Free People’s New Ballet Clothing Line: Insult or Opportunity for Exposure?

Posted on May 15, 2014 by

Screen shot 2014-05-15 at 11.47.56 AMEarlier this week, clothing company Free People debuted a new line of “barre-ready dancewear and ethereal warm-up essentials,” called FP Movement Ballet. And while the new designs include leggings, leotards and wraps—all absolutely serviceable dancewear—Free People’s blog has gotten some heavy flack for featuring a pointe shoe–wearing model who dances only recreationally, rather than professionally. (“Definitely missed the mark, FP,” says one anonymous commenter; “A slap in the face to ALL professional ballet dancers out there,” comments Michael.)

Some of the photos, particularly of the model up on pointe, look unsafe. It’s all too easy to imagine her rolling over her ankle from such an unstable position. (As DT has shared, wearing pointe shoes before a body is physically prepared can lead to long-term injury and irreversible damage.) The clothing line’s accompanying promotional video is currently being shared—and condemned—on Facebook by outraged dancers and teachers who claim Free People has insulted the dance world by not choosing a professional dancer to model the clothing and shoes.

What do you think? Is this a good opportunity to get ballet the exposure and attention it needs, or is it an insult to dancers everywhere who know bad ballet when they see it?

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