“Ballet costumes have always followed fashion,” says Jennifer Homans, author of Apollo’s Angels (Random House), an epic history of the dance form published last November, “and in some cases, like right now, they have created it.” Which may explain why a Versace dress, fringed at the hem, twirls like a tutu on American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Irina Dvorovenko, or how the ruffles on an Yves Saint Laurent gown transform her into a magnificent creature out of a flamenco hall in Seville. There is a similar freedom of movement in fellow dancer Cory Stearns’s Giorgio Armani suit (and has Swan Lake ever been performed in a pair of blue Ferragamo oxfords?). Ballet, it seems, is this season’s It Girl. Is it due to the success of Homans’s book? A critically praised memoir by Jacques D’Amboise? Perhaps the Oscar-winning Black Swan? Ballet, as Homans points out, is an art form that is “physical, accessible and immediate. It goes straight to the visceral rhythms of being human.”
The American Ballet Theatre’s spring season opening night is May 16; its first performance, Don Quixote, begins May 17; abt.org.
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