• Thu. May 30th, 2024

We can all be dancers: The rise of ballet-core

ByEva McMonigle

Oct 17, 2023
professional portrait of young ballerina sitting and pouting at the camera

‘Ballet core’ is one of the latest fashion trends to take the internet by storm- from tulle skirts, to leg warmers, to hair ribbons. As an ex-ballerina of 12 years myself, I hold the opinion that ballet core is a positive trend. Aside from allowing people to live out their childhood dream of being a ballerina, this trend seems to be subverting the toxic connotations often associated with the dance. Ballet is a beautiful thing and I think we are right to reclaim it: by incorporating the aesthetic into fashion ballet becomes far more accessible, and- because fashion is for everyone- contradicts the unrealistic body-image ideals that ballet often promotes.

Although ‘ballet core’ isn’t fully authentic to what a dancer may usually wear, the style is a way to explore how ballet is perceived from an outside perspective, and a fun way to get in touch with your femininity. Ballet is, easily, not the most inclusive of sports. The level of physical demandingness is often very intense, and so to take it seriously you’re often required to start at a young age- meaning many years of expensive dance classes and examination fees. Historically, ballet has also seriously lacked in the area of diversity, and traditionally has not been very inclusive in regards to body-types and race. It was only in 2019 that the UK’s first pointe shoes were created to match black and mixed-race skin tones. This was a huge leap for inclusivity in the world of ballet but, considering pointe shoes were invented around 1820, we are left with a lot of questions about why this took 200 years- and rightly so.

However, in embracing ‘ballet core’ and learning more about the sport as a result, more and more non-dancers are able to channel the strong, feminine energy that ballerinas possess. Another positive consequence of the trend is that ballet core items are usually relatively easy to come across in high-street stores and online shopping, as it can be anything involving lace, pastel pink, flat shoes and so on. This means that it is easier to express delicate and soft characteristics, which is often gate-kept from plus-size women due to unfair ideals and incorrect stereotypes.

In this way, ‘ballet-core’ becomes an empowering fashion trend, as it begins to combat restrictions on what a ballerina should look like. Exposure to ballet in the media arguably puts pressure on the sport to become more inclusive; ballet is not just an aesthetic or a trend for many people, it is a profession and an aspiration. Thus, whilst it is fun to dress in accordance to new trends, ‘ballet core’ also allows for all people to embrace feminine energy,  beneficially contributing to a much larger-scale issue.

Image “Ballerina” by megadem is licensed under CC BY-SA 20