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Club Class

NYC dancer Brian Henninger hits the streets of Brooklyn in this energetic short film

Following previous instalments of Konstantinos Menelaou's City Portraits Films for Ellesse Heritage that focused on skating in Berlin and alternative fitness in London, the latest, NYC-set movie covers dance, showcasing the work of New York resident and dancer Brian Henninger. Like the previous films, this, the last in the series, shows a protagonist using physical activity to access, see and enjoy urban life in a way only open to someone determined enough to navigate the cityscape according to their own rules. Henniger dances on worn-out post-industrial Brooklyn streets, teaches the art of locking to a young kid and travels uptown to perform a cinematic piece of professional choreography with a female partner.

Now is a good time to tap the dance energy in New York. Maybe the current spasms of spontaneous voguing at Brooklyn warehouse parties and b-boying in Manhattan gay clubs might seem like the product of a city trading on past glories. But once you’ve actually stood next to a man with face-tattoos busting moves while balancing a full champagne glass on his head, you get over it. It’s partly those sorts of WTF moments that have fueled a year’s worth of NYC club-scene comeback talk.

The hyper on-trend Ellesse Heritage line features the Italian ski and tennis specialist's 80s and early 90s archive, as well as other pieces inspired by that period, when sportswear was inseparable from the pop-cultural avant-garde. Athletes like the Ellesse-endorsed Boris Becker became megastar fashion icons and sportswear provided the uniform for the then futuristic genres of rave and hip hop. Wearing the line in our pictures is another New York-based dancer, Jongo Zeizel, a rising 20-year-old choreography director with New York’s Epic Motion. On the shoot he made dance sound like a quasi-religious transcendent, out-of-body experience, saying: "Good dancing happens through a sort of muscle memory. It's like a high, I can't feel the room, I'm not thinking, it's just the music cursing through my veins, like the sound is carrying me. When you dance in a team the mental connection is unlike anything else." Wow. That sounds almost as good as Zeizel looks in the Ellesse Heritage sweaters.

Photos Kevin Amato
Styling Yuki James
Text Daryoush Haj-Najafi