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Richmond Ballet News

MIM Insights: T-shirts

October 14th, 2019

October is the month for costumes, so we’re all about Minds In Motion t-shirts.

It’s one of the most anticipated parts of the MIM year: the design of the souvenir/costume t-shirt. We did a little digging into the history of the t-shirt designs, and also checked on what happens to all those t-shirts.

2016 Bumblebee Shirts


1999: The first t-shirt contest and first souvenir shirt

2006: First mention in the playbill of the t-shirt design contest winner (from William Fox)

2007: A grant provides free souvenir shirts for all participating Minds In Motion students: souvenir t-shirts have been free to MIM dancers AND classroom teachers since.

2016: Souvenir t-shirts are used as costume shirts in the culminating performance.

2019 t-shirt in action

In addition to all those lovely student art designs, there are several Minds In Motion logo shirt designs: one launched in 2010, a Chinese-themed 20th anniversary logo from 2015, and the latest MIM logo, launched in 2017.

Katherine Smothers’ MIM shirt collection–every shirt from 1999 on, including residencies and satellite programs (over 40 shirts!)

MIM spokesdog with Jordan Glunt’s partial collection


So, how do the shirts get designed?

The MIM spokescat was not very impressed with musician Rachel’s t-shirt collection


Every winter, MIM students submit artwork based on the theme for that year. From those submissions, finalists are picked

from every school. The winning design (or designs) are selected from the finalists’ artwork

  • In 2007, 2009, 2012 and 2013, the winning design combined elements from two students’ submissions.
  • 2014: begin sending artwork to local art studios for finalist/winner selection
  • In 2016, 2017 and 2018, each dance had its own shirt design
  • On several occasions, a strong runner-up has been selected as the playbill cover design.

When the show is over…

2017 Finale

It’s not uncommon to see a 4th-grade teachers sporting a Minds In Motion shirt. Nor is it unusual to see 5th-grade graduates of the program in their MIM shirt at school. (There’s even been a sighting of a MIM shirt at a swim team practice.) Younger siblings often come into Minds In Motion class wearing the souvenir shirt from big brother’s MIM year. Members of the Richmond Ballet professional company wear the shirts during morning ballet class. For those on staff with MIM, the t-shirts are work apparel: instructor (and MIM alumnus) Paul Dandridge doesn’t actually have a t-shirt collection because “I wear out my shirts every year.”

The shirts take on a life of their own: they turn into project smocks, swim cover-ups, workout-gear, and even dog sweaters.

And of course, like dance, the shirts are passed from one generation to the next.

Painty fingers today! Crispy MIM hands soon!


(Many thanks to the MIM family for all our lovely shirt models!)

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