Ballet dancer Jovani Furlan has had a year of ups and downs. This now culminates (in dance terms, as the performing arts wind down their summer vacation schedules) with the launch of his new performance wear brand Furlan Dancewear, which is among the premier dancewear lines. specific to men available. And Furlan gets there with a decidedly fashionable approach.
The line is just the latest achievement from Furlan – who started the year in his native Brazil, unsure whether he would get a visa to return to the United States in time for New York City Ballet’s return to the stage after the lock. Since then, despite personal struggles, he has come back stronger – eventually promoted to principal dancer in February and debuting in a rapid string of key Balanchine roles.
You could argue that Furlan, who has been dancing professionally for 12 years, previously for Miami City Ballet before joining NYCB in 2019, has enough experience to know what’s missing in the men’s dancewear market. And so in the midst of the pandemic, while still living with his family in Brazil and looking to use the time offstage, that’s exactly what he decided to do.
“I did a lot of research on male-focused brands and could only find a few. There are mostly brands that have male-focused sub-brands like Capezio and Bloch,” said Furlan, which produces the line in Brazil using local fabrics.
For the launch, Furlan Dancewear includes a tight edition of units, leggings, shorts, a biketard and an elastic waistband that has been designed to enhance body lines or keep pants puffy the way dancers love it. TO DO.
They’re produced in a color palette reminiscent of costumes from Jerome Robbins’ postmodern classic ‘Glass Pieces’, marked by Phillip Glass – a shade of sage green, merlot red, blush pink, sky blue and plain black.
Colors, which can be mixed and matched or worn alone for a monochromatic effect, were important to Furlan, who felt color was generally lacking in men’s dancewear options. “I wanted more than black, gray and white tights. I almost wanted a sense of fashion. My pieces are simple – all solid colors – but you can play around with it and wear a shirt over it and a layer.
“I wanted something that didn’t squeeze you. The main massage is how dancers present themselves on a day-to-day basis and I think fashion is a big part of that,” he said.
Furlan is already considering extensions like leggings and hoodies. Everything costs between $19 and $75 and is exclusively available on Furlan Dancewear’s own site, but Furlan is considering some wholesale partners for the future.
But the brand could have legs beyond dancing. In promotional images shot by Alinne Volpato in Brazil of the dancers at Furlan’s hometown studio, the designs are presented with a more luxurious and high-performance angle that could invite buyers from other sports disciplines to join in.
“I wanted to showcase the physicality of the dancers, not in a balletic way. I told them to be themselves and be athletic – don’t think of yourselves as dancers,” he said.
Furlan, feeling like “I couldn’t do this just for me”, is donating 10% of the brand’s proceeds to a scholarship for young male dancers in Brazil to help them achieve their dreams, just like he did. “I always relied on scholarships, it was such a struggle. As if dancing wasn’t difficult enough, I had other challenges trying to find someone to support me. Even though I impact one student a year, it’s so important to me,” he said.