Fusion of Dance and Fashion
It is not a coincidence that the very first dress that I designed was inspired by dance. Like my childhood dream of becoming a fashion designer, dance has always played an important role in my life. When I was a teenager, I loved going to disco clubs and dancing polkas and waltzes at country weddings. In my early twenties, I even studied ballroom dancing to make sure I understood every important style of dancing. In 1994, right before leaving for graduate school in the United Statesh, I learned how to dance salsa, cumbia, merengue, and lambada thanks to my Colombian friends. Latin dancing was an obsession of mine, and as a graduate student at Louisiana State University I continued to explore and experience this style of dancing with the Latin dance parties organized at the university (I even helped organize some of them, too). I carried my love for Latin dancing through all the stages of my educational and graduate training.
After moving to Los Angeles, I took Latin dancing to a different level by going to salsa/bachata classes, and later danced for two years on bachata performance teams.
Bachata dancing created an important connection for me with my friend, actress Q’orianka Kilcher. We both attended a Los Angeles bachata festival, and I recognized Q’orianka from the movie “Princess Kaiulani,” which I watched a couple of months before the festival. She did an amazing job of playing the title role as the last princess of Hawaii. Shortly after the festival, Q’orianka joined the performance team Bachata Caliente; whenever our busy schedule allows, we meet and dance bachata locally at Stevens Steak House. Even when I’m immersed in the joyful energy of dancing, I still observe the people around me with a fashion designer’s eyes. I always pay attention to how people are dressed and their choices of color and style.
I still remember watching ballroom dancing competitions when I lived in Belarus, and I was very fascinated by the spectacular dresses of the dancers. Every couple had a style that was different from everyone else’s. This was an inspiration for my fashion career. In fact, the very first dress that I designed was aimed at bachata dancing and had nothing in common with the style I have now. The only qualities that have carried over to my designer style now are BRIGHT COLORS and CONTRAST.
It is also not a coincidence that when I do runways, I merge dance, choreography, and fashion. Right before my first big show for L.A. Fashion week, I met Maksim Leonov, a very talented professional ballroom dancer and choreographer from my hometown. Maksim and I started working on fashion projects together and have become very close friends. He is talented not just in dancing but also as an amazing hair stylist, make-up artist, model, and he also designs ballroom-dancing dresses. It is our passion for dance and fashion that have united us.
To me, fashion is like dance; it is all about movement … it is “movement in color.” View one of my L.A. Fashion Week shows at this link to see how Maksim, Q’orianka and I have blended fashion with dance: http://www.tatianashabelnik.com/content/springsummer2016
Photographer: Viktorija Pashuta
Fashion Designer: Tatiana Shabelnik
Hair Stylists: Carina Tafulu, Bethy Mireles
MUA’s: Lupe Moreno, Aurora Galarza
Models: Q’orianka Kilcher & Maksim Leonov
Viktorija Pashuta: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tatiana Shabelnik Tatiana@tatianashabelnik.com