No dancing required

To say ballet is having a moment is a bit like saying “theater” or “music” is having a moment. Ballet, first introduced during the Italian Renaissance, has been globally influential for centuries. That said, there’s simply no denying it: Ballet is very much trending right now.

Image of a ballerina and the hashtag #balletcore


In the last few months, we’ve covered “tenniscore,” “Barbiecore,” and “cottagecore.” The latest niche aesthetic to emerge on TikTok is #balletcore, which has already earned more than 97 million views on the platform. The trend is less about actually doing ballet, and more about looking the part. Think leotards, tutu-inspired skirts, and, perhaps most importantly, ballet flats. Like ballet itself, the ballet flat is not new. Legend has it that the original ballet shoe was introduced in 1680 at the Royal Academy of Dance in France, then in 1941, designer Claire McCardell tapped Capezio to slap on a hard sole for street wear. The shoe became even more popular when Brigette Bardot wore a pair of iconic Repettos in the 1956 film And God Created Woman – but the ballet flat hit a fever pitch this year with the release of Miu Miu’s satin ballet slipper, which Vogue declared “the shoes to be seen in this autumn.” According to Lyst data, the $950 shoe is the most coveted product of the third quarter, and it has seen a 1,100% spike in searches in the last few months.

Image of Solange's name + the New York City Ballet's logo


Solange Knowles, the pop star, artist, activist, and, yes, sister to Beyoncé, recently added yet another distinction to her resume: ballet composer. This fall, she was commissioned by the New York City Ballet to compose an original score. The jazzy composition, titled “Play Time,” premiered September 28 as part of New York City Ballet’s Fall Fashion Gala and was accompanied by a performance choreographed by Gianna Reisen, who, like Knowles, is a bit of a prodigy having completed three pieces for the ballet by the age of 23. The performance was paired with costumes by Alejandro Gómez Palomo, the designer behind fashion brand Palomo Spain; riffing on dramatic menswear suits, each pinstripe was encrusted with Swarovski crystals, totaling nearly 800,000 gems. It’s safe to say ballet has never looked this cool.

Image of a plus sized ballerina from Disney's animation short titled Reflect


Last month, Disney introduced its first plus-size heroine in a two-minute film titled Reflect, which debuted as part of Short Circuit, a series of animated shorts on Disney+. The movie centers around a young ballerina named Bianca who, despite not having any spoken lines, has made a powerful impact for its themes of body dysmorphia and self-doubt. Directed by Hillary Bradfield, whose resume includes beloved Disney films like Encanto and Frozen II, the film is based on her personal experience with body image. Though the media coverage largely (and rightly!) focused on the body positivity angle, it’s also quite timely that Disney decided to make a new film about ballet.

Cassandra’s very own Kathy Sheehan wrote a MediaPost article about our Gen Alpha research that was featured on the New York Times this week!