Dance has an incredible ability to transcend boundaries – we love it because it keeps us active, healthy and fit, and you can also look really great doing it. I’ve always admired dancers and how fantastic and graceful they look, and so it’s totally understandable that the world of fashion seeks to emulate the styles involved. No matter what the form of dance, there’s often a whole ‘look’ that goes along with it. Some might argue that this look is as integral to the dance as the actual movement involved. After all – dance isn’t just a sport, it’s a performance!
Flamenco dancing is certainly an art form. It’s native to the Spanish regions of Andalusia, Extremadora and Murcia, and it really incorporates a mix of everything. There’s singing, dancing, vocalisations, guitar playing and even handclaps thrown in for good measure! When dealing specifically with the dance style, it’s absolutely mesmerising, full of energy and everything about it is classically Spanish, showcasing the passion of their culture and traditions. It’s estimated to have been around since the late 1700s, so it’s something that’s deeply ingrained into the Spanish way of life.
Most people will be familiar with the frilly, voluminous dresses female Flamenco dancers traditionally wear. Last year, Seville showcased this beautiful aesthetic when it hosted the International Flamenco Fashion Show. With a vast quantity of lace, polka dots and general ‘puffiness’ on show, the event highlighted how the style has spilled over into the general fashion world. Want to copy? Going to watch dancing is a great excuse for dressing up (I personally dressed up for the ballet), so, if you fancy checking out a local Flamenco performance, why not use some tasteful Spanish-themed accessories to bring your outfit to life?
This martial art disguised as dancing has been around for over 500 years, but it really started to take off in the last century. Originating in Brazil, the performance-based sport incorporates fighting and dancing. It is said that the dance element is used as a way to hide combat moves until the last possible moment! In many ways, it’s all about keeping your cards close to your chest; a poker face, as it were. Capoeiristas must exhibit quick-thinking and effective strategy, just like the card game itself. It’s all about trickery, illusion and utilising the art of bluffing, to emerge on top of your game.
Capoeira fashion has influenced you more than you might know, with copycat white attire seen all over the world. Thanks to its growing popularity (it’s even been in The Hunger Games), more and more people are keen to adopt the fierce but still super cool look. It’s cropped up in upcycling fashion shows, and even been featured in action editorials. Be careful, however – when dressing in associated fashion or even taking part, you should be careful not to appropriate the culture too much without making the effort to learn about its history. It’s an art form to be respected.
Admit it… cheerleading is a bit tacky but still cool, and part of you always wanted to get involved. This sport was the ultimate signifier of popularity in all those American cult movies we binge watched as teens, so it’s perhaps not surprising that over 1.5 million people participate in the activity in the States. Over here, it’s starting to gain traction too, with university teams helping to make up the estimated 100,000 participants getting involved outside the USA. Comprising a mixture of tumbling, jumps, stunting and, of course, dance, this is a serious business (but you get to look super cute whilst taking part). In fact, you are judged on your image whilst on the mat at cheerleading competitions, with points being given for things as arbitrary as matching bows, right through to the cheeky smile on your face!
The cheerleader look is one we’re all familiar with. The style of the skirt is just short enough to be cheeky, whilst still leaving plenty to the imagination, and the tops tend to feature team colours and logos. Stylewise, there’s plenty to draw inspiration from. If you want the real deal, First Cheer have got you covered. You can order something authentic! Uniforms for cheerleaders have changed drastically over the years, and it doesn’t need to be about flashing skin! There is a lot to say for vintage cheerleading style, which is generally a little more conservative and features plenty of pleats. Personally, I’m a huge fan of dance-inspired vintage wear. Finally, let’s not forget the influence that the cheerleader uniform has had on the famous athleisure casual sportswear trend – which has taken the world by storm.
Whilst some might argue that fussing over the fashion choices of such talented performers distracts focus from their amazing abilities, I would disagree. If anything, a distinct style only adds to what they do. And, if a particular style is the ‘in thing’, that can only ever be a good thing… after all, when something’s cool, people want to emulate it. And what better to emulate than a skill which focuses on posture and grace, whilst teaching dedication and determination? I quit the gym earlier this year and am focusing on yoga at the moment… maybe it’s time I took up dance too?!