close up photo of a globe

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.

The March equinox marks one of two times each year that day and night unfold to equal lengths. This ‘balancing act’ of darkness and light is a precarious collection of conditions. It is movement, rhythm, angles and relationship that together create this equality. Today, as I tune into the equinox, I marvel at how this simple balance can be expressed amidst the chaos in our universe.

As a society, we have a tendency to put ‘balance’ in a bucket for later. After I finish this performance run. After I secure a contract. After my baby learns to sleep. Certainly, taking refuge on the other side of a high-stress period is an important part of living sustainably. But what if balance doesn’t have to just wait? Could it possibly be found within the chaos? Perhaps balance could be less conditional, more creative, an infusing of real-life with oxygen and perspective. As I finish this performance run. As I secure a contract. As my baby learns to sleep.

In the Middle of it All, Somewhat Elevated

Alongside the early buds of spring here in the Northern Hemisphere, ballet companies unveil their upcoming seasons. International auditions wrap up and company contract renewals are distributed. Retirements, staff changes and promotions are announced. New dancers are hired and some dancers are given notice (been there!). In certain years, there’s room for expansion, opportunity and risk-taking. Other years call for cutting back and working with restraint. With a busy performance season still underway, the low rumble of the future inches closer. A tangled blend of emotions – from anticipation and excitement, to stress and disappointment – weave with notable imbalance through studio halls.

Whether experiencing or witnessing change, the ground beneath every dancer is shifting at least a little (or perhaps a lot) this spring. Some of the changes announced in the ballet world have signaled progress (though nowhere near equality) in our artform. As all forms of news, activity and emotion swirl through the air, balance may seem out of reach – even trivial. Yet balance is the very thing that allows us to be in the middle of our chaos, and also somewhat elevated.

Expanding the Repertoire for Balance

The commodified version of balance is sold to us in the form of face masks, vacations and wine. It’s advertised as the serene parenting professional who “has it all together” between her cross-training regimens, meal plans and supermom strategies. Such comedic, unrealistic representations distort what balance is and how it is cultivated. They trick our minds into believing that balance is something we either indulge in sometimes or achieve for always.

It’s freeing to remember balance is not something to master; it is something to tilt towards. The equinox arrives showing us it is an experience to move into, pass through and rhythmically move back towards again.

Balance, and the daily habits that sponsor it, look different for each of us. It’s an ongoing, personal process of inquiry and discovery to truly tailor the fit. But for all of us, it’s important to identify balance as something larger than ourselves. An artist’s healthy inner life is interdependent with a healthy arts community at large. Expanding outward in the name of balance is as equally important as turning inward. Rather than depleting us, engaging outwardly as an arts advocate broadens perspective, fuels inspiration and enriches passion with purpose. With small, everyday actions, balance becomes something we can access and experience together.

Three Action Steps:

  • JOIN Americans for the Arts
    The National Arts Action Summit and Arts Advocacy Day occured in Washington, DC earlier this March. This summit brought arts activists together in support of strong public policies and appropriating increased public funding for the arts. Hosted by Americans for the Arts, cultural and civic organizations partnered to advocate for issues like arts education policy, the charitable tax deduction and funding for the National Endowment for the Arts. You can JOIN Americans for the Arts to support this annual event and to engage with their tremendous efforts all year long.
  • EXPLORE The United States of Arts
    Since the beginning of 2015, the National Endowment for the Arts has been gathering stories from the general public and grantees, elected officials and agency directors, artists and art lovers across the country about the importance of art in their lives and their communities. EXPLORE these geographically organized stories to spark creative ideas and connect to your community as an arts advocate.
  • ENCOURAGE Creativity
    As dancers, you already know why #TheArtsMatter. This Encourage Creativity campaign (created by Americans for the Arts) is designed to reach your power-holding policymakers, business leaders, parents and teachers. These wonderful resources can be used by YOU to advocate for access to the arts in your community and to educate those around you. Start by SHARING this compelling (and adorable!) video. Supplement your efforts with Why the Arts Matter State Factsheets.

When we embody balance as a daily rhythm that bends us both inward and outward, we become better artists and also better citizens. However imperfect these practices are, they still seem to create the occasional magic of an equinox, right in the middle of our lives.

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.

black and white photo of a laundry bag with a message on it that says "Stop! Micro Waste"

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.

“We have not overcome our condition, and yet we know it better. We know that we live in contradiction, but we also know that we must refuse this contradiction and do what is needed to reduce it.”

Albert Camus

I type this hello while savoring a joy-inducing oat milk draft latte – the airy, clean coffee fix I had been missing for weeks. It seems the rest of Boston discovered how delightful nitro coffee paired with Oatly tastes and every café was out of the Swedish brilliance for awhile. The oatmilk is back. It’s delicious, and it is the perfect companion for my writing today. Well, aside from the plastic cup it came with. The barista poured up my order before I got my Yeti Tumbler passed over to her, and the irony of writing about sustainability while drinking from a plastic cup is not lost on me.

Contradictions…they are part of this dance. It is impossible to escape them, and so we challenge ourselves to see them, work with them and learn how to do better with each step forward.

Like with all messy bits of life, we have a series of choices about how to deal with our omnipresent contradictions. We can be swallowed up by the guilt they induce (Hi… that’s me). We can ignore them and become indifferent (but please, let’s not). We can constantly justify them (thanks to how amazing are brains are at resolving cognitive dissonance even when it doesn’t serve us well). Or, we can begin to notice our contradictions with curiosity, a touch of humor and maybe even a little grace. A lightness in approach doesn’t excuse us from doing better, but it keeps us from getting paralyzed on the path.

In the spirit of exploring contradiction, I challenge each of us to become curious about our synthetic clothing.

Synthetics (think nylon, polyester and fleece) are popular and useful for their durability, stretching and moisture-wicking capabilities. Our favorite leotards, warm-ups, athletic wear, yoga pants and underwear are all likely to contain synthetic fibers. Traditionally, these synthetics are made with chemicals from coal, plastic and natural gases (yikes), but innovative technologies using recycled water bottles and other waste have enabled earth-friendly iterations that companies like Jai-Dee are embracing with enthusiasm. Today, synthetic textiles can be both high-performing and responsibly produced, making them popular for conscious brands and conscious consumers.

Yet, while synthetic textiles look and function beautifully while on the body, they are proving to be quite harmful while in our washing machines. Washing even a single load of synthetic clothing can release hundreds of thousands of plastic microfibers back into our waterways. Microplastics are the tiny, often-invisible fibers that shed from synthetic textiles when washed, and unfortunately, even recycled fabrics will shed these microplastics when cleaned in our convenient, conventional ways.

Jai-Dee Dancewear directly supports the rescue of ocean and landfill waste by using ECONYL® regenerated nylon in our dancewear but our leotards are not exempt from the microplastic issue. When we began the design and development journey for Jai-Dee Dancewear, I saw the contradiction inherent in using a recycled synthetic fabric that helps clean up the ocean but then sheds plastic back into the waterways when washed. I saw the contradiction and got curious about possible solutions.

As Ocean Clean Wash asserts, “The release of plastic microfibers from synthetic clothing problem demands a solution-oriented collaborative effort from industry — including fashion companies and producers of washing machines, detergents, and yarns — to find sustainable long-term solutions to stop the release of microplastic fibers from laundry washing.” For us at Jai-Dee, participating in a solution-oriented collaborative effort means helping to make the issue more visible, sharing the current research with you and pointing to practical solutions that can be immediately implemented by our communities.

One good thing you can do with me to be a part of the solution – buy this for your washing machine. Using a GUPPYFRIEND® laundry bag (sold at cost from Patagonia for less than $30) is a simple, effective way we can collectively take meaningful action against plastic pollution. There are other options that help keep your microfibers out of the water (like the amazing Cora Ball), but for dancewear specifically, I like how the GUPPYFRIEND design provides a full protective layer for garments while in the washing machine. While trapping microfibers for safe disposal, the bag also inherently protects the quality of your clothes and helps your leotards live their longest, best lives – a double win for sustainability.

I suggest washing not only your future Jai-Dee leotards (more updates coming soon on those!) in these laundry bags but ALL your dancewear, activewear and underwear – as well as any other clothes you have with synthetic fibers. The GUPPYFRIEND bag is not going to completely solve the microplastic issue of course, but it is a simple, accessible way that each of us can immediately become part of the solution.

With heart – and no shortage of contradictions,

Sustainable leotards empowering women through ecofriendly clothing.

If you are interested in being part of the solution beyond your own washing machine, take a moment to share this post within your own network of friends and followers. You can also learn more about LANGBRETT, the company behind the bag and their related nonprofit, Stop! Micro Waste, HERE.

Sustainable leotards empowering women through ecofriendly clothing.

Join us backstage for community news & launch party offers.