photos by Zanita Morgan
Ballet and contemporary dance have been a huge part of my life since age four. I have it to thank for my posture, discipline, hair-braiding skills, attention to detail, being comfortable on stage, and technical understanding of music, fashion, and contorting one’s body in front of an audience of a five hundred strangers. People often ask me what makes me the happiest in my day-to-day, and of the list that qualifies, three hours in the studio with a challenging playlist and the blissful exhaustion to follow is certainly right up there. There is so much gravity in expressing yourself through choreographed movement, with the potential to make you feel so incredibly happy and powerful – something that even professional dancers lose sight of once caught up in the whirlwind of a concentrated and fiercely political industry.
Zanita is one of those rare artists prefers to capture an expression or emotion than an inanimate frame, and with this mutual understanding of movement, we have been intending to pull together a balletic editorial for you all for quite some time now. With our absolute elation at working in what can only be described as paradise, Sri Panwa‘s pristine private beach could not have served a better backdrop and dynamic inspiration to the surreal movement in a long, billowing dress.
Practically speaking, I don’t think I’ve ever worn a long dress in my entire dancing career – the reality is that you would probably fall on your face, and show photographers don’t have Zanita’s finesse, so you’d end up looking like a satin dumpling – so this experience was something quite special and riveting. Aside from one squirrel who shuffled up and down a tree branch trying to understand what a giant multi-coloured butterfly and/or jellyfish was doing leaping about on the beach, it was just the lazy mid-morning back and forth of the ocean, the buzz of humidity and its bug friends, and Z’s shutter going at a lightning speed.
Just talking about all this gets me so excited to share more of the projects we’ve been working on while here – and the plans for more beyond the jungle bounds of Sri Panwa (as sad as that makes me).
Now: back to being a butterfly jellyfish in paradise.