In Theme: Lord of the Dance

Point shoes and tutus


“All She Wants to Do is Dance,” sang Don Henley in his 1980s trench coat, and he was right. I do want to dance. Vicariously. This week in MR themes, I’m all about ballet.

Rent: Center Stage 

Are you sitting? Good, because this movie came out fourteen years ago, and no one could take that news on their feet. But it holds up — big time. For those of you who have never seen it (and never experienced true joy, I gather), Center Stage follows an innocent girl as she gets into the grueling world of New York City ballet. I don’t know about you, but that was the first sex scene that made me blush. To be honest, it still does. For the high brow alternative, there’s always Black Swan, but I’d rather indulge in some good old fashioned nostalgia.

Wear: Blush

You might not be able to walk to the kitchen without tripping three times, but you can approximate the grace of a ballerina by stealing her color scheme. For a 10/10, wear nude ballet flats as well.

Watch: City.Ballet

This AOL-produced web series about the New York City Ballet (now on season 2) is narrated by Sarah Jessica Parker. It’s nuts. Each episode is about six minutes of glory and drama. I highly recommend it. Let me know if you teared up because I totally didn’t, not at all.

Try: A ballet-inspired workout

The NYC studio, Ballet Beautiful,  is frequented by more than one Victoria’s Secret model. Miranda Kerr and Lily Aldridge’s Instagram have more proof for the success of this method than I could ever write. Lucky for us, Mary Helen Bowers, professional ballerina and founder of the method, has several DVDs available for purchase. Please try one and tell me if you get longer and leaner. Requesting for a friend. Also, if you’re the kind of person who likes to match her wardrobe to her workout (no judgement) Net-A-Porter sells the Ballet Beautiful line of leotards and other dance related things.

Do: A Ballerina Bun

If you need a refresher on what this says about you, we have your back. Look like the kind of person whose apartment is a study in beautiful beiges with this really polished ‘do. If the rest of you looks picked-this-shirt-up-off-the-floor sloppy, your hair will counter that, and people will marvel at your put-togetherness.

Look: Little Shao’s Ballerina Photos 

The Paris-based photographer’s series of ballerinas posing in city streets isn’t new, but it’s worth revisiting. Grittiness and grace, FTW.


If you need me, I’ll be practicing my Pirouette.

Get more Personal Style ?
  • Now I have to watch Center Stage!

  • I love these themed posts! So timely, too, as I was just reminiscing about my ballet days this morning. I miss dancing in general — it used to be such a large part of my life. There’s something so therapeutic about bending, moving, and listening to the body in a melodic way.

    I think my favorite dance experience, though, was being in a production of an Isadora Duncan-style dance with Lori Belilove and Company. And how fitting that the Temple of Wings was near my house. Felt like a truly defining way of engaging in California’s dance history.

    Before that experience, I’d only been experienced to the relative rigidity of the ballet world. Ms. Duncan’s modern dance was a breach in that rigidity. So fluid, so free (we wore only large, silk scarves, essentially, in our performance.)

    • charmystique

      I miss ballet so much I wish I never stopped> I still keep my pointe shoes, leotards, and past costumes as mementos. Some days, I may or may not like to put everything on and pretend I can still do developpes and arabesques.

  • Quinn Halman

    I have crazy amounts of respect and admiration for ballerinas. There is so much that goes into being a dancer, both physically and mentally. The discipline, practice, and strength is outstanding. Further, I think it can be qualified as a sport. But alas, my career as a ballerina has ended. It’s been over for around 14 years now- it was really such a good 6 months of my life spent in a basement of a church. Now I usually bop to a beat or get nauseous from a horrah

    • Oof, girl, my ballet teacher woulda slapped your knuckles with a wand for that hand formation.

      (but also, great smile.)

    • All roads lead to a baby picture of Quinn Halman.

      • Quinn Halman

        Even the two diverged ones in that yellow wood

      • She’s got one for every occasion.

  • parkzark

    Has anyone seen the second one, Center Stage: Turn It Up? It’s so fucking horrible, but you’ll laugh for hours. It DOES have Peter Gallagher still and the actor who played Cooper. Give it a watch.

    I recently got back into ballet (quit when I was 15) and started taking open adult classes. My muscles are screamin’, but I love it as a workout.

    • Kayla Tanenbaum

      There’s a SECOND Center Stage?? I know what I’m doing this weekend…

    • How did you find your reentry experience re: adult classes? I am seriously considering getting back into it, and was wondering how that process went for someone else! Intimidating? Liberating? Stiff? (Definitely stiff pour moi.)

      • parkzark

        It definitely was a little rough getting back into it, and boy was I stiff. I’ve been taking the classes for about 3 months now though, and I’m so glad I decided to start again!

        For me, there’s so much less stress and pressure involved these adult classes, it’s been very laid back so far. There’s no performances to prepare for or worry about. I’m dancing for myself and my own enjoyment, and I don’t feel like I’m under the constant scrutiny of a teacher or that I have to impress anyone.

        • Thanks for taking the time to share this!

          So glad that you can see ballet in a new, less stressful light, and mold it to your current lifestyle.

          You’ve inspired me to do a little research….


        • charmystique

          I’ve watched the second Centre Stage and much preferred the first. Wow kudos to you for doing this. I keep wanting to go for adult classes but keep holding back because I have this silly notion in my head that I won’t be of the same standard as I used to be. ><

  • My favorite thing about Center Stage is how everyone on screen is really just trying not to get upstaged by Peter Gallagher’s magnificent eyebrows. Spoiler alert: they all fail miserably.

  • LEE @ Modern Granola

    Fun post! Ballet is classic and timeless. Great inspiration in many ways!

  • Kelsey

    “I Wanna Be With You” by Mandy Moore in that sex scene?! And “Canned Heat” by Jamiroquai in the final dance?!! Sound track to my middle school life, you made my day with this 😉

    • Kayla Tanenbaum

      That’s why I only have sex to Mandy


      I wish

    • charmystique

      God I love “Canned Heat” by Jamiroquai! And that final dance too.

  • Emily

    I tried a ballet themed work out once. sprained my ankle. should probably stick to sports

  • I’ve heard really great things about the City Ballet series. I really want to watch. I don’t know what it is about professional ballerinas but I’m totally captivated by them always.

  • Sarah

    I took ballet from the time I was little until I started college, and even though I always had more fun in jazz or contemporary class, wearing a leotard, tights, and pointe shoes made me feel so elegant. The only thing I enjoy more than a leotard with a pretty back or sleeves is a really solid pink tutu (see below)

  • OMG y’all need to watch the documentary, FIRST POSITION. It follows these kids (literally children) training for the Youth America Grand Prix, the most competitive ballet competition. (And I thought my competition days were tough and intense. The competitiveness of ballet was so crazy it made some of my friends quit.) These kids got talent and pushy parents, a totally more serious vibe than Dance Moms.

  • lavieenliz

    I always wanted to be a dancer…great hair styles!

    giveaway on my blog

  • Sara Prestley

    We are definitely on the same wave length MR! My Monday post on TailorMadeTomboy 🙂

  • Lua Jane

    I’ll skip the dance, but keep the blush, all blush. Now I cant banish the notion of the blush coat and blush ballet flats from my head, even though it’s November which makes it totally impractical. Thank you! 😀

  • I had to quit ballet 16 months ago because I couldn’t afford classes, I miss dance every day. But even poorpers can prance in hall walls.

  • Cinamaron

    I wanted to be a ballet dancer so bad when I was a little girl but dance class was too expensive! So this summer I took an adult ballet class and it was wonderful. Super chill and the teacher was nice and helpful. I’ll be taking more as soon as I can find another studio that isn’t as out of my way to get to!

  • Maria

    Oh man, Center Stage, what a gem. I have tried and failed many times to replicate the dance she does in the red outfit at the end. It’s amazing. One word: Jamiroquai. I know, I know, you’re hooked.

  • dustUP

    I never thought that I’ll get to say this on MR, but a friend blogger&adult ballet dancer and yours truly are launching balletwear line in December. It will cater mostly for adult dancers, but young skinny minnies will be covered as well of course. I had enormous fun designing it! It’s a mix of tradition, sport and fashion.
    I had no idea that there are people in MR team interested in ballet so I’m really pleasantly surprised.

  • I like the selection

  • I watched all of the City Ballet shorts IMMEDIATELY- loved it. thank you.

    @kaylatanenbaum:disqus have you seen/heard about the 1,000 poses book “Study of Pose” by Coca Rocha and Steven Sebring? It’s pretty self explanatory and IT LOOKS REALLY COOL

  • I alway wanted to be a ballerina lol mainly for the cute outfits


  • sometinysecrets

    Center Stage is one of the best best best dance movies! Love this post!

  • Lovely, Now i am interested in watching this.