What I Wear to Work: Sarasota Ballet’s Anaïs Blake
Anaïs, a Chicago native, has danced for The Sarasota Ballet since 2008. Graceful, energetic and poised, she gives us a look into her fun and functional in-studio and off-duty style and discusses her most prized possession: her passport.
WHO: Anaïs Blake, 30, professional ballerina with The Sarasota Ballet.
WHAT YOU DO: I begin my mornings by taking a ballet class with the rest of the company to prepare mentally and physically for the day. We rehearse two to three ballets at a time. During the season, we dance as many as 20 different ballets, so we are constantly rehearsing and learning new choreography for each upcoming show. I am also a certified Pilates instructor, and in my off time, I teach at Studio South Fitness.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO DANCE? Dance allows me to be completely in the moment and allows me to express through movement what can’t be expressed in words.
BEST THING ABOUT THE BALLET: Every day I get to work, learn and create ballets with wonderful, talented people. And dancing on stage is absolutely magical!
FAVORITE BALLET YOU’VE DANCED IN: George Balanchine’s Jewels is at the top. I will never forget the feeling on stage performing each different, unique jewel.
YOUR STYLE: Sunny, fun and functional.
HOW HAS YOUR STYLE EVOLVED? When I first started my career, I couldn't afford nice clothing so I would search local consignment and vintage stores, gathering things to create outfits. I've slowly invested in a few good basics that have become staples in my wardrobe, and I add fun pieces to reflect my mood for the day. However, I still love to find hidden gems in stores. When I'm at work, I go for a clean and classical look, dressing in a style that reflects the ballet I am rehearsing for. I pick leotards that show my best line while still being comfortable for a long day in the studio.
FAVORITE COSTUME YOU’VE WORN? There’s nothing like a classical tutu to make you feel like the ultimate princess, but I will forever love Matthew Bourne’s Boutique costumes. They have so much character! Bright and colorful wigs, '60s bell bottoms, pom-pom tops, mod dresses and more. And because I danced a few different roles, I had fun wearing a different outfit for each show.
WHOSE STYLE INSPIRES YOU? Growing up, my sister and I loved playing dress up. We would create outfits and choreograph dance performances for our parents. I still have that sense of play with what I wear, and to this day, my sister and I still turn to each other for inspiration.
BEST STYLE TIP: Put your hair up and add some earrings and a touch of lipstick to dress up any outfit.
FASHION MANTRA? Dress for yourself, not other people.
FAVORITE DESIGNERS: For my in-studio style, I love supporting and wearing my friends' and colleagues' designs. My friend Danielle’s Rae Boutique, along with Susie’s Dancewear, RubiaWear and Abigail Mentzer Designs are among my favorites. Many of these even have options so I can customize their dancewear to my own taste.
MY GO-TO ITEMS: Sundresses and sandals. They're easy to throw over dance clothes, swimsuits or anything else for an on-the-go woman.
MOST-PRIZED POSSESSION: My passport. Anyone that knows me knows I absolutely love adventure. When I am not in season with the Sarasota Ballet, I try to travel and see the world. I take dance classes with other professionals wherever I can, see shows that inspire me and visit places to re-energize me for when I return to The Sarasota Ballet.
FOR A NIGHT OUT ON THE TOWN: Since I'm mostly in leotards or workout clothes during the week, I love to dress up when I go out. So, it’s not uncommon to find me wearing sequins, sparkle or dressy ruffles while out on the town.
In-studio style: Anaïs is wearing a practice tutu, a leotard from Rae Boutique, leg warmers from RubiaWear and pointe shoes.
Off-duty style: Anaïs is wearing a romper from H&M, ZARA sunglasses, Keds sneakers, a cameo ring purchased in Greece, a woven straw basket purchased in France and a vintage necklace, bracelet, watch, ring and earrings.
A Florida native, Alicia King Robinson is the director of public relations at Sarasota-based ThreeSixOh Public Relations and the blogger behind New Version of You. Her love of fashion and eye for stylish living began at an early age. Meant to inspire, she explores fashion and the evolution and ever-changing versions of ourselves with style-inspired content.