Focus on Freelance: My Fashion Week Debut

February 22, 2011

Fashion Week—a semi-annual event where the world’s leading fashion designers converge to show off their latest creations—hit NYC last week. This year, I was thrilled to play a small part in it as one of ten dancing models in Rachel Roy’s latest Look Book, entitled “Move.” It turned out to be a wonderfully creative and memorable experience. I’m so happy to have performed with such a diversely talented group of people.

Fashion designers create look books as a way to showcase new lines. Traditionally, designers create the books using a collection of still photographs featuring models wearing their clothing. However, Rachel Roy decided to create a video “look book” instead, with dancers modeling her spring line. She recruited Jermaine Browne to choreograph the short film. I love that Roy chose dance to showcase her craft.

We filmed the piece in a single day at a beautiful studio in NYC’s Chelsea neighborhood this past December. As one of the dancing models, my job was to bring the clothes to life. In rehearsals, we played with the fabrics, figuring out how to make them flutter and stretch. Browne created stories revolving around each outfit. He asked us to portray a variety of moods and feelings.

If a piece of clothing felt restrictive, we worked around it. As a result, something beautiful and unexpected often came out. For example, when a long dress prohibited high extensions, we experimented with deep grand plies and stretched the fabric into interesting shapes. This experience was a great reminder that, as dancers, we should always try to use what we wear as a prop to express ourselves more fully.

During filming, we danced in front of a white wall for a clean look. The director wanted the vibe to be different from that of a typical music video where the camera jumps around a lot. He opted to shoot with a single stagnant camera for a smoother feel. For the dancers, it felt similar to performing in a theater, where the audience stays in one place.

The film will be playing in NYC taxis for the next few weeks, but you can check it out right now on Rachel Roy’s website. (I’m the one wearing a green dress in the film’s opening shot.) I hope you enjoy it!