HOW FASHION INFLUENCED MY DANCING
Something you might not know about me:
I remember being eight dancing to Britney Spear's Lucky in a poofy red and white dress on my parent's bed of our tiny studio apartment. This is my first memory of dancing. And even as a recall this moment from deep within my memory bank, it's strange that I remember exactly what I was wearing - how the dress moved with me as I twirled, how it bounced as I dipped and how it fell as I bent.
Since then, I've trained in ballet, modern, tap, salsa and hip-hop. One of my favorite things about learning so many different styles of dance was discovering so many different styles of dress.
BALLET was self-love - every day, I studied my body in the mirror hugged by leotards and tights and that sheer act of repetition and familiarity is what helped me fall in love with my body for the beautiful silhouette it created.
MODERN was nonjudgmental - it taught me to feel comfortable in my own skin so I liked to wear baggy clothes because I felt like I was just dancing for me inside them. (side note: more than any other style of dance, modern pushed me to focus fully on how the movement felt within my body and for that I am forever grateful).
TAP was awkward - maybe I just wasn't very good at it or maybe it's because all the other girls dropped out so I ended up taking that class alone for one and a half hours twice a week every week... but regardless I seem to have blocked out that memory so I have no idea what I wore.
SALSA was sexy - before salsa, I had no idea where my hips were. Seriously. But now they rock and they sway and if I'm wearing heels - I am unstoppable.
And lastly, HIP-HOP. Hip-hop is my love - this is not to say that it is my best form of expression; in fact it may even be my worst. But hip-hop has been the most challenging and simultaneously rewarding of all the styles I have studied. The power, freedom, bliss that I feel when I move is new. It's addicting and it's tantalizing and I feel the most me. And what do I wear? The question is what don't I wear - and perhaps that's why it's my favorite.
I have found that what I wear for hip-hop is as versatile as my own style. I will either create beautiful silhouettes, drape myself in baggy clothes or combine all these elements that I once isolated to their respective style of dance.
It had never really occurred to me that what I wear while I dance actually helps to shape my understanding of it. For without the melding of dance with fashion, I wouldn't have been able to experience my movement to its fullest potential - and perhaps that's why one of my earliest memories is of the red and white dress that bounced as I twirled.
Outfit pieces from Muvmint by Maria Hilario - crafted with dancers in mind.