My style: Clara Bajado

Occupation: Hip-hop dancer and Nike brand ambassador
Age: 26
Personal style: Urban androgyny

James Sherwood: Clara, before we spoke I had this image of you being discovered by Nike's cool-hunters dancing in some Manhattan ghetto. How does one become a professional hip-hop dancer?

Clara Bajado: I started dancing in Paris, where I was born, when I was eight. My mother wanted me to do ballet but I took modern jazz and hip hop instead. Everyone forgets ballet started on the street. Salsa was a street dance, as was tango.

JS: How fascinating. I'm almost loath to bring the conversation around to clothing. Obviously your trainers are Nike.

CB: Yes, they are low Dunks with pony-skin detail. They are the kind of shoe I love to dance in because they are light and flat.

JS: I'm presuming the shorts and socks are a practicality for your style of dance.

CB: The knee-socks are for fashion not for practicality.

JS: Aren't those hoop earrings a liability?

CB: No, they're not a problem.

JS: They are also the only item of clothing that couldn't just as easily be worn by a man.

CB: Actually, I love to look like a girl. I have danced in high heels before. What I'm wearing today is very much what I would wear if I was rehearsing or teaching.

JS: So what defines your style of hip-hop dancing?

CB: My style is new school. I'm in the UK teaching house dance. What I'm teaching is a style that came out of New York as opposed to street dancing, which came from LA.

For more information about Clara's group, visit http://indahouseuk.wordpress.com

How to look new-school cool

White trainers, 64.99, by Nike, 0800 0561 640

Grey zip cardigan, 27, by American Apparel, www.americanapparel.co.uk

Slouchy red beret, 39, by Reiss, www.reiss.co.uk

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