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Review: Barreto Dancewear

As you all can probably tell, I'm obsessed with custom leotards. I love the idea of having something unique. However, because (as I've mentioned before) I am a curvier dancer, it can still be hard to find something that fits perfectly. I decided that instead of continuing to try the more expensive and popular brands (Eleve, Yumiko), I would try a smaller shop and see if I could get something that fit me a little more exactly.

I had great luck when I found Barreto Dancewear. The owner, Elizabeth, is a dancer with Idaho Ballet. Her designs are clean and flattering, and the majority are available in solid (but colorful) fabrics and mesh, though she does have a couple designs that have fun patterened fabric choices as well. There are a LOT of colors available (both in nylon/spandex and mesh), so your color combinations are pretty endless.

Evora in Jade nylon/spandex.
I decided to try two leotards with short sleeves: the Marie and the Evora.  Before I ordered, though, I sent Elizabeth a message asking about sizing (the shop states that sizing is similar to most major leotard brands). I mentioned that I was an adult dancer, and had a lot more hip and leg than is typical. I also mentioned that while I wore a large Eleve, the leg holes tended to be snug. She responded quickly, telling me to submit my measurements with my order and she'd make the leotards a little roomier in the hips and legs for me. SQUEE.

The typical wait for a leotard from Barreto Dancewear is about 3-4 weeks. I got mine in about 3, and tried them on immediately. Verdict? I LOVE THEM.

Marie in aquamarine nylon/spandex with white mesh.
(the girls in my class dubbed this my "Elsa" leotard, ha!)

The fabric is soft and wonderfully stretchy, but also nice and thick. It is also matte (which I prefer), but you want shiny there are a couple of colors that offer that option. Both leotards also automatically came with a bra lining. And of course, they fit like a GLOVE. No squeezing of my poor thighs to oblivion!

The lighter fabric of the aquamarine IS a little more see-though, but the bra lining blocks out any boob issues. I was worried down, but with tights it's perfectly fine.

I've worn them both to class, and they are lovely. No slipping, sliding, or adjusting. Just pretty and flattering!

I plan on buying many more in the future (I quite like the short sleeve style on myself, so I'm eyeballing the Ashley [basically the Evora, but with a zipper]). They're also very reasonably priced, especially for something so customized. The majority are $40 (US) (some models are a little cheaper or more expensive, depending).

The shop has some more styles coming soon, so keep an eye out.  I'm hoping that at some point she offers something that involves both the patterned nylon/spandex AND the solid (I don't think I could handle a whole leotard with a pattern on it). But there are plenty of options to keep me occupied in the meantime.

11/11/2014 ETA: Recently noticed that her prices have gone up a touch, and now vary between $40 and $50 (most are $42 and $44).


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(As an aside, you should go follow her blog, she is an amazing writer and fabulous to boot).

Now, let's get down to business and talk about Elevé. 

All the Relevés!

As many of you my know, World Ballet Day was last week, and like any proper ballet nerd I watched parts of the stream throughout the day.

At some point during the broadcast, one of the hosts mentioned something about the Australian Ballet and relevés. This sounded vaguely familiar, and Googling brought up this video with Dr. Nancy Kadel briefly talking about it, and I recalled discussing it with my own dance PT. The theory is that doing 24 relevés (one foot at a time in parallel with control) helps build the calf and lower leg muscles thereby preventing injury and things like posterior impingement (oh hey!).

During the Australian Ballet's broadcast during World Ballet Day this year, they also talked about it a bit, and showed the company class actually doing the relevés before leaving the barre (they have since removed the video, grr).

Doing rises/relevés is actually part of my PT regimen, but to be honest I've been a little more lax about it lately because of the flare up a m…