Design

Four Fun Things

Hiplet Ballet

Have you heard of hiplet (pronounced “hip-lay”)? I can’t stop watching this combo of hip-hop and ballet, created by Homer Hans Bryant, the founder of the Chicago Multi-Cultural Dance Center. Although the moves can look untraditional, Bryant noted, “I love awkward… It’s probably making a lot of teachers cringe… [But] we’re keeping it relevant and getting kids excited. Some people didn’t like Picasso either. He painted funny.”

Julia, Sesame Street character with autism

The new Sesame Street character, Julia, has autism. This makes me happier than words can say. She meets Big Bird and friends, and they welcome her into the fold. The team was incredibly thoughtful about creating her persona: for example, her outfit is loose and doesn’t have buttons, tags or ribbons (which can bother kids with sensory issues). “Her eyes had to be a certain way because she has to have an intense look, but she has to look friendly,” says puppet designer Rollie Krewson. Krewson actually created two sets of eyes — a half-closed version and a fully closed version — so that if Julia gets overwhelmed by something, she can squeeze them shut. (This article is 1000% worth reading.)

Best White Jeans

Really feeling white pants for spring — or anytime of year, really. They’d look great paired with a grey tee or chambray shirt. Three standouts: natural, boyfriend, cropped.

S-Town Podcast with Brian Reed and Julie Snyder

Podcast lovers, mark your calendars for March 28th: S-Town, a new true crime podcast from the producers of This American Life and Serial, will drop all seven episodes at once. The narrative includes a “nasty feud and a hunt for hidden treasure”; and Ira Glass notes, “the story has this feeling and mood that’s different from anything else we’ve done.” If you have trouble getting a hold of us next Tuesday, you know why.

P.S. More fun things, and brilliant magazine covers.

(Hiplet photos by Whitten Sabbatini for the NYTimes. White jeans photo via Madewell/Instagram.)

  1. I’m on episode 2 of S-Town and it’s SO GOOD! Already plot twisty! :)

  2. I love all things ballet not that I am a ballerina, but its wonderful to dream of being that graceful. These girls are graceful and can get their groove on. Fantastic! It reminds me of my 4 year old Luna. We have her in ballet which she loves but at home she’ll switch from ballerina to “mom watch me shake my bootah (have no idea why she calls her booty ..bootah!). I’m already subscribed to S-Town and cant wait to listen.

    xo Lendy
    http://www.twoplusluna.com

  3. Yes to white boyfriend jeans! White painters pants are currently on my wish list. :)

  4. Sesame Street also got a new character named Alex who has a father in jail. 1 in 28 children has a parent in jail. Also relevant.

  5. Lizzie says...

    The beautiful hiplet dancers seem as though they stepped right out of a Ernie Barnes painting…

  6. Wow! I immediately went to youtube and watched all of the Hiplet videos that I could find. What a great concept and such incredible dancers. Hope I can see them perform sometime!

  7. Yes! I just saw this same hiplet video last week and was flabbergasted! Love! At first I thought the dancers were kids just messing around, but then I noticed, as one does, that they move like trained dancers, they obviously know what they’re doing which is the only way they would be able to dance like this. So thrilling. Pushing the limits!

  8. Cheryl says...

    I had to wait almost two years before I got my first pair of pointe shoes (studying “pre-pointe) in order to build up the proper muscles and to ensure I didn’t get injured. You have to have a pretty firm grasp of anatomy and technique to just strap on a pair of pointe shoes. It’s not for an average Joe off the street. Pointe shoes are hard at the toe box (end) and extremely uncomfortable and must be broken in by the user. They’re not just a pair of tap shoes to put on and go to town tapping, let’s say.
    I’m assuming the dancers featured have a foundation and background necessary to “go up” en pointe. Their teacher is just having some fun to which I say kudos!

  9. Erica says...

    Joanna, if you love Serial then you MUST LISTEN to UP and VANISHED! It is really really raw, and actually got solved 2 weeks ago!

  10. Hiplet is all over my instagram right now! I think it’s pretty cool and very different. I think sometimes different is hard to appreciate because you don’t understand it. But different can be beautiful in its own right!

  11. Laura says...

    Those hiplet videos are mesmerizing! I don’t know anything about the ballet world but I’ve seen other dancers on social media criticizing that medium because apparently they’re more open to injury? I don’t know haha. I do wish I’d read those comments in a more empathetic rather than patronizing tone.

    Also, loving the inclusion of Julia! The note on her shutting her eyes if she gets overwhelmed made me tear up. I wish I’d had more of that exposure as a kid. I didn’t know anything about autism until maybe preteen/teen years.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes, laura! there are so many cool ways to help a kid who gets overwhelmed. it’s really amazing the support therapists and teachers can can offer these days. for example, you can take an empty water bottle and fill it with rice and little jewels, and if you shake it, it’s really calming for some kids. another great idea is to take an empty water bottle (or gatorade bottle, since they’re bigger:) and fill it with water and glitter. then you can shake it and wait for the glitter to clear, which can also be really soothing.

      thank goodness for all the smart and talented therapists, teachers and professionals out there! :)

    • Laura says...

      Joanna, I didn’t know about those calming exercises! I’ll keep them in mind. Amazing what people can come up with to help others.

  12. Wow, hiplet… I just spontaneously started (happy?)crying watching that video. I’ve never had such a visceral reaction to any kind of art. Thank you for sharing!!

  13. Kadija says...

    Loving all of these things! I wish I could get away with white pants anytime – I totally feel like a stain magnet when I wear them. Kudos (as always) to Sesame Street! Also, DTH is MAGNIFICENT – if you haven’t seen them perform in person you should consider treating yourself and your family (my son was 5 when I took him with me to the show on my then college campus, and I was surprised to see him SO into it).

  14. Hiplet looks so fun! It is very moving when artists use their creative talents to inspire kids. Anything that can bring people together and become a form of escape from our stressful lives is a win in my book!
    Kylie
    https://ladylists.com/

  15. heather says...

    Joanna, how do you deal with white jeans and two little boys? I’m not even sure white jeans are safe around me, TBH. Between my predilection to spill food/drinks always and my wee kiddos all of my clothes basically have to be made of apron material.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahaha same here. I just wear them when they’re not around :) i’ll wear them to work or out to dinner, etc.

  16. Cait says...

    I love the dancing! Ballet was my obsession as a teen and I still live vicariously through following everyone on IG and all the NYCB videos you share. This is totally different but a cool, unexpected fusion. How gorgeous are those girls, too?!

  17. Erin says...

    Thank you for sharing the article about the newest Muppet who has autism. I’m looking forward to reading it and sharing it with my dad who has worked in special education in various forms for his entire career! xo!

  18. Hiplet – yeah, I’ve been mesmerized by those videos! I didn’t realize the name for it.

  19. Aliki says...

    My 2 year old daughter was just diagnosed as being on the spectrum and every time I see a Julia article tears well up. It fills me with hope that my baby will grow up in a more accepting and loving world.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      sending you a big hug, aliki! your daughter sounds wonderful.

    • jaclyn says...

      You made me tear up. At my desk! My dad is on the spectrum. I know what it’s like to watch someone with it in the world. But it’s different now, even from ten years ago. I can say “my dad is on the spectrum” and people understand. They don’t just think he’s an asshole anymore. They understand that he interacts with the world differently than they do. Your daughter is going to do great (and so are you!).

    • Mina says...

      Aliki, you’re not alone. My son is 6 and on the spectrum. Some days are so hard but my heart is open and I’ll never be the same person before he came into our life. Hang in there.
      “The wound is the place where the light enters you.”-Rumi

  20. I hadn’t heard of hiplet – so cool! And how nice to see a variety of body shapes in ballet shoes… about time!

    So…. I’m a podcast virgin. My question is, when is the best time to listen to them? It might sound like a silly question, but aren’t they a bit antisocial if you listen with headphones? Or do you listen in the car on long drives? I’d love to know when everyone is finding the time!!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      good question, belle! our managing editor lexi, who is a serious podcast enthusiast, listens when she’s cooking at night or in the bath. i listen to them on walks/runs around the neighborhood at night. car trips or commutes would be a great time, too!

    • heather says...

      When I listen to podcasts:
      – During my commute
      – While walking during my lunch break
      – While washing dishes/folding laundry
      –> this last one has led to huge improvements in my husband’s capacity to complete any housework. Previously he’d have the TV on while doing chores around the house, and would end up just watching basketball for an hour with the same dirty dish in his hand. With podcasts, he gets so much more done. :-)

    • jules says...

      I’m like Heather’s husband. I hate domestic tasks. With a toddler I now have a lot of them. Podcasts help me deal after my kid goes down without feeling like Cinderella. Also – dog walks! A good cast will get my dog another 10 minutes !!

    • Nikki says...

      I got rid of TV a few years ago. It was the BEST decision I ever made. I am annoyingly outspoken about how it’s changed my life. I now listen to podcasts when I would listen to TV, even having it on in the background. Some podcasts are better for background noise and some are concentration ones.

      I don’t miss TV. Sometimes I miss the conversations about great TV shows but I’ll watch movies when I go to my boyfriend’s house and that’s good enough for me.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      wow, i’d love to hear more, nikki! do you feel like you have a lot more time?

    • lindsay says...

      I listen to podcasts while I’m driving around running my errands. That sometimes means I have to rewind a little when I get back in the car, to remember what they were saying right before I ran into the post office. But that works.
      Also, I like to sew, and I’ll plug in my headphones and listen to podcasts while I’m sewing.
      On long car rides alone, I usually will listen to a podcast or audiobook. With my husband, we usually listen to Washington Post’s Presidential podcast, which is one of the few podcasts I’ve found that he actually likes (he also liked both seasons of Serial).

  21. Kaitie Tee says...

    These dancers are real life gazelles! So beautiful!

  22. The Sesame Street mention reminded me…have you seen Julie’s Greenroom on Netflix? It’s a show about the performing arts, for kids, hosted by Julie Andrews and it’s so good!

  23. Sarah King says...

    I love these four thing posts. you guys always find the best stuff. i have a question about the white jeans, how do you deal with the pockets which always kind of show thorugh the white denim? do you cut them off?

    • Lee says...

      I’ve always wondered what to do with the pockets too!

    • Melissa says...

      the show through pockets on white jeans has always frustrated me too! I wish someone would start lining the pockets with a nude/skin color fabric. I think that would solve the problem.

    • Kat says...

      I recently took a pair to a tailor and just asked them to cut out the front pockets and stitch them closed. It was easy, pretty inexpensive, and I never use the front pockets anyway!

  24. First one is a disaster! I’m not a teacher, but I’ve danced in pointe shoes and this certainly doesn’t look ok for the body/joints/anything. I’d avoid at all costs. Having said that, notice the different colored shoes? I think it was an innovation by Gaynor Minden (comment not sponsored haha) and I love the idea of keeping up with modern times in such a classical corner of dance. Kudos!

    • B says...

      Gaahhh I agree! It just screams ‘injury!!’ to me!

    • Lauren E. says...

      I too am so torn! It’s beautiful and anything to get kids interested in dance is good in my book. But I saw another video where they’re like, hopping around and doing kick ball change in point shoes and it just makes me cringe. Their poor joints. However, maybe their instructor has already thought of this and is teaching it in a super safe way? Here’s hoping!

    • Amanda says...

      Every time I see the hiplet videos on Instagram, I cringe – it’s just not healthy for them to use their pointe shoes that way! =(

    • Jackie says...

      Aww your comments, with their privilege, sadden. They have different color shoes for the purpose of matching or contrasting their skin tones – it’s a statement. And, yes, all ballet and dance has some risk, but there seems to be no real safety issue here that justifies the cattiness.

  25. nadine says...

    Julia’s charachter is adorable. Thank you for sharing Jo! (the article link might be broken?)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you, nadine — fixed!

  26. deb says...

    as an autism Mom, I love that Julia is being introduced! as cool as well is that Julia’s puppeteer’s son has autism…may have to reintroduce Sesame Street to my almost 25 year old son :)))

    • Rebecca says...

      Me too!

    • Carla says...

      I know – I feel the same. I have an autistic son and I love that you mentioned this character on your website! I check your website every night for a little bit of happy after an often tiring day – this made me so happy to have something so important to me highlighted.

  27. Joanna, I love that you are focusing on Homer and his ballet school. Homer was a dancer at Dance Theatre of Harlem and if you’re a fan of Hiplet you should check out DTH, especially their ballet “Return” which is set to music by James Brown and Aretha Franklin. Let’s just say there’s a Soul Train line. (disclosure: I’m a DTH board member and I love them.)

    • Charli says...

      I had the joy of seeing DTH years ago and it blew my mind. I think I left with my jaw on the floor. I wholeheartedly endorse this comment. :)

  28. Jenny says...

    oh my gosh! I sent you a hipley video on instagram and I felt SO AWKWARD sending it on not knowing IRL, but I couldn’t stop watching it!! Those ladies are amazing. I think of these moves every time I hear an Ed Sheeran song now <3