#GirlCrush - Introducing the Modern Ballerina
To celebrate the release of our new Athleisure capsule collection, we took to the dance studio to put the pieces through their paces, with next-gen ballet teacher, Grace Goodier. But it got us to thinking, in an age of grinding, twerking and booty popping, is there still room on the stage for the likes of the plié, the port de bras or the grand allegro? When young girls are aspiring to shake like Beyoncé, whine like Rihanna and move like Little Mix, how do you make a 15th century art form still feel current?
Charcoal Side Print Joggers - £20
Introducing our latest #girlcrush - the modern ballerina. Grace is a new breed of ballet teacher. She rocks up to class in leggings, a leotard and a hoodie, candy pink hair tied in a topknot. Nike Huaraches kicked off, Bloch pointes slipped on. She choreographs her lessons to the space-age shrills of David Bowie, the haunting vocals of Sia, and the ultra-cool synthpop sounds of St Vincent. Her pupils come running up to her in the street, they make friendship bracelets for her to wear, and they sketch her (sort of) likeness in loving scribbles of crayon.
Charcoal Print Hoodie - £20
From role model to fash-idol, Grace has done away with the stereotype. She’s young but informed. Instructive but empathetic. Disciplined but stylish. She loves her pupils, and through her contemporary approach, has made them care for ballet. She is the modern ballerina, and the perfect ambassador for our new Athleisure range.
We caught up with Grace to find out exactly what life’s like on pointe…
Black Mesh Bodysuit - £14
NC - How old were you when you took up ballet? How were you introduced to it?
Grace - When I was three years old, my parents were advised to take me to ballet by our family doctor, in order to improve the arch in my feet. Needless to say, I fell in love instantly, and here I am now!
NC - When did you decide that you wanted to teach ballet? Was it a particular incident?
Grace - For as long as I can remember, I have always loved creating and teaching dance routines. In fact, some of my earliest memories are of locking my cousins in my bedroom in order to choreograph a dance sequence (whether they wanted to or not haha!!).
Teaching dance is extremely gratifying, and I feel incredibly motivated to help people follow their dreams - there's literally nothing I’d rather do with my life. Sharing a passion with likeminded people and helping them to nourish and grow and find their own individual dance style is incredible to witness.
NC - What made you choose a career in teaching over performance?
Grace - As a young dancer, I was often put forward by my dance school to audition for various shows or companies but I found the experience extremely daunting and it would give me terrible anxiety. I realised that this wasn't the side of dance I loved.
At the age of sixteen, I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and was forced to stop dance for a while, which was more painful than the illness itself. Now twenty-six, my condition is more controlled, and so teaching became the perfect way to revive my passion.
NC - What’s the most rewarding thing about teaching ballet?
Grace – I love seeing my pupils grow, develop and progress as dancers, even if it’s incredibly difficult for them at first. It's a journey and I'm honoured to share it with them.
Khaki Bomber Jacket - £22
NC - …and the most rewarding moment so far in your career?
Grace – This would have to be watching my students perform their End of Year show - Peter Pan - last December. There was so much hard work involved, but then witnessing how everything came together on the night was indescribable, not to mention highly emotional. I felt so incredibly proud seeing their faces lit up on stage, and knowing first-hand how well they had each coped with the pressures a show brings.
NC - Other than dance, what other responsibilities do you have as a ballet teacher?
Grace – Knowing how my students look up at me, I try to always set a positive example to them, not only as a dancer, but as a woman. In addition to acting confident and disciplined, I always encourage a kind and respectful environment.
Peach Pleat Skirt - £21
NC - How does it feel to be a role model to these girls?
Grace – While it definitely brings about a certain degree of pressure, it’s definitely a healthy pressure and one that I aspire to achieve. It keeps me focused.
NC - Do they look to you for style advice? ...do you look to them?
Grace – while they often ask about dance shoes, you can pretty much find dancewear in most high street retailers these days, whether it’s Topshop or Urban Outfitters. Failing that, sportswear is usually just as fine, so style in the studio is far more fashion-forward and experimental that it was when I was growing up. I allow my students to wear whatever they're comfortable in, whether that’s a traditional tutu or some technical piece from, say, Ivy Park. If it aids their confidence, then it helps their performance.
Navy Satin Bomber Jacket - £28
NC - How does a 21st century ballet teacher dress?
Grace - I usually dress in layers - it's important that I keep myself warm so layering up and down is hugely important. As for a dance staple, a black leotard or bodysuit is my go-to - it's classic, comfortable and as far I’m concerned, timeless.
NC - What pieces from Nobody’s Child lend themselves to the dance studio?
Grace - The new Athleisure range is 100% perfect for dancewear. You can slip the hoodie over a leotard and the joggers over leggings, and so they’re the ideal layering pieces to wear during the warm-up, and slip off easily afterwards. Plus, there’s the added bonus of looking stylish when travelling to and from the studio.
Black Ditsy Print Culottes - £18
NC - As a dancer, do you naturally ‘own’ that club dancefloor?
Grace - Yes - Obviously!!!! Haha! It’s so much fun letting my hair down on the dance floor with my friends - it's a totally different energy!
NC - What track are you requesting at the moment?
Grace – The new Christine and the Queens album is my absolute favourite right now. Her music video to Tilted is effortlessly cool - I just love the routine and straightaway watched it over and over again in order to learn it – I’m now totally addicted!
Check out our Athleisure trend report to find out exactly what this latest sportswear style update's all about, and once you're totally convinced by it's blend of comfort and style, shop the collection - we're talking casj-cool bombers, raw-hemmed hoodies and racer-stripe joggers.