Athleticism Meets Artistry in Uniqlo's Dance-y New Ad

In today's installment of "Hey, did you know that dancers are also incredible athletes?" news—a theme we'll never tire of, because it's SO DARN TRUE:

Have you seen the kind of fantastic new commercial from Uniqlo? It's an ad for their AIRism line of athletic wear, featuring lovely classical/commercial crossover dancer Sonoya Mizuno showing us just how movement-friendly the clothing is. (If Mizuno looks familiar, it's probably because you recognize her from High Strung—she played feisty sidekick Jazzy—or from the Wayne McGregor-choreographed Chemical Brothers music video she starred in earlier this year. Keep your eye on this one.)

The dance-world connections don't end there, either: Turns out American Ballet Theatre dancer and up-and-coming choreographer Gemma Bond acted as movement director for the shoot. Which explains why the whole thing looks so...right.

This isn't the first time Uniqlo has used a beautiful dancer in its ads. International ballet superstar Polina Semionova had her own AIRism campaign a while back—and also did a commercial demonstrating, in the most efficient way possible, just how stretchy the brand's ultra stretch jeans are:

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Enter the World of the Knicks City Dancers with 2 of Their Newest Rookies

Auditions rarely fail to deliver on suspense. But this? This was the nail-biter to end all nail-biters. Hayoung Roh and Chelsea McCloskey, both professional dancers based in NYC, had made it through what felt like endless rounds of cuts, both on Zoom and in person. Out of the nearly 500 dancers (from 30 states and nine countries) who'd answered the Knicks City Dancers' open call for video submissions, just 20 remained—McCloskey and Roh among them. "We were separated into six holding rooms, where we kept trying to figure out the math," Roh recalls. "How many girls are there in total? Who was called back?"

Finally, the women returned to the audition room to dance one last time—or so they were told. Instead, KCD head coach Alyssa Quezada dropped her bombshell: All 20 women had made the final cut. They would be 2021–22 Knicks City Dancers: the latest and greatest edition of one of the most prestigious NBA dance teams. "It was the biggest celebration and the coolest moment of my dance career so far," says McCloskey now. And that was just the oh-so-perfectly-dramatic beginning.

Chelsea McCloskey stands on her left leg while kicking her right leg up with her arms crossed, a smile on her face. She is auditioning for KCD. Chelsea McCloskey Photo by Tess Mayer


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