To launch our Dance Month, we speak to seasoned dancer Flik Swan. Co-founder of Sleek Technique, Flik teaches ballet remotely, so you can practice your pliés from the comfort of your own home. The ballet veteran shares her training secrets and an insight into her love of dancewear.
Tell us about Sleek Technique?
My co-founder Victoria Marr and I launched the live classes in April last year, but we’ve been about two years coming together. Sleek Technique is aimed at women of all ages, 18 and up. It doesn’t matter if you’re a professional dancer or you’ve never danced in your life. Most of our ‘Sleekers’ as we call them have never danced before. Essentially it’s an attainable method for women who love the idea of learning an art like ballet, and also want to get their body fit.
What first got you into dancing?
I started dancing when I was 2 1/2. I never thought about doing anything else. I had two years at the Royal Ballet and won a scholarship to go to Elmhurst ballet school at the age of 11, and absolutely loved it. I embraced it; some of the best years of my life were training in classical ballet, and other forms of dance. From there at 17 I got my first professional role and that was that. My full name is Felicita Swan so it’s a ballet dancer’s name! But I’ve always been called Flik since I was a baby.
What’s the main reason you dance?
It’s a tough life. It takes discipline, dedication and hard work. You have to have that vocational calling. But there was a reason Victoria and I came together for Sleek Technique. We really felt the world is on the cusp of something with dance and going into a different platform. There’s a real ballet and dance renaissance right now. I absolutely feel I’m in the best place of my life with Sleek. Victoria only retired from one of the Royal Ballet companies a few months ago, so we’ve hit the ground running and it’s been amazing.
What do you love the most about dance?
I love the way it makes me feel and the expression that comes with loving the way my body moves. I’m very thankful that my body can do things that the average body can’t do, but only because I’ve worked at it for a long time.
Aside from dance, do you do anything else to keep fit?
Honestly, we practice what we preach. At the moment we run 3-4 classes a day, so there is no need to do anything else! But if I do, I’ll do some yoga and I love walking as I have dogs. At Sleek we have different kinds of classes, so my body gets a total workout. I think if I did anything else I’d be exhausted!
How do you stay motivated on rainy days?
My body has trained for a long time, so it’s almost inherent with me. I feel better when I exercise, I feel worse when I don’t, so I don’t really struggle that much. But that said, I am only human and there are definitely times when I think I don’t feel like it, but I know within 5-10 minutes of taking some plié’s instantly my endorphins start working and I know it was worth it. The end goal keeps me motivated.
What advice would you give to a total dance novice keen to have a go?
Come to Sleek Technique and try a class! We look after everyone, the whole point of our intro class is we can see and hear you and vice versa. We keep a keen eye and we help you, it’s not a scary vibe at all. You’re relaxed and safe in your own home. We do everything too so you get talked through it and we guide you.
How important is sportswear to you?
Sportswear is very important to me. I have to feel good when I’m Sleeking. I love dancewear so I love a leotard and I’m a big fan of legwarmers. It’s important to feel good. I like to have clean lines, so nothing too baggy. You want to feel good in what you’re wearing and if you do, you’re more likely to pull up that little bit harder. It’s important for women today to feel good when they workout.
What are your key dance wear pieces?
I’m a big fan of Bloch; I love the intricacies of the back of their leotards. When I’m working on my upper body, if something gorgeous is going on behind me it makes me think more about my body. Repetto also do some fantastic stuff. Sweaty Betty do some awesome Bridget Bardot style leg warmers and a great adagio legging; I love them, they’re a favourite. I also love Strider’s Edge; they do great yoga wear that can cross over to dance wear. The materials these days are really good and the design and the colours are becoming more interesting and fashion seasons in their own right, and I’m all for a nice jazzy outfit.