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The White House Dance Series

Image by Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

Image by J. Scott Applewhite / AP Images

Image by Jewel Samad / Getty Images

First Lady Mrs. O hosted The White House Dance Series this afternoon, beginning with a student workshop, followed by a tribute performance to Judith Jamison, the artistic director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater who will retire next year. Addressing the audience, Ms. Jamison declared, "Dance is the soul of this nation!" The New York Times has a lovely summary of the program, here.

For the event, Mrs. O turned to a black and white palette -- an increasingly frequent choice for the first lady -- highlighted by a mix of prints and textures. A full skirt was balanced by a printed sheer top worn over a white camisole, all belted at the waist of course. 

Update: Mrs. O wore a leopard lace dress by Byron Lars, available here through Carina New York, paired with a perforated leather Alaia belt for yesterday's event. 

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Reader Comments (74)

I love that she is recognizing dance and the Alvin Alley Dance Theater. Very smart because it works so well into her Lets Move! initiative and it shows there are other artistic ways of being fit outside of sports and athletics. I love the peak of leopard print underneath the sheer black top. So in season yet classy.

Just a guess, but I think this dress or top and skirt ensemble is Jason Wu. Michelle Williams wore a beautiful Jason Wu 3/4 sleeve gown to the Venice Film Festival with the same collar detail which can be seen HERE
I also think the belt is Alaia. Possibly the same one she wore in Spain.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010 at 5:19 PM | Registered CommenterAri

I agree with Ari's comments about Alvin Allley. Also I love the pic of Michelle Williams in her Jason Wu. Boy does she look gorgeous. Thanks Mrs. T for the video of the white house evnet.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010 at 6:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterSusan

I agree with Ari's comments about Alvin Allley. Also I love the pic of Michelle Williams in her Jason Wu. Boy does she look gorgeous. Thanks Mrs. T for the video of the white house evnet.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010 at 6:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterSusan

I just finished the video so I just saw Michelle's out fit. Pretty and feminine! God bless her for supporting the artes.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010 at 6:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterSusan

Truly inspirational! I got to the computer just is time and looked at the entire performance. Michelle Obama is doing everything possible to give your country back its soul. I hope it is deeply appreciated.
And that dress......it is to die for. She looked stunningly B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L....as usual.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010 at 6:15 PM | Unregistered Commentertrinisamba


Tuesday, September 7, 2010 at 6:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterMISS BAKER

THANK YOU to FLOTUS for celebrating the arts once again with this magnificent program. It brought back so many memories of seeing Judith Jamison dance a few times. She was a breathtaking performer along with all the others in the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater.

Mrs. O looked completely stunning in that gorgeous dress. Would love to hear about the designer. I'm also thinking Jason Wu!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010 at 6:36 PM | Registered Commentermeta

She is back ladies and gentle men...she is back with a bang. I love her outfit I love how she thinks outside the box.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010 at 7:47 PM | Registered CommenterAshley Williams

She's back folks! Not sure who the designer is, but it does not resemble the dress Michelle Williams wore in my opinion. http://www.daylife.com/photo/0aIu51iar8aYQ?q=michelle+obama

Tuesday, September 7, 2010 at 9:45 PM | Registered CommenterCreed419

Lovely!!! Our First Lady rocks!!! She is beautiful and so are her super well-behaved kids.
What a wonderful honor for Ms Jamison.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010 at 10:15 PM | Registered CommenterEleroy

Perhaps Byron Lars? She looks great!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010 at 10:20 PM | Unregistered Commenterouapiti

Hi ! For me her top seems more like the Dolce Gabbana's animal print .... But we'll see soon.
À bientôt !

Tuesday, September 7, 2010 at 10:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterNolli

Lovely. Did FLOTUS cut her hair? It really looks healthy. She looks very nice and so do the girls. Love, love, love Judith Jamison!!!!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010 at 11:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterCharlotte

Judith Jamison is an International Treasure! Thanks Mrs. Michelle Obama!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010 at 11:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterCharlotte

Lovely dress. Is it a Byron Lars? See link below:


Tuesday, September 7, 2010 at 11:20 PM | Unregistered Commenternjmrso

Great dress. It looks like a Byron Lars. See below:

Tuesday, September 7, 2010 at 11:26 PM | Unregistered Commenternjmrso

you know i was looking through the lookbook of everything she's worn this year and the one of 2009 and i was so happy to see her edit her look and lose the UNFORTUNATE belts. of such belts this is absolutely the crowning jewel of the collection of figure disfiguring, construction man esque, bosom spilling over, jacket/dress ruining waist clinchers. I wish she would just burn it - it been the cause of too many faux pas especially when it was cinched over that taupe dress and later matching jacket and you all know exactly what outfit i mean!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010 at 11:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterRory

Gosh, am I the only one who doesn't like that dress? Way too much going on, and the print top just
doesn't flatter Mrs. O. She is quite thin but it doesn't look like it in this dress.
Char from Seattle

Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 12:25 AM | Unregistered Commenterchar

wonderful event. FLOTUS looks beautiful, and I can feel the spirit and life in the room just by the pictures.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 12:29 AM | Unregistered Commenterrikyrah

Will videos be posted??? I want to see Ashley Bouder & Daniel Ulbricht performance!

P.S. Thanks for hosting such a wonderful cultural event!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 12:41 AM | Unregistered Commenterbella Nat

Why are her legs so shiny? They seem to be "greasy," and ruin the look of that gorgeous dress ...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 2:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterBookWorm

Her legs always look shiny. I think she should add powder to tone down the shiny look a little bit. Otherwise she looks amazing as usual.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 2:45 AM | Registered CommenterBeaula Lowes

LOVE the hair & make up.....love the dress (on her) and I have seen the Alvin Ailey Dance Troupe - they are as amazingly beautiful and athletic as the dancer pictured here.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 2:54 AM | Unregistered Commentercanyongal


WOW, check out Sasha's hair! and Malia, bless her heart, with her braces!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 2:57 AM | Unregistered Commentercanyongal

Love the splash of color from the blue? green? turquoise? heels.

I just watched the performance on Youtube. It was a treat. I hope Mrs. O continues to be a conduit for us Lovers of the Arts.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 3:06 AM | Registered CommenterMcKinley

Beautiful dress by Byron Lars:http://carinanewyork.com/store/product-info.php?Byron-Lars-Leopard-Lace-Dress-in-Powder-pid167.html
The belt ... hmmmm?? I'm not sure.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 3:41 AM | Registered CommenterBibi

Love Mrs Obama's emsemble, her dress is simply feminine and elegant. I think the shoes are actually silver which complement the dress nicely.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 4:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterJestina (England)

Mrs O looks stunning. I loveeeee her dress, hairstyle, shoes and make-up :)
Is that me or anyone else noticed Mrs O skin especially her leg looked too shiny / oily.
Gee, never seen too much oil on someone 's skin like this before, except Bodybuilders.
Any way she always has lovely skin tone and arms:)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 7:11 AM | Registered CommenterNic John

Dress is very cute. The belt is not. It's too wide and too metalic. Love the bright shoes with black & white.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 7:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterGail

I don't usually criticize Mrs. O's choices, but the belt was definitely not a good choice. She has such a small waist and that belt totally hides that fact. I also think it distracts from the patterns on the dress.

Love the dress. Love the lady in the dress. Hate the belt. She should have worn the belt that comes with the dress.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 8:57 AM | Registered Commentermarabout40

Love the sheer top and her heels.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 9:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeorgia

I work with the stars folks, the big ones and the not so big ones. Ever watch them on the red carpet, always posing, doing the model moves for the camera. In truth and in fact a lot of what you see in pictures is not so in reality. Do you think that Jolie was born with those lips?? NOT. That is why they have to keep fixing their lips and hips and noses and brows and breasts and us ordinary people try so hard to look like them and wonder why we don't succeed. I've never posted here before but I come frequently to look at a real woman, with real cheekbones and REAL teeth and real hair. With real legs, with real calves and real wide hips and real arms to die for. In other words, folks, a real beauty who doesn't contort her body for that 1 second shot so that the dress doesn't always looks perfect because she isn't perfect just gorgeous in her naturalness, her shiny legs are a result of healthy eating and exercise and good skin care. (No need to adjust the lighting for a perfect picture.) Her clear eyes reveal the clarity of her mind so that she is able to be a support for her husband in these trying times; This is one amazingly beautiful woman and thrust me when I tell you I know the difference.

Since this is also a fashion blog, I think she is stunning in this unusual dress.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 10:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterStar struck

Her best look for this kind of event at this time of day was the sleeveless white full-skirted dress - the time when everyone thought she had cut her hair.

This dress is too busy, too much going on, and the belt is too heavy for the light fabrics in the dress. An inch longer would have given a more elegant feel.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 11:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterBeeGee

I agree with you, star struck. Mrs Obama is the truth. She's real, she's normal, she wears what she likes (including belts), she wears makeup when she is working and goes freshfaced with her hair tied back when she isn't. It is simply astonishing that a woman as high profile as she is and lets face it, it doesn't get higher that a First Lady, would remain true to who she is, in spite of the massive change to her life. I'm tired of seeing every celebrity "camera ready" by wearing Louboutins, full make up and designer duds to go to Starbucks.

She is a true inspiration and one of the main reasons why I always click on this site at least once a day for my Michelle Obama "fix".

Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 11:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterJestina (England)

Love the dress, but this is one of the rare occasions when I think the skinny belt seen at the Carina New York link would have looked better.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 12:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterSonia C.

Well, Rory, I'm afraid that I don't know what you mean. When I come here, I come here to look at Mrs O in a positive light, and if I see outfits or styles recurring that I don't like, I tend not to bang on about it but look at the good bits of the outfit, or go away without saying anything. Taking the view that whinging constantly about things that aren't going to change, is a bit pointless.

In that vein, I have to say that the thing I like most about this outfit is the belt. I don't love any of the other component parts individually, or in this ensemble. But the belt is beautiful. I would love to have seen it worn over a plain black dress so that the pattern was seen is stark relief. And I'd also have to say that Mrs O is looking radiant at this event. Such wonderful shiny hair!

Star struck - you and me BOTH!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 12:18 PM | Registered CommenterPosh Tater

I'm a great admirer and love her looks, but this ensemble is not the best one with the wide belt and so many patterns. Also, at first glance the top part looked as if she was wearing only black lace.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 12:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterWondersome

I like the dress a lot, but I LOVE the belt. If I have any sense this fall (questionable), I will buy an Alaia belt and call it a day. Well, maybe also those taupe Chanel flats with the patent cap toe. I've got the clothes - most of us on this site do. What MO has made so clear is that it's all about the details, the accessories.

You know who would look great in that dress (with the original belt)? Mary Tomer Byun!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 12:42 PM | Registered Commenteroperafanatic

Lady O Alert!!!

The First Lady just finished a Let's Move! appearance in Slidell, La. (the "ugly" step-sister city just outside of New Orleans), and she looks as radiant as sunshine in this lemony yellow dress. Take a look:



Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 12:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterDarrell Diggins

What I'd really like to see is Malia's dress from that link that canyongal posted. It looks really fun.

And, I think the original belt would have looked a lot better than the Alaia belt. The dress is ok, just ok, but the belt makes her look short-waisted on top and large on the bottom, and she is neither.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 1:04 PM | Registered CommenterSootica

Michelle is in New Orleans today. Below is a link to their newspaper with her prepared remarks given at a school this morning and includes a photo (another is also on the site of her greeting children). She is wearing the yellow dress she introduced at the 5th of May reception in 2009.


Next she mingles with football players and the Saints coach Tony Dunghy. Big 3 days kicking off the Saints opening game tomorrow. A press conference with Michelle and Dunghy and others is slated for 1 pm central time. May only get local coverage.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 1:09 PM | Registered CommenterSharon Nelson

Here is a nice Yahoo photo with TBG lurking in the background. She really looks good.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 1:20 PM | Registered CommenterSharon Nelson

OK, let's get this straight. I don't like this belt thing either, but, she is a grown woman who likes belts and she is going to wear them and there isn't a darn thing I can go about it. Me Dasie, I don't want my internet legacy, when anthropologists, 1000 years from now are studying Mrs. O to be known as 'dasie the belt whiner'. Heck, I don't like anything about this outfit but let's put things in perspective; 20 million people are displaced in Pakistan, 500+ women were gang raped in Congo, in the past month and I had 2 interviews this morning for jobs that I probably will not get. So I'm not in a good mood and I come to this web site because this woman's aura comforts me. Belt be damned.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 1:42 PM | Unregistered Commenterdasie

Well, most black people I know oil, grease, or lotion their legs (bodies). Mrs. O knows the deal and it is better to have shiny legs than ashy legs, so you might as well get use to it.

I really like this dress and to me it looks like a classic Mrs. O ensemble. The program was great and can I just say how happy I am that Michelle Obama is back!!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 2:10 PM | Registered CommenterNyon

Mrs. O's dress is an "inch" away from elegance. Are you for real?

Jestina, her heels are not silver.

I am forever intrigued by her play with the feminine and masculine. The dress is overtly girly with its peek-a-boo leopard lace top and full skirt. The belt says warrior.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 2:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterMcKinley

Mrs. O's dress is an "inch" from elegance. Huh? Are you for real?

Jestina, her heels are not silver.

I am forever intrigued by her mix of feminine and masculine. The dress is overtly girly with its peek-a-boo leopard lace top and full skirt. The belts says warrior.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 2:24 PM | Registered CommenterMcKinley

I love everything Michelle Obama is doing but not that outfit!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 2:28 PM | Unregistered Commentershyril

I LOVE Mrs O for including dance in the white house and agree that it fits so well with her Let's Move initiative - wonderful! But, I really am not loving the dress and I agree with someone above who commented on the unflatering belt. I think short full skirts do not flater her in general especially with a wide belt. But some people love it and that's ok. She looks best in sheath dresses that show her beautiful figure. This dress does not do her justice, it's messy and makes her look 20 pounds more than she is.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 2:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterJanice Lee

This dress is a confusing mix of little girl (Peter Pan collar and full skirt), vamp (sheer animal print), and goth (leather belt). I am someone who loves the unexpected in an ensemble, but this outfit is a miss for me. There is too much going on and it doesn't do her figure any favors. Because she is a tall, athletic woman, I often feel that overly feminine or girlish outfits make her look a little masculine. For me, the strong, clean lines of a well-tailored sheath suit her better.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 2:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterMrs. S


Saw some of this footage last night, and immediately loved Mrs.O's dress. She once again works her magic and manages to mix the two personalities of hard and soft together. Not so crazy about the width of the belt - I like the thin to medium size, but love the mix of pattern, structure and femininity.

I also admire the fact that she has continued to hold court where the whole White House series is concerned, and manages to follow through on opening it up to the public, particularly the youth.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 3:02 PM | Registered CommenterRocky

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