The photographs in this post is photographed by my grandfather Samuel Skoglund in the late 1960s. Unfortunately I never got to know the story behind the pictures. But when viewing the motives, my interpretation is that the man behind the camera is doing a research of some sort. Maybe he is examining the dancers and their movements, or the relationship between the female dancers. I got very curious and from that point I wanted to know more about dancers and how clothes play a part in their lives.
It is difficult to say when dance became a part of human culture, but we have engaged in dance forms for a very long time. It is a type of art that generally involves movement of the body. It is being performed by many different cultures and uses it as a tool of emotional expression, social interaction or to simply tell a story. Although clothes may change depending on culture, style or sport, I wanted to know how a dancer view their clothes and their perceptive on fashion within a specific dance form.
As a ballet dancer herself, Louise Bjelke was more than willing to answer some of our questions!
What is your main priority when it comes to attire within dance? Looks or function?
Looks definitely plays a part but perhaps primarily from a functional perspective I would say function. It is important to see the body, seeing the lines in the various dance steps. Every little movement has a major impact on how your results will be. Ballet is a very particular sport and art form where every millimeter, every little muscle plays a major part on how the outcome will turn out. You especially have to keep it simple to focus on your balance because if something were to disturb and compromise your movements the choreography would change. It is important that both you and your teacher can see how you can improve yourself at all times. The clothes sit very tight on your body during classes because it is the most practical. Now and then you may have a sweater over to keep warm at the start of the lessons but also in the end it is all about functionality.
How do the costume make you feel when performing on stage?
The clothing during performances depends on what it is you are performing. Even though ballet is a sport it is also an art form and there lies a lot of acting and emotions underneath. Personally I love that part of the dance, when you get to step in to another character. Obviously, the acting does not come from the clothes but they help a few steps along the way.
Are there any trends in dance and sports clothing?
I definitely think you see trends when it comes to sportswear. Especially since today it is very fashionable to be healthy. A lot of designers is very influenced by that and tend to design in the sport direction, which I love! Because although it is very much about functionality when you dance, it is much more fun when you feel a little beautiful too.