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checking in on our community photoshoot

Credit: Katie Salerno Photography

Jai-Dee Dancewear is a sustainable leotard company celebrating the beauty, wisdom and value of women who dance. Our blog serves to inform, inspire and connect our community of socially conscious women in ballet and beyond. All hearts are welcome here.

Much more than the brief exchange of life updates between two people, checking in is a relational, holistic practice. Whether it is checking in on self’s body, self’s relationship with other/s, self’s work, or self with something else entirely, this process offers a medicinal alternative to being in a world that is constantly ‘checked out.’

An embodied check is directing awareness to the pulsing of your chest when engaged in challenging conversation. It is sensing your interior reactions as you scroll through social media. It is reclaiming beats throughout your day to simply feel your feet on the ground and metabolize residue from past moments and interactions. Most simply, checking in means pausing often to consult your intuition about various directions and choice points. Checking in is a wide-ranging, inclusive practice, meant to be creatively interpreted through and with our bodies. By bringing our bodies and minds presently into our spaces – even our digital spaces – we evoke a more generous form of being. We become better able to register our wholeness in each moment, while also better seeing the wholeness of others.

This then, is my summer self checking in with yours.

In our corner of happenings at Jai-Dee, we recently wrapped up a photoshoot for our e-commerce store launching this fall. This event gave us the perfect opportunity to check in with our company vision and explore how to visually express our sustainability and community values. The collaborative nature of the photoshoot required a flowing form of checking in, each of us offering and receiving contributions with openness and curiosity. The group relished in the slow process of making organic and authentic art together, and the moments captured are a lovely reflection of this co-creation. While most of the photography is in queue for our fall launch, you can join us on instagram for sneak peeks and to learn more about the beautiful artists who contributed.

While ongoing projects at Jai-Dee are feeling lively, my summer is also making room for stillness. Especially here in New England, this bright warmth feels so transient and worth savoring. Perhaps the energy of summer is also motivating you to create and explore, as well as encouraging you to simply be. Maybe these longer days have helped shine light on important holidays of the season, such as Juneteeth and PRIDE month and given you more time to lean into issues that matter to you. As you balance the work of both engaging and unplugging, perhaps your summer self is discovering space for restoration and renewal.

Regardless of where the energy of summer is leading you, my hope is that full embodiment practice is traveling with you, nourishing your relationship to self, others and all your creative pursuits. For me, this means spending a little less time online this summer, ready to back in with news on our launch next season.

With heart,

Sustainable leotards empowering women through ecofriendly clothing.

Sustainable leotards empowering women through ecofriendly clothing.

Join us backstage for community news & launch party offers.

close up black and white photograph of dancer Isabella Boylston resting on her right side smiling with her arms clasped overhead

Credit: Isabella Boylston photographed by Karolina Kuras for Fjord Review

Jai-Dee Dancewear is a sustainable leotard company celebrating the beauty, wisdom and value of women who dance. Our blog serves to inform, inspire and connect our community of socially conscious women in ballet and beyond. All hearts are welcome here.


Last January, our blog turned towards the sweeping topic of identity. Who we are, how we relate to others, how others relate to us and how we inhabit the world both as individuals and communities, these are inquiries still unfolding in this digital space. With guidance from our beloved guest writers this season, we are discovering a treasure chest of ideas, possibilities and insight.

The stunning dance publication, Fjord Review, creates space for the world of dance to collectively practice such existential contemplation. In Fjord’s first print edition, editor Penelope Ford calls on poet Paul Valery, “But what then is dance, and what can steps say?” The spirit of this inquiry weaves throughout the exquisite pages of Fjord; the magazine’s phenomenal contributors illuminate a world of possibility in response. This publication invites us to deeply appreciate, critique and expand the identity of dance together. You can pick up your own print edition of the beautiful Fjord Review #1 here.

So many thanks to editor Penelope Ford for sharing the story of Fjord Review with our readers.

With heart,

Sustainable leotards empowering women through ecofriendly clothing.

What’s in a name

Penelope Ford, editor of Fjord Review

“Fjord Review—fjord, like in Norway?” is sometimes the response I get when introducing the publication. Fair enough, too. Fjord doesn’t have an obvious connection to ballet and dance, our subject, but in part that was by design; when I dreamt up Fjord Review, it was to have an expansive take on dance as an art, and not necessarily subscribe to the tropes of how dance has been represented in the media up until now. The word fjord, which bears some connection to my name, is besides a strong structure in nature. I personally feel the connection between dance and our natural world is worth emphasizing, especially at this fragile time for our planet.

The Spark

Fjord Review was inspired in part by a particular moment, rather than a love of dance in general (although, this obviously I have). I think many balletomanes and dance fans can trace their obsession back to a single performance—a kind of dance epiphany. For me, it was seeing Tanja Liedtke’s “Slight,” a contemporary update on Romantic ballet, “La Sylphide” with a rebellious streak. Performed by perhaps a dozen dancers, it was mischievous, kinaesthetic and buzzing with ideas. It opened a new dimension in dance for me; and it was so powerful, I thought, it ought to be written about.

The tragic epilogue to this story is that Liedtke, on the eve of taking up one of Australia’s highest positions in dance as artistic director of Sydney Dance Company, was struck by a vehicle and killed. Dance is the ephemeral art, this we know. I think, what we hope to achieve with writing about dance is not to define, but rather to capture the human experience of seeing dance, the meaning and truth of it.

The Craft

In 2009, I left my native Australia for Toronto, Canada. I spent my time reading ‘the dance shelves’ at the library and seeing as much dance as possible. Simultaneously, traditional print media started to feel the pinch with the rise of online (free) news sources. The global financial crisis contributed to an ill economic climate. Newspapers started to lay off writers, and specialist dance critics were, alas, among the first to be cut. The writing was on the wall for dance criticism as we knew it. I reached out to a few critics, wondering if they would like to write for a new dance journal called Fjord Review, for a fee I could afford. These writers formed the basis for our online dance archive. I’m pleased to continue to have their vast knowledge and brilliant writing across our pages.

The first online iteration of Fjord was around 2012. We have since gone through a number of redesigns, mostly as my own digital skills came of age (as an independent publisher, I have had and continue to do a lot of ‘upskilling.’) At present we publish about twenty regular dance critics writing from London, Paris, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, Boston, Melbourne, Sydney, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Toronto. Writing about dance is a demanding task, requiring not only talent and an understanding of the field, but an uncommon amount of sacrifice. It is a joy for me to publish the dance criticism I receive because frequently, it astounds me. The best criticism, I find, occupies the curious space between subjectivity and objectivity, it resonates, and it also must have something to say, meaning that it is civic as well as poetic in many instances.

The Evolution

Recently we published Fjord Review #1, a limited-edition print magazine, a collection of dance criticism, feature articles, and interviews, as well as creative photoshoots with some major names in dance. Dance photographer Karolina Kuras has been instrumental in the production of the print magazine. Not only a gifted artist, she’s dedicated and intrepid, as well as generous and kind. The dancers love working with her. The other key to producing the print edition was finding the right editorial designer. Enter Lorenzo Spatocco, who translates ideas across pages in spite of working an ocean and a language apart. Lorenzo, who works in Rome, Italy, also designed our logo. I am so grateful to all our supporters, and thanks especially to Jai-Dee Dancewear for inviting me to contribute to this blog and who is a lead sponsor of the print edition.

Sustainable leotards empowering women through ecofriendly clothing.

Join us backstage for community news & launch party offers.

plants sprouting

Jai-Dee Dancewear is a sustainable leotard company celebrating the beauty, wisdom and value of women who dance. Our blog serves to inform, inspire and connect our community of socially conscious women in ballet and beyond. All hearts are welcome here.


2018 was a year of planting seeds for Jai-Dee Dancewear. With support from Factory45, Wallace James, Emily Belyea and RISE Creative, we laid down roots to grow a sustainable, ethical business. We collaborated with many talented artists to launch our microsite, newsletter and blog, and we created a cozy spot on Instagram to welcome you to our budding community without bombarding you with content. We designed our leotards, sourced our fabrics and sewed our ideas into shape.

As we move towards the production phase of our project, preparing for a Fall launch, I’m pausing here to express my gratitude for YOU. Thank you for encouraging, sharing and inspiring the work that we are doing. Your support is nourishing and deeply appreciated.

As our brand identity continues to grow and evolve in the year(s!) ahead, I find myself drawn to a much broader inquiry into the subject of identity as a whole. This inquiry into how we shape, interpret and respond to identities will be the focus on our blog over the next several months. In this upcoming series, we will be exploring the fullness of identity and how it grows, shifts and transforms as we move through life. We will dwell in the intersections where a woman’s identity as a dancer crosses with other important aspects of herself. We will interrogate the rigidity we build around identity and study how this rigidity limits our sense of self, our capabilities beyond our comfort zone and our perception of others. With these posts, interviews and guest features, we will welcome in more possibility for ourselves, each other and the many worlds we inhabit together.

Thank you for continuing with us on our journey. Shaping Jai-Dee’s identity, and creating a tangible product to strongly reflect that identity, is a thoughtful, careful process and your patience and excitement is both encouraging and inspiring.

With heart,

Sustainable leotards empowering women through ecofriendly clothing.

Sustainable leotards empowering women through ecofriendly clothing.

Join us backstage for community news & launch party offers.

Jai-Dee Dancewear is a sustainable leotard company celebrating the beauty, wisdom and value of women who dance. Our blog serves to inform, inspire and connect our community of socially conscious women in ballet and beyond. All hearts are welcome here.


Whether you intentionally sought out this page or were just passing by, it’s lovely you’re here. I’ve begun this blog as the founder of Jai-Dee Dancewear, a sustainable leotard company celebrating the beauty, wisdom and value of women who dance. I am also a former professional dancer and forever a lover of movement. I believe in fiercely protecting the arts, caring for humanity, listening to Mother Nature, cultivating a generation of strong girls and supporting kind hearts.

In 2016, I adopted a little girl. Of all the moments and memories there are to miss about my career as a ballerina, the thing I never experienced is the thing I ache for most – to have danced with the wider perspective, clarified purpose and deep joy motherhood generously provides me. Among the many humbling lessons I am encountering as a mother, it’s the simple ones that stick – how love itself is the highest art form, and no matter what, kindness matters. As you meet, read and follow our young brand, you’ll find me coming back to these truths often, striving to fully embody them as a creator, mother and human being.

On these pages, you’ll find sustainability explored as a creative, imperfect endeavor. I will be learning out loud as we unfold the inner workings of Jai-Dee here on this blog, with passion for process and dedication to transparency. You’ll find these pages featuring the socially-minded projects, people and causes with which Jai-Dee is delighted to collaborate and support. Most importantly, this space is designed for the work of all creative women – your voice and your work are invited here too. Sustainability, self-care, creativity, community, arts advocacy and artistic activism are a few themes that will dance among these posts.

The growth of this page and the words on it will be slow and steady, with intentions to offer monthly reflections, articles and love notes in service of growing a conscious community of dancing women. My hope is that you will find a mindful, artistic space being built here, with all hands and hearts welcome.

From my art to yours,

Sustainable leotards empowering women through ecofriendly clothing.

Sustainable leotards empowering women through ecofriendly clothing.

Join us backstage for community news & launch party offers.