DANCE, SPORT and MORE
Product reviews on great dance wear, ballet barres, tango shoes, yoga wear,
For U.S. Dancers
As many of my readers know, I am a long-time tango dancer. But I also have dance training that goes back to ballet and jazz; I started dance at 5 years old and I am dancing until this day. I’ve also, over the years, been in amateur, local Broadway shows as a chorus dancer – nothing complex but still: dancing. My tango of course, is done at tango studios and venues where I attend events and take lessons. But ballet? That’s a tougher one since ballet classes for people past 30 years old are hard to find. So for many years, I’ve done my own ballet workouts in yoga studios or the mirror-ed room at my local gym or more often, especially lately, at home, clutching walls and drawers as my ‘barre’.
Finally, a few months ago, having created a whole ballet work out (barre work, center and choreography) I realized, we all buy great sportswear (thanks Costco and LuluLemon etc.) and great sports shoes (thank you Nike et al) but we never give our ‘dance’ life (those of us who do), much thought. Why wasn’t I just installing a ballet barre at home? And so one day, thinking of this, and realizing clutching a wall or drawer isn’t at all the same as a real ballet barre I went searching out portable in-home ballet equipment and found the incomparable www.vitavibe.com in the U.S, and in Canada, https://en-pointe.com/dance_products/
This company supplies ballet companies but is also geared to small dance studios or home studios for private (dance) practitioners. My ballet work out has gone to a whole never level since I invested in their Vita Vibe Barre.
Vita Vibe's Collared Aluminum Wall Barre mounting systems are perfect for commercial or home use. They are available in single or double barre configurations and in two series, Prodigy and Professional Series. The main difference of both are on their website:
“Our Prodigy series is designed for home and light commercial use. They feature composite (engineered resin) clamps and lighter gauge powder coated aluminum barres. The Professional Series barres are used by commercial dance studios, rental facilities and professional dance troupes worldwide. Though these barres were designed for heavier commercial use they are also well suited for home use. Our Professional Series barres feature 50% heavier gauge powder coated aluminum barres and cast aluminum clamps. Both Prodigy and Professional Series freestanding ballet barres are available in single or double barre configurations with all barres fully height adjustable. Both series are backed by our exclusive 10 year warranty.”
There is also the Portable, outstanding Vita Bar which is a freestanding, adjustable barre perfect for any size space and it assembles in seconds, without tools or expertise. There are both 4 and 5 foot bars. This is not a barre to put your full weight on but it is a barre that offers support and stability for all the home-barre ballet work you’ll do. The Vita Vibe Ballet Barres are also designed for a single barre or double, 8 foot barre and given the modular design you can mix and match as per your needs. The customer service folks at Vita Vibe can help you out in choosing what you need.
Of course if you’re into fitness and yoga, and not a ballet dancer, these barres are also perfect for you as well!
I can’t recommend this company highly enough nor suggest more strongly that if you’re still dancing and doing barre work, invest in the equipment to make your dancing fun and safer.
Barre Ballet Supplies for Canadians!
In search of the perfect, portable ballet barre for at –home, I was delighted to find home-grown ballet barres from Enpointe.Com in Ontario, Canada.
The PortaBarre™ was developed by dancers from Royal Winnipeg Ballet. While on tour in 2002, David Lucas and his wife, Lissette Salgado noticed facilities for the pre-requisite dancer warm-up activities were limited in the venues where they performed. From this obstacle came the ideal of designing a strong yet light-weight portable ballet barre. On David’s return to Winnipeg, the PortaBarre™ was invented
Their Porta Barre (great name!) comes in a gorgeous black and hot-pink embroidered carrying case and comes in small, medium and large barres, depending on your needs. All Porta Barres are assembled in minutes and without special tools or expertise. Whereas these ballet barres are not for putting your full weight on or doing lifts from, they are all about giving you stability for a classic barre routine in your home studio (aka your den or bedroom). By contrast, the Enpointe Fitness bars are specially designed for more rigorous cardio and exericses requiring more support.
In addition to their Porta Barre, they offer a variety of studio and fitness bars that are wall-mounted https://en-pointe.com/product-category/fixed-barres-products/
Cooks at home rarely complain or take their aches and pains seriously. If they did, they’d admit: cooking and baking is hard work. It takes an athlete. And it takes great shoes to support your legs, ankles, knees and back. Sure, you say – but I don’t want to wear orthopaedic clunkers! I get it. So does www.Dansko.com, an incredible, employee-owned American shoe company that has been providing fashionable work and wear shoes for a few decades. Professional chefs (and nurses) rely on them and now the secret’s out. Wear Dansko at home! The choices are unbelievable – there’s boots and clogs, sporty Dankos’ and pretty enough to go with a dress Dankos. They come in leather, canvas, fabric, suede and will take you four seasons. The choices are gorgeous and always changing but nothing rivals their classic Dansko clog to bring relief to your hard-working (chef) joints! Who says serviceable can't also be pretty?
Life is beautiful –so is dance, yoga and personal fitness. So why not look and feel beautiful when you’re engaged in these parts of your life?
That’s part of the philosophy behind KD Dance, a company I’ve been working with and watching evolve since 1997 – although KD Dance has been around since it was founded by dancer/designers Tricia Kay and David Lee in New York.
What makes KD Dance stand out are some indelible fact/attributes:
Their clothes fit any body and make it beautiful. You don’t have to be a model or rail thin to look wonderful in their clothes. They are also true-to-fit. Someone no matter what you order and no matter what size –they fit. Even as your body might change shape.
KD Dance dance clothes last forever – you don’t get tired of them, they rarely wear out and when they do –they are simply threadbare from use.
KD Dance clothes go from dance studio, yoga mat to gym and make you look fashionable or ready for a work out. AND you look pretty and feminine and mobile (vs. sporty).
Always head of the crowd, the company offers the most current in breathable, movable fabrics. Choose from Acrylic, Cotton, Merino Wool, Kringle Spin, Micro Fiber, Soy or Vegetable Cashmere or even blends of the above.
KD at the movies? Which dancewear is featured in films such as Shall We Dance or TV Series Smash? KD Dance? (Why – because they just look stunning)
Check out the full range of KD Dance sweaters (iconic off the shoulder shrug). The various products are very layerable from leg warmers, long tops, sweaters, shrugs, or bottoms.
Gorgeous hand-painted ties on silk by artist Jane Ireland. Visit the site for the full collection of ties that range from modern art to music themes. Each one is one-of-a-kind - a great gift from birthdays, Christmas, and of course, Valentine's Day for the deserving fella'(s) in your life.
Dance shoes from www.Capezio.com
The best yoga clothes on the planet. Stretch, meditate, bend, breathe and look an feel beautiful - each step of the way. For men and women - and each item is tailored by yoga angels. Made in hemp and Tencel (a stretch, breathable, biodegradable fiber produced using wood pulp from farms that practise sustainability) among other awesome fabric and fabric blends, everything (seemingly regardless of size) fits like a dream. Plus the garments are a cross between yoga and dance studio but doubtless work-out folks and runners will love the togs too. Beautiful clothes for men and women, Be Present is a treasure of a company that matches planetary concern, with design, and wearability. A true content and form fusion.
A SUMMER STAPLE: BREATHE WEAVE™ PANTS BY BE PRESENT
Be Present’s staple Breathe Weave™ pants are a must-have for summertime. be present offers clothing that transcends far beyond the yoga mat. From hiking and cycling to traveling and relaxing, be present’s lightweight Breathe Weave™ pants are truly the essential pant.
Breathe Weave™, be present’s trademark fabric, is a lightweight woven fabric that offers the perfect amount of stretch. be present offers a colorful palette of Breathe Weave™ pants which are easy to care for and easy to pack. Check out some of our most popular styles below…
The Agility Pant is considered a yoga industry standard. Its cropped ankle-length, darted knees and back slits allow for maximum movement. This pant has been worn for almost every activity imaginable… hiking, running, walking, break dancing, mountain biking, traveling and even skydiving!
The Mobility Pant is one of their most popular women’s pants. It is a shorter, more cropped length than that of the Agility Pant and has side slits that come up to the knee. This style transitions easily from one activity to the next.
The Kona Pant hits just below the knee, shorter than the Agility or Mobility Pant, and features a small back slit. The Kona Pant’s rise sits lower in the front than any of our other pants but its back rise sits a bit higher. This pant is a favorite for summer, perfect for beach wear and golfing.
The Practice Pant is be present’s most popular pant for men. It has darted knees, a drawstring and elastic waist, and an ankle-length inseam. This pant is great for wear to the gym, hiking, traveling, fishing and relaxing in addition to yoga.
be present’s cropped Baja Short is perfect for many summer activities. The short is cut to hit below-the-knee and has a gusseted inseam like the Movement Pant. Its comfortable, stylish cut appeals to outdoor activities such as rock climbing, hiking and camping.
be present, clothing for the yoga lifestyle, was established in Colorado in 2002 by Amy Lopatin Dobrin and Jon Dobrin. All be present clothing is proudly made in the USA. The brand remains at the forefront of the yoga apparel industry, continually designing clothing that is original and functional. be present is more than a clothing line, it is a way of life
For bras in sizes you won't find elsewhere in the best brands and the best customer service on the Internet, Fresh Pair is your one-stop bra and lingerie store. It's virtually perfect.
Obsession Bags are an obsession! Hand-crafted, nifty little bags on a neck-cord. Stuff you cell phone, credit card or keys or even a sample of your favorite perfume or library card. Each one is uniquely designed, made byLaura J. Chowanski of Xcentric Designs in New London, New Hampshire. "Now you can wear your obsessionclseo to your heart and look fabulous while doing it!" Contact Laura herself for prices (also tote bags, other sizes) at www.xcentricdesigns.com
For Dance, Sport, Yoga, Pilates, Fashion, and Meditation
In a nutshell, if you’ve not see Danskin lately, then you don’t know Danskin at all. How many of us grew up with Danskin, and thought: black leotard and pink tights? Or did you just think of Danskin as the quintessential dancer supply company?
This is no longer just your go-to place for dancewear – this is now the ballet shop, the spa, and the urban fashion company. In short, Danskin is 'D' place for everything and anything you do that is about movement. In style.
The first attribute is quality –everything is made with that Danskin trademark wear-and-tear endurance. That makes every item as good for dance as it is for the gym – running, cycling, swimming, and yoga. Two – is fit. Most items, especially if you order online, fit true to size. If you are a medium, then choose medium; that said, and whereas most items are fabric blends, if you like a loose fit, you will find things fit as per your real size, then stretch a bit, and then get resized back after washing – which is another thing. We wore each item, pranced, danced, stretched and did warm-ups of all description – and found the clothes all both moved, and breathed
, with us.
What is especially nice about the line is it’s youthful, edgy look enhances the style of almost any age dancer (excerciser, gym addict, yoga devotee) – Clothes are sleek but not only for one style or age – you can mix and match styles, fabrics, colours to suit your own style and needs. Grab ¾ Pilates pants and marry it to a dancer sweater wrap. Or choose a feminine Prima collection top – If you don’t like to look like a jock in the gym, but need a girlie girl style that is still, at its core, athletic, then this is the line to choose from.
In the bottoms, there are so many different styles, from Pilates to yoga wear, classic jazz dancer pants and more. And the thing with stretch fabrics, you don’t know- until you try them on and wear them – if they are going to accentuate the bulges or flatter and tuck. Everything we test ran, were in the latter. Between the fabric, cut, and design, even the most snug bottoms, made our staff look svelte. We especially recommend the Boot Leg Roll Top Yoga Pants, and a Roll Top Jazz Pant for a flattering look in a functional garment. Also, no matter what height you are, we found Danksin wear pants fit over atheletic shoes perfectly. Something in the design of the calf part keeps the pant more around the calf and allows the excess, (because of taper as well) to sit on top of most athletic shoes (New Balance is our favorite) and not drag on the floor.No need for hemming.