Despite the outdated hair colour, the release of this story is oddly timely. Compared to last year’s set schlep, jumping between all too many projects and clients to remain reasonably sane, the first quarter of 2017 has felt busier, and yet infinitely more calm (save the daily silent rage over news media headlines).
Cue exaggerated arm movements in reference to the ephemeral passage of time.
The primary reason for being back in Australia for the past two weeks (aside from a few speaking gigs ranging in topic areas from future digital consumers to female empowerment to science of skincare) was to finish shooting a piano-based short film I’ve had in the works for the past 6 months (and won’t be out for another 5). It’s been strange to have spent such an extended period of time and such a studied, almost clinical, stance on conveying an emotional experience with performance art that should be so intimate and raw.
It seems sacrilegious. Somehow.
While in Brisbane, I joined some dear friends and their kids for the Queensland Ballet’s opening night of their new program. “Don’t you miss ballet?” their eldest daughter wanted to know in intermission. Settling back into our seats, my phone lit up with a message from a girl I grew up studying dance with from age 3 through till my mid-teen divergence. Word backstage amongst her colleagues was that I was in the audience tonight, she said. Could it be true? True indeed.
Post-show, between reminiscing on childhood stage make-up and getting back up to speed on 7 missed years of perceived adulthood, the same sentiment came up. Did I ever wonder what could have been? Didn’t I pine for the rhapsodic athleticism, the harrowing physical exertion, the ease with which one loses their linear sense of time under the heat of stage lights and audience anticipation? Or was it indifference? I could never really tell as a kid.
Ironically, it’s the systematic nature of ballet that I miss the most. For all of its emotional outpourings, it’s a science. Calculated by unforgiving beats of four. No time for missteps. Nowhere to hide technical shortcomings. Every day: leg
warmers at dawn, dripping with sweat by noon, cursing the same Gershwin passage that we’d drilled over and over all afternoon. And yet, in the five minutes on stage that you spend a whole semester preparing for, anything can happen. Your body can’t so precisely control how you respond to simultaneous sound stimulus and heightened sensitivity to every joint and sinew clicking over in your shoulders and your thighs.
No two performances will ever be the same, which
sounds obvious on paper and conceited out loud. But how else can you help somebody understand whatever it is that happens in your chest when you’re truly immersed in something that so defines the way you think and move?
Structured, but not predictable? Serena offered.
Of course, I’m immensely grateful that I discovered what intellectually stimulates me enough to qualify
a vocational “passion” at this early an age.
But, ballet and piano are my first great loves – and they remain an emotional benchmark against which all perceived creative fulfilment is measured. I would never claim to be the best, and even less a professional. The focus is the way in which I hope to capture the aforementioned.
Watch this space.
LOOK 1: Rachel Gilbert dress – Bloch pointe shoes
LOOK 2: Rachel Gilbert top
LOOK 3: Bloch leotard – Bloch tutu
LOOK 4: By Johnny bodysuit – Agent Provoceateur corset – Bloch tutu and pointe shoes
LOOK 5: Jac + Jack tops (layered) – Bloch tutu and pointe shoes
Swarovski jewellery throughout