Yumiko, A Ballerina With Style
In the piece, choreographed by Dresden SemperOper Ballet’s resident choreographer, David Dawson, principal dancers Yumiko Takeshima and Raphael Coumes-Marquet made a memorable impression, not just because of flawless pirouettes, arabesques, and grand jeté’s, but because of Yumiko’s design of sleek fitting costumes that made every muscle stand out.
The Japanese native began her design career with the determination to construct an outfit a dancer wouldn’t have to pull, tug, or adjust during a rehearsal or performance. She traded a toaster for a sewing machine and started sketching different designs of leotards in her spare time, experimenting with a variety of stretchy fabrics for all shapes and sizes. Her vision and patience for perfection paid off when she finally created a leotard she could wear to class. Her fellow dancers envied Yumiko’s style and began begging for their own; this marked the beginning of a second career.
“As a dancer I am always looking for a comfortable fit, because I wear these clothes all day long,” she notes. The most important aspect is the “fit” of the leotard. “I focus on a tight looking waist and a wide chest because when you present yourself as a dancer, you want to be open.” Yumiko’s designs also focus on individuality by giving the customer the chance to customize every piece. You can choose your own fabric and color from the classic black nylon to an aqua microfiber, or from a rose colored velvet to a saffron colored georgette.
Yumiko’s recognizable name in dance has given her an opportunity to become a brand everyone can remember. With stores in New York, Spain, Germany, and Japan alongside a long list of retailers, her fashion career has been incredibly successful. Even celebrities like Madonna, who ordered 12 Yumiko leotards for her 2008 “Sticky and Sweet” tour, are taking notice of this fashionable and flattering dancewear.
Whether sitting a table with David Dawson sketching ideas for a costume or rehearsing for a show in a studio in Germany, Yumiko has embarked on an unusual journey where she can share her two full-time passions with the whole world.
First published in Issue 9 – Spring/Summer 09 - Arti$tic Reinvention, Poster Issue