launched an amazing range of leotards that sit alongside her huge success with ‘Claudia Dean Coaching’. The leotards come in beautiful colours and are super soft and comfortable.. bonus! Claudia Dean has nailed it with this collection, you go gurl !
The Wonderful World of Dance
A great magazine, it gives you the latest news from the dance world. It has loads of pictures ( which I love ). This recent cover starring Sergi Polunin is pretty incredible.
This year Ed celebrated 30 years with The Royal Ballet. He launched an incredible limited photographic portfolio with Rick Guest and Olivia Pomp. Dancing with Ed on stage is very special, his energy is infectious and his career keeps going from strength to strength.
F. Short Film
I directed my first short movie this year. with music by Accademia Bizantina and choreography by Jonathan Watkins. I was nervous to put myself out there in a different light but as you know... I love a challenge ! I was super proud with the outcome.
As most people know my pointe shoes are specially made by Gaynor Minden and I’m very proud to be a GM Artist for a fourth year running. I gave the GM Scholarship Award to my ( old school teacher ) Nicola Bowden’s student Olivia Apadoo. Wishing her all the success for the future. Congratulations!
This wonderous cream, has, ( in my opinion) put shows on ! It helps numb sore toes and is a ‘must have’ if you’ve had a long day of rehearsals and got a show in the evening. A ballet hack that is very popular among ballerinas.
To see the full hacking system ! www.ballet.style/journal
Best Instagram Account
Shelby Williams who is a professional ballerina with The Royal Ballet Of Flanders, has a hilarious account, Biscuit Ballerina on Instagram. Showcasing the ‘bad ballet’ (even though she is an incredible dancer) with a whole array of photos and funny clips. It makes ballet a little lighthearted. Her videos are particularly on pointe.. well .. on biscuits.
Because everyone loves a picture of a grande jetè... but to do such a beautiful jetè, with a huge king rat heat piece on, is something else. Bravo Nicol Edmonds !!!
Discovered Kiehl’s facial cream this winter ! Keeps dry winter skin at bay !
Frankie Hayward’s collaboration with Lululemon
Frankie Hayward’s collection for Lululemon, was launched this autumn. Some absolutely lovely pieces in muted tones, and the material in particular is luxurious and soft. Frankie’s pictures from the range are also very beautiful !
Another great instagram account is Ballet Moods. I literally laugh out loud when they pop up on my timeline. A meme every dancer can relate to.
An amazing ballet photographer, I was very lucky to work with him this year. Other projects are in the pipe-line for another bigger collaboration... watch this space !
To all the Swan Queens out there who do Odette/Odile from the ballet giant Swan Lake ... massive respect to them all . An unbelievably hard role technically and emotionally.
What an amazing year it has been for Matt Ball. He’s had so many principal debuts, Albrecht, Prince Siegfried, Crown Prince Rudolph to name a few. Guested in Mathew Bournes male ‘Swan Lake’ and was promoted to principle with The Royal Ballet. He’s an unbelievable hard worker and I wish him every success.
This lady is superstar and I thank her for making ballet mainstream. She starred in the recent blockbuster movie The Nutcracker And The 4 Realms. To be honest I didn’t rate the movie. The only moment I liked was the ‘ballet section’, with it’s choreography and of course Misty dancing beautifully.
Royal Opera House
Its taken three years and a fair bit of money but the Royal Opera House has opened up its doors for a brand new front of house design! They have designed it to include daytime cafe, open spaces for free events and transformed its secondary studio, the Linbury, into a new world-class theatre.
The Royal Ballet’s new -
Liam Scarlett choreographed a brand new production of Swan Lake for The Royal Ballet and what a triumph it was ! We also got to do more shows of it in Madrid, Spain.
Because everyone loves a tutu !
‘Underneath The Lake’
My behind the curtains blog on the what it takes to put a new production of Swan Lake on stage proved massively popular.
If you didn’t catch it
In the U.K the number of vegans has increased by 700% in the last 2 years, it’s proven massively popular! Tierney a dancer with The Royal Ballet lives a plant based lifestyle. Check out her blog
World Ballet Day
A whole day spreading the love of ballet around the world !!! Almost as good as Christmas Day ... ( that’s not true, I love Christmas ! )
Principal dancer with Mariinsky Theatre Company, Xander is an exceptional dancer and his career keeps on blossoming.
To catch my interview with him ..
A new one act ballet created this year on The Royal Ballet, choreographed by Wayne McGregor. It was part of triple bill, a tribute to Leonard Bernstein, set to the Chichester Psalms. Designed by Edmund de Waal. It was sublime and I felt incredibly privileged to be involved! I really do hope it comes back in the repertoire soon.
Still on top as one of my favourite shops for street style !
Thank you for following my website I hope you have enjoyed the ballet style year.
Wishing you a Merry Christmas guys and a happy new year ! 💋
Want to look like a ballerina but want to miss out on the actual physicality of it ( don’t blame you ! ). Here are my top 6 tips to look like a ballerina without pointing a toe !
My Ballerina Tested Tips....
You gotta wear pastels ! The colours need to be light and soft but don’t necessarily have to be pink. You can use soft blues, violets or any powdery hues. Mixing these colours together makes a really pretty palette and you can really go to town with different combinations.
Wearing the right material is important. Chiffon, tulle, silk anything light and airy that moves when you walk. These materials are used a lot in Ballet, because it follows our movement and glides over our body. It creates that ethereal other- worldly look
Hair tied up high in a bun is the ultimate ballet look. But you don’t have to go the whole hog. Slicked back in a high pony or in a low centre parting creates that swan lake vibe, also maybe throw in a headscarf for extra detail. Audrey Hepburn has this style down !
Fine delicate jewellery is a hit in the studio for ballerinas. Necklaces that are not too heavy on our décolletage ( for pirouettes !) and earrings that don’t weigh the earlobes down, give that fine detail to an outfit. Maybe a bit of sparkle if you are feeling uber feminine !
It’s associated with ballet students, who wear them to find their centre. It has that Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev style who both rocked the belt in the studio. I have quite an athletic body so I like to accentuate my waist with a belt.
A lot of people assume that ballerina’s are very confident because a good posture can convey this. Shoulders back, chin in, pelvis neutral and you are in to looking like a ballerina instantly. However don’t walk with your feet turned out .. that’s just a bit too far !
Thank you for reading and maybe it’s inspired you to get your ballet grove on ! 💕
Good toes, naughty toes, good toes .........
There’s a craze with us dancers at the Royal Opera House ... Huel. It’s a meal replacement Shake containing a blend of Oats, Pea Protein, Flaxseed, Brown Rice, vitamins, and loads of other healthy ingredients. I find other shakes quite difficult to stomach but this is quite tasty, it’s also vegan and although I’m not vegan I am intolerant to dairy and find they use mostly whey protein in other protein shake brands.
I tried it two years ago and haven’t looked back since. I sometimes replace my lunch with it, but usually swig it during the day for extra energy and calories. If I’m doing a big show then it’s ALWAYS by my side. It just keeps the energy levels up so you can feel the same in Act 3 as you felt in Act 1..... well almost !! It’s very digestible too so you don’t get that heavy, lethargic feeling.
It doesn’t look like it’s just me who’s keen, I‘ve spotted dancers also getting there fuel from Huel, and wearing the brand as it’s a pretty cool label to be associated with !
... FYI Huel did not pay me for this feature !!
If ya wanna join our gang here is a link
A weeks worth of ballet looks displayed !
Tutu to start the week off.
A nice peachy pink knit to keep me warm on this cold day. Game face is on!
Knit - m.hm.com
Dark and interesting ?!? Long skirt needed for rehearsals and a belt to clinch the waist in.
Leotard - www.basilicadancewear.com/
Belt - designed by me !
A more relaxed vibe with fringe swept back in a headband. This top was my mums, she was going to throw it out I was like ‘ No ... this is perfect for the studio, please I’ll take it !’ ... I did !
Top - www.marksandspencer.com
Headband - Japan
On 0.0000001 acres of land enjoying an Earl Grey. It may be 12 degrees but the legs are out ! Time to rest those tootsies.
Hope you enjoyed my weeks worth of looks, more blogs coming soon ! 💕
Third in my series, I wanted to focus on primer.
Primer is used for under your makeup, it gives your complexion a little boost, blurs blemishes and amps up the radiance ! I have only in the last year started to use primer with stage make up, and I have to say it has not just giving a dewy look but also helped to prevent breakouts that you can sometimes get when wearing such thick make up every night. Also, after long days in the ballet studio and heavy shows in the evening you find by the morning your skin looks tired, no matter how much moisturiser you put on it needs a booster, so primer is a big thing in my life right now ! I have knuckled down on a few of my favourites..
Here they are ..
La Base Hydro Glow
This was a lovely base to start with. Didn’t quite last the full 24 hrs that it’s says, however, it smelt lovely and gave a very subtle glow. W
The pearl tint creates that lovely soft focus effect. At £12.50 i think it’s an excellent purchase for its price.
I really like this one ! It’s great if your wearing heavier foundation ( like stage make up ) and really does last ! A great find.
Away We Glow
The dropper applicator in this lightweight luminizer, lets you add a dose of glow to your foundation. Or moisturiser for a natural, no fuss face. I love it !!!! It gives me that ‘just had a holiday’ look.
It’s advertised as a moisturiser but I feel it acts more like a primer... It’s divine ! It’s super light but gives you that look you get when you’ve just have a facial ! There is a downside.. it’s on the pricy side.
This week I have chosen the female back ! I have found some beautiful and unusual designs. When we move our arms in ballet it all comes from our back muscles, and this is how we get that graceful ports de bras. It's where we start our expression so we never underestimate the importance of a pretty back.
Cammy wearing a gorgeous strappy number.
Lovely scooped back with lace detailing from Yu hang.
Mica wearing an Adidas crop top underneath her Ivy Park leotard.
Lovely intricate lace detailing here on this leotard. Amelia wears it well !
This series of 10 snappy questions offers a look behind-the-curtain and gain an insight into a dancers stylish lives.
This week Ballet.Style meets ...
Solomon Golding, dancer with San Francisco Ballet and in my opinion a style leader !
What style do you like most in the studio ?
My studio style varies depending on whether I want my body being seen or not. Most dancers have experienced that feeling of just not wanting to be faced with themselves in a mirror first thing on a Monday morning! On days like these I like to wear my Aviator Nation super worn sweat pants. They are very comfortable and allow me to reach my full range of movement without getting in the way. On days when I feel like a bit more comfortable or if I'm in coaching and really need to see how my body is working, I like to wear tights or shorts. I usually like something with a pop of colour because life is too short and really enjoy pairing those with a fun graphic t-shirt.
How would you describe your fashion outside the ballet studio ?
My fashion outside of the studio is very much curated by me for me. I really feel that fashion is another form of self expression for me and it is something that I have a lot more room to be myself within. It has changed a lot throughout the years and I like looking back at outfits and knowing exactly what I was going through at that point in time. I wear hats and I think they are a motif for me. At the moment I'm really enjoying playing with silhouettes and illusion. Double waistlines have really caught my attention and I am liking the idea of fashion not being so much of what you wear but how you wear it and have had a lot of fun wearing what I already own in a different way.
Tell me how you have styled your home ?
My home space is quite minimal. I like black, especially in my bedroom, so my chest of drawers, bin and laundry basket are all black. My bed is also black but it's a super minimal metal scaffolding frame. I love to be surrounded by plants so I have plants in my room and the pots are black also.
What’s your favourite meal to cook ?
I don't cook at all. Some of the guys in San Francisco Ballet took me to the most amazing Thai restaurant called Bai Thong and I'm a little bit obsessed now. Also California has the best Mexican food outside of Mexico so I can be regularly found at one the amazing Mexican restaurants in San Francisco.
What your number one make-up product or beauty ritual?
I recently changed my foundation for shows to the Fenty Beauty collection and it was the best thing I've ever done. I also wear the same colour as Rihanna so I'm well chuffed about that. My skin always gets so irritated by shaving but I recently found an amazing lotion called Tend Skin Solution and I use it after shaving and I barely get razor bumps anymore. I also discovered this amazing vitamin-E oil that's hyper concentrated called 'Sundown Naturals Vitamin-E Oil 70,000 iu' and has done wonders on my skin but I'd suggest mixing it with Palmers or another moisturiser as it is very viscous and is hard to spread on your skin by itself.
What do you eat before a big show ?
I usually eat at 5pm for a 7:30pm show and that would be a normal sized meal of whatever I fancy. I wouldn't ever eat a curry or anything spicy before a show for obvious reasons but other than that I'm not that restricted on what I'll eat before a show and it varies depending on what I'm doing in the show. Sometimes nerves might mean I won't eat until after the show.
What do you get up to on your day off ?
On my day off I like to sleep a lot. I recently moved to the US and going to the cinema is an experience and a half. Everything is super sized and loud and amazing! I also like to work on things like my website or work on outside projects that I don't have the time to give attention to whilst working.
Where is your favourite place to tour ?
My favorite place to tour probably has to be Japan. I just adore Japan. It's so eccentric and I really appreciate the culture and I could also live off of sticky white rice and Japan is definitely the place for it! A close second would be New York City and I really enjoyed Chicago and Washington DC when I went with The Royal Ballet.
What are you reading at the moment ?
There is a great series of books called The Last Interview. They are a selection of interviews with famous individuals who have now passed on. I read James Baldwins, a famous gay African American writer and activist, and was absolutely humbled by the intelligence and eloquence of his answers about race, sexuality and religion especially from a gay black man in the midst of the Civil rights movement in America.
Is there anything you are doing outside of the ballet world you would like to share ?
I recently went to Los Angeles to shoot a music video for an amazing musician and song writer called Harrison Kipner. It was shot and directed by Brantley Gutierrez who has made music videos for Arcade Fire and Diplo so I'm super excited to see the finished product. I was also recently interviewed by a Nigerian based magazine called 'A Nasty Boy' which explores otherness in people, culture and society.
To see more of Solly..
Second in my Ballerina Tested series ...
As a ballerina we can’t wear dark nail polish while we are performing for lots of reasons. Firstly, it’s a bit too individual and it’s distracting at the end of your fingers, hands are so expressive in ballet, you don’t want anything to distort that. Even when I was a student and not performing my teacher wouldn’t allow it, ‘not classical’ was the reply when I enquired. However I like the ceremony of putting on nail polish and it makes me feel ‘done’. So to get around this I wear pink or natural like a lot of other dancers around the world. I have a large collection of pink nail polishes but I thought I would ‘ballerina test’ all the ballet inspired ones to see which ones hits top spot !
Chanel - Ballerina 167
I had to start with Chanel, it’s super luxurious ! The polish was a very natural pink, with a high shine. It lasted for 3 days without any chips, I think for its price, however, it should last a bit longer.
Essie - Ballet Slippers
Was very impressed with this one. It’s quite watery while applying but it dried super fast, a soft pink and left my nails very strong as well. Bonus !
Barry M - Ballerina
A very reasonable price with a little shimmer. However the tone was more ‘Barbie pink’ than ‘Ballerina pink’.
L’Oréal - Rose Ballet 22
Liked this a lot. But it is a little too dark for on stage. Applied this on my toenails instead.
OPI - Somewhere Over The Rainbow Mountains
So, one of my favourites! Was a slightly dusty pink, which I liked, and lasted for ages, which I loved, and the application was satisfying if you know what I mean ?!?
What are you waiting for ?!?! Paint those nails a BalletStyle Ballerina pink and let me know your favourites ! 🤗
Dance photography- Rachel Hollings ... thank you 🙏🏻
My top 5 ballet costumes from this season. It was a tough one this year !
Monya - Giselle
So beautiful and dreamy this costume. It glides with you while you dance. I love the extra tulle around the arms, creates that romantic / eerie port de bras. Also nicely nipped in at the waist.
Courtesan - Manon
This role has a few costume changes but this particular costume shown below I really like. It also comes with a huge array of accessories, white gloves, veils, muffs and a very luxurious coat ! The coat is on the heavy side, like, really heavy, but you only do a few steps before you get down and dirty with the big dancing ! I think this coat screams Dolce and Gabbanna, what do you think ?!
Lead Flower - The Nutcracker
Such a beautiful costume this one. It also fits me perfectly. I love how the sleeves don’t cling but drape just above the elbow and that the actual tutu isn’t too stiff but hangs slightly past the bodice. Dreamy.
Spanish Princess- Swan Lake
This is the Spanish Princess costume from The Royal Ballet’s new production of Swan Lake, designed by the incredible John McFarlane. It has so much depth for a tutu. In layer and richness of colour and the huge array of materials used, velvet and silks complete the look. However this costume needs to be worn a few more times ( like 50-75 ) to be perfect ! It’s a little stiff and you sometimes get this with new tutus. Ballerinas ( and their male partners ) love a tutu when it’s been a bit worn and used !
Number 1 ..
Yugen was a new 1 Act ballet this season choreographed by Wayne McGregor to Leonard Bernstein’s score ‘Chichester Psalms’. It was an incredible ballet and I was very lucky to have had such a divine role in it. All costumes were gender neutral, in tones of burnt reds. I loved how I was wearing the same as the men on stage yet played a feminine role, it was incredibly empowering. The silk material draped when you danced and created shapes with your body. Hopefully this ballet comes back to the Opera House soon !
Performance photography- Rachel Hollings
Here is a closer look at the beautiful costumes from The Royal Ballet’s new production of Swan Lake. Designed by the talented John McFaralane.
Last night The Royal Ballet opened its new production of Swan Lake at Teatro Real in Madrid and what a night it was ! The show went down a storm, and to celebrate, the theatre held a very glamorous after-show party on the terrace over looking the Palace. However my eyes were focused on the super glam dancers, who really know how to dress for an occasion !
I’ve noticed for a while that my photos could be at a better quality !!!
I’m investing in a good camera this summer for more quality snaps in next seasons blogs ! I’m totally on it 👌
It takes a lot of preparation to put on a new production as big as Swan Lake !! Here’s a sneak peek how this masterpiece came alive ...
Mood Board was in our practise studio so us dancers could get an idea of stye and set design while rehearsing.
We had many costume fittings in the lead up to the first night. They were between rehearsals so were usually accompanied with comfy trainers !
There are so many costumes for this production, not all can be in our dressing room. So some have to be left outside in the corridor.
This is our hair and make-up board. Dancers refer to this before getting ready for the show so we know exactly where the headdress should be aligned, styling of hair, and make up, (centre parting, colour lipstick etc).
Czardas headdresses too big to put in boxes !
Our pearl swan earrings all named in individual boxes for us to collect before the show.
Stage rehearsals are when we try on our costumes for the first time while dancing and it’s only when you are dancing in them that you really get a feel of how it fits. Most costumes we share, so it can only be a tweak here and there. After each act we have the dress makers in our dressing rooms to jot down the adjustments. Incredible team 🙌
Quick change area from Act 1 to Act 2 by side stage. We have around 4 mins to change our headdress and change costume to our feathery tutu !
With the legend that is John McFarlane who designed this production!! 🌟
The Team. The Royal Ballet.
A CLOSER LOOK AT THE COSTUMES AND HEADRESSES IN NEXT WEEKS BLOG !! 💕