So, here in London we are back in another national lockdown. I am really hopeful that there is light at the end of the tunnel, because the pandemic has been especially hard for the arts, and for dance and dancers. However, the situation has been quite severe in the UK since the start of 2021, so like many things, dance classes have been moved online under the current advice to stay at home.
Professional dance is still allowed to go ahead under the current restrictions, and in January I was supposed to be taking part in the third phase of RESET 2020 (or rather RESET 2021) with Studio Wayne McGregor, this time on the two-week course for professional dancers. However despite professional dance being allowed to continue, Studio Wayne McGregor felt that due to the severity of the situation and the general message to stay at home, it would not be responsible to go ahead with the programme in-person and so encourage people to travel to and from the studios. Therefore, the classes were moved online.
This was a big blow for me because I had experienced a few rejections and disappointments in November and December, and this was the one thing I was really clinging to! I live in a one bedroom attic flat in London. It’s pretty small, and we have a very characterful but also very inconvenient sloping ceiling due to being in the roof. This makes taking class at home an absolute nightmare. It is possible, but it’s a bit of a constant struggle. During the first lockdown back in the spring of 2020, it left me really drained of any motivation to train. As a general rule, I don’t participate in Zoom classes because of this, especially if I have to pay for them because I don’t feel I get as much out of the class as I should- but I do make the occasional exception, for example the Royal Ballet School Summer Intensive, which is something I would not have otherwise been able to experience. However the RESET classes were not only a free opportunity, but something I really didn’t want to miss out on, so I decided to give them a go and try my best!
I should mention that these were my first official professional dance classes. Of course I’ve attended professional level classes in the past, but this is the first time I was taking actual company classes as a graduated professional, which was really exciting for me! Knowing how much I tend to struggle with motivation when it comes to Zoom classes, I decided to add an element of fun by experimenting with some different looks each day. I didn’t continue to take Zoom classes every day past a week, but these are the looks that I did in that time- there are 6 days of style inspiration here. Detailed descriptions of the images are in the captions at the end of each gallery.
My inspiration for the first day was a classic or vintage kind of look. I wore traditional pink tights and soft ballet shoes with ribbons. I wore a Grishko black lace leotard and a short chiffon black wrap skirt by Bloch.
I wore my hair in a bun with a side parting, and I slightly twisted the front parts of the hair so that it wasn’t pulled so far back off my face in the bun. For makeup, I wore a winged liner and red lipstick. I think that seamed tights would have looked amazing with this aesthetic, but I don’t have any unfortunately!
On day two we had an absolute disaster in that the heating and hot water for our whole street was broken, due to Thames Water doing some work and accidentally hitting the gas pipe! It was absolutely freezing, so I took inspiration from that and styled my look based loosely on an ‘ice princess’ theme! I also had to wear many many layers to warm up at the start of class!
For this look, I wore my current favourite leotard, which is my Claudia Dean Collections Bluebell Lily from the Floral Collection (this is a gifted item). I paired this with my favourite ever skirt, the ombré swan rehearsal skirt by Cloud & Victory, AKA the Mariañela skirt (Mariañela Nunez of the Royal Ballet has the same one!). Plus the usual pink ballet tights and shoes with ribbons- my shoes by the way are the So Danca stretchy flats that everyone loves! The reason I wear ribbons is because it’s required at the dance school I attend for pre-professional classes.
I wore my hair in two Dutch braids, because I knew that I would need to wear a hat for warmth at the beginning of class and I wanted a hairstyle that I could easily wear a hat over- however I actually loved the look of this slightly different hairstyle with a ballet outfit! It wouldn’t be great for lots of turns in the studio but it was no problem for me just doing a bit of turning at home.
For make up, I wore a mauvey-pink eyeshadow in the crease with an iridescent shade on the lid, and a less pronounced winged liner compared to day one. I added lots of highlight and a darker pink lip colour.
For warming up, as well as all of the above, I started class wearing joggers, warm-up boots, a jumper, a jacket, a scarf and a hat!
Day three was one of my favourite days, and more reflective of my own personal style. I didn’t have a very defined theme for this look- I think I was just dressing the way I’d probably usually dress as a dancer in a professional context (for my pre-pro classes even though we don’t have a uniform, I dress more appropriately for the school environment, more neat and tidy and I wouldn’t wear an accessory like a scarf). I think that there was definitely something similar in this look to some of the ones that Olivia Cowley presents on her Ballet Style blog!
I wore a red camisole leotard from Bloch- it looks a bit more orange because of the edit on the photos, but it is red. I’ve always loved this leotard but it isn’t very supportive in the chest, so I wore a crop top underneath made from a pair of old ballet tights which gives some extra support as well as extra warmth (although by this time the heating was mercifully back on!). I wore a wrap skirt which I bought in Dancia in Covent Garden and I have no idea what the actual brand is, the usual pink tights and shoes, plus my ancient (I mean really ancient) Bloch warm-up boots. I accessorised with a vintage silk scarf in my hair, which was in a messy-ish bun. To create this look, after doing my bun I folded the scarf into a thinner strip, wrapped it around my head and tied it in a bow at the top, before securing with bobby pins which I crossed over to prevent the scarf from slipping off.
To make the crop top, just take an old pair of tights and cut out the crotch/ gusset area- this becomes the hole for your head- and cut off the feet, which becomes the sleeves. The waist band is the bottom part of the top. It’s great over or under a leotard for extra warmth and also a bit more support if your leotard is lacking!
We had contemporary class after ballet, so I threw on this grey jumper from Bloch, my boyfriend’s shorts, and a pair of thick socks.
On day four I had a problem with my eye, so I couldn’t wear contact lenses or any eye make up. I felt like a more simple look in general might be nice, so I wore a black camisole leotard with thicker straps from Bloch, some simple black trousers from Primark, and a black zip-up jacket which is from Bloch but I actually got it in a charity shop (brand new with the tag still on it- best charity shop find of my life!). I wore socks and intended to take class in those instead of shoes because the ribbons were starting to irritate my achilles, however they were way too slippery so I changed into ballet shoes after plies!
I wore my hair in a ponytail, and I wanted to straighten my hair for this look but I didn’t have time, and just simple natural make-up with a little lip colour.
Day Five was based on a request I got from an Instagram follower for a pink theme! I still had a sore eye and couldn’t wear eye make up or contacts, which is a shame because I would have liked to do a more creative pink eye make-up. However I styled my hair in a half-halo style braid, but it is a simpler version than a true halo braid, which would go around the head in one singular braid and is quite tricky to get right (I wasn’t about to attempt it for a 10am class!). For this one, you simply style your hair in two French braids, braiding along the sides of the head rather than straight down the back like the day two braids. Then you can simply pin the long ends up at the back, going from the nape of the neck and back up the side, folding the loose hair at the ends under and tucking it away.
I wore one of my favourite leotards, which is a custom one from LuckyLeo in the cherry blossom print- this was a birthday gift from my partner last year I think and it’s super pretty. I teamed it with the Cloud and Victory rehearsal skirt again as I don’t have a pink skirt but I do think this one looks lovely with the leotard.
Day six is probably my personal favourite of all the looks. I took inspiration from the “e-girl” aesthetic, and I found videos on TikTok to give me ideas for the make-up and outfit style. Here I expressed myself mostly with the make-up, wearing a grungy red eyeshadow with winged eyeliner. I did a big wing that flicks upwards and a smaller flick downwards at the outer corner, which is something I probably wouldn’t have been brave enough to wear in person if I wasn’t just doing a Zoom class, but I actually really liked how the make-up looked on me. I also wore lots of blush over both the cheeks and the nose, and peachy matte lipstick. I kept it on when I went out to the shops afterwards, and when I stopped for coffee the barista told me she loved my eye make up (I had a mask on covering the bottom part of my face of course) which made me feel validated, because I did feel like I might be too old to pull it off!
I wore my hair in two buns with some loose strands at the front. The two-bun look is actually a firm favourite of mine, but I think it worked especially well with this look and make-up.
I was limited in how well I could portray this aesthetic within a ballet outfit, so I played on the element of using layers. I brought back the crop top made of tights, this time under a simple black camisole leo from Bloch, and wore a grey wrap skirt by Libertas Atelier. I added another vest top over this, too, but I had to take it off quite early in the class because I got hot with all those layers!
That’s it for this six days of Zoom class looks. I would love if you could let me know in the comments which is your favourite, as well as any other ideas for looks I can try in the future!
Keep dancing (in style),