It’s no secret that we are living in tense times. Now more than ever, it’s important to us at Zarely to promote unity and awareness of the global community. That’s why we were thrilled to speak with dancers from varied personal, professional, and national backgrounds. Denys Cherevychko (inspiration for the neoprene-style Denys jacket and pants) performed a Swan Lake variation from Vienna State Ballet. Vanessa Zahorian (who in many ways inspired our designers to create a stylish top and leggings for pilates and gyrotonic exercises) gave us a sneak peek of Mariinsky rehearsal in Moscow. But whether from Dresden or Houston, San Francisco or Zurich, Stuttgart or Monte Carlo, we saw a group of people united by a never-ending quest for perfection (and if we had to guess, a love-hate relationship with The Nutcracker).
Another constant among these dancers was their formula for success. In honor of our I AM LEGEND campaign, Mateo asked each dancer what exactly makes a legend. Their answers were unique but all contained three key ingredients: integrity, effort, and community.
Fairly or unfairly, depending on who you ask, ballet is known for being dog-eat-dog. But at Zarely, we believe that success results from pushing ourselves and not demeaning others. To quote Mateo’s introduction of Zarely role model Iana Salenko (the ultimate inspiration for high-fashion Iana jacket and leggings), “…she is someone who wants to do good in the world.” That daily pursuit of kindness and selflessness is as necessary a discipline as a morning work out. Collaboration is a part of any athletic or artistic pursuit. As such, integrity is a foundational building block of longevity and one of the first things we look for in our role models.
It’s easy to look at those at the apex of their craft and assume they’ve always been that good. For ballet, that’s even the goal of the art form—to make extremely difficult steps look effortless. We love hard work (after all, we do make elevated workout gear), but it’s most often referenced in the abstract.
Dylan Gutierrez of The Joffrey Ballet gave us a little insight into the practicality of hard work: “Everyone has to deal with their hurdles and struggles…I was growing and got a lot taller there was a lot of work I needed to do on my hands and feet and port de bras. What really helped me was doing pilates through my younger years to help keep everything together and coordinated.” The work paid off. Dylan went on to train at The Royal Ballet School and then joined San Francisco Ballet. He said about the company, “I thought did my best there, but ultimately it didn’t really work out…I had to realize it’s not really a mark of me as a dancer. But I kind of had to pick myself up and dust myself off…and luckily at the Joffrey Ballet I’ve been able to succeed and continue to pursue my dream.”
Whether it’s injury, a lost opportunity, or a major life change (be sure to check out Maia Makhatelli’s pregnancy-safe workout), when you keep getting back up to do that hard, humble work, perseverance becomes second nature.
Melissa Hamilton of Semperoper Ballett Dresden offered some timeless wisdom on hard work and perseverance. Watch it below.
Of course, hard work is exactly that: hard. Day-in and day-out, it can do a number on your willpower. That’s why we believe community is the most important piece in achieving your goals. Resistance precedes growth and sometimes we need others to help push through those mental and physical barriers—to be strong when we feel weak. At Zarely, we love to inspire and be inspired. The stories of others are pivotal in shaping our own goals and giving us the fuel to fulfill our potential. Dylan Gutierrez said it best, “I heard a speech form Susan Jaffe…she was talking about how growing up she wasn’t the most talented of her friends and didn’t have the greatest body type. But in her mind she always knew she was going to be a ballerina….I felt the exact same way. To hear someone who had come up and actually achieved it…that was a big turning point for me. That was the time I decided I wanted to fully pursue dance and that I could do it—that I could do what I wanted.”
Whether you’re a dancer or runner, basketball player or gymnast, we encourage you to embrace that timeless Legend’s Mindset. Be kind and collaborative, work hard and persevere, support and be supported. And while you’re at it, choose workout wear that works as hard as you do. Shop our I AM LEGEND collection here at our website and be sure to watch the recording of the 2nd Zarely Global Gala here.
Text by Dawson White
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