After spending over ten years as a senior dancer with the Australian Ballet Company, Felicia Palanca has taken her love of dance and combined it with her passion for costume and design to create Flo Dancewear – a range of gorgeous dance clothing for children. We caught up with the accomplished dancer, designer and mother of two to find out more about Flo Dancewear and Flo Active, which has just arrived in Myer stores.
Tell us how Flo Dancewear was born?
Flo Dancewear was born largely through my love of dance – I fell in love with dancing at very young age and always particularly loved dressing up as a child in the gorgeous tutus for productions. I spent 10 years with the Australian Ballet where I was lucky enough to wear some of the most amazing costumes in the various roles I played. The colour, theatre and life they bought to a performance have always been special to me.
What inspired you to create a dancewear line for children?
The ballet was a huge inspiration to me and I always wanted to be involved with design after my professional dance career. When I retired from the Ballet I started working as a designer with a leading international dance brand. It was fabulous experience working with their womenswear and children’s clothing lines and it allowed me to really refine my design skills. My real inspiration for designing a dancewear line specifically for children though was having my daughter Isabella. I wanted to create clothing in beautiful, easy to care for fabrics that can be worn for dance and for play
What does the range offer and do you have plans to grow and build the range?
Because of my background the range is definitely dance inspired –lots of little girls want to be a ballerina at some point in their lives. The styles include tutus, leotards and dresses as well as other key ballet-inspired pieces. The summer range is all in studio colours and the styles can be worn to class but also to parties or just for fun. I definitely have plans to grow the range – shoes, tights, and knits; there are so many gorgeous pieces that come from the dance world.
I have also just launched Flo Active with Myer which is very exciting for me. As girls grow up their clothing needs change and I wanted to cater for girls from 8 onward. They want to express their own sense of style and choose their own clothes. Young girls love to wear active clothing; they can go from a hip-hop class to a play with friends in the new Flo Active range. The styles are dance inspired but with a sporty fashion twist. I love designing Flo Active. Like a lot of other women I spend quite a lot of time in my Active wear, either trying to squeeze in some exercise between work and school drop offs or just because it is so easy to wear. It is becoming a wardrobe staple across all ages.
Was dance a big part of your life growing up?
It was everything to me growing up. I ate, slept and dreamt of dancing. I started ballet classes at 3 years old and when I was old enough I went to performing arts school where I was able to fit even more dancing into my week. It was fabulous to be surrounded by other dancers and artists with the same passion I had. Being a dancer is hard work but moving to music and telling the stories through all of the gorgeous ballets was a truly magical time in my life.
What would you say to parents considering enrolling their children into dance classes?
I would definitely say that especially for children starting out, dancing should be fun. Ask your children the type of dancing they enjoy most and want to learn. If they can do the classes they enjoy and have friends they can try new classes with it is definitely a great way to start.
I also would suggest going to classes that are easy for the parents to get to. As children get a little older and if they are serious about their dancing, I would recommend they go to a ballet school that is focused on technique. Schools that offer Vaganova, RAD or Cecchetti will provide the best technical training. I think the most import consideration is that the classes should be enjoyable as dancing can be so much fun.
Shop our range of Flo Dancewear online here.