Corps de Ballet

The wispy quality of professional ballerinas sets a precedent for aspiring dancers that is often unachievable through healthy practices. As a result, young dancers are typically tempted to change their bodies by overexercising or under-eating. According to a study in 2019, dancers are three times more likely to develop an eating disorder than non-dancers. 

 

In my interviews with current and former ballet dancers, I found their stories of body shame and eating disorders echoed my own. We pushed ourselves through 8 hours of dance with nothing but a granola bar in our stomachs. We hated wearing a leotard and tights in front of a mirror all day. We all had these experiences and still, many of my interview questions were met with the phrase, “I’ve never told anyone this but…” 

 

To start conversations about body shame in the performing arts, I am creating a collaborative video project using aerial dance and original music to express how ballet shaped my body image. This piece will demonstrate the restriction of body shame and the freedom of relinquishing that shame. We will shoot the video in April 2021 and begin recording the music in May.

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Collaborating Artists

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Shodekeh made the musical score for Corps de Ballet.

Dominic “Shodekeh” Talifero is a groundbreaking and highly adept Beatboxer, Vocal Percussionist and Breath Artist who pushes the boundaries of the human voice within and outside the context of Hip Hop music and culture. 

 

As the first vocal percussionist to do so, he formally served as a dance technique musician and composer-in-residence for Towson University’s Department of Dance for 12 years and is the founding director of Embody, A Festival Series of the Vocal Arts, which strives for artistic and cultural convergence through a variety of vocal art traditions from a multitude of the worlds such as opera and throat singing to the many forms of vocal percussion.

 

Shodekeh now serves as TU's very first Innovator-in-Residence where he lectures, collaborates, experiments & performs across departments of Music, Art, Dance, Communication, Film, Mass Communication, and Theatre.

Tyler Parks shot and edited the video for Corps de Ballet. 

 

Tyler Parks is the artistic director of Big Pants Productions, an event and circus videography company. Tyler is a professional circus artist himself so has a keen eye to the needs and aesthetics of the performing arts. He has produced countless promo reels, music videos, and full show archives throughout his 15 years as a videographer.

Kirsten Gerding (Artistic Director, Co-Producer of Flux Vertical Theatre) offered artistic direction for Corps de Ballet.

 

Located in the Bay Area, Kirsten has found a niche in the world of Cabaret and Burlesque as "Mz.K", where she is known for causing mischief and making heads turn wherever she goes. In 2010 she ran away to join the circus and is currently a principal soloist with the Bay Area’s ‘Vau de Vire Society’, where she is known as a quadruple threat as she is usually seen flying through the air, upside down, in the splits and singing all at the same time. Kirsten found pole in 2009 and it opened her eyes to a whole new way of expression, changing her life forever. She decided to create her very first pole performance in 2012 and since then has shared her pole art throughout the Bay Area and beyond. Kirsten has won several pole awards and titles. In 2015 she claimed the title for Pole Theatre USA Drama (Semi-Pro) and in 2018 she won her first International title, Pole Theatre Mexico Classique, with her signature style of Showgirl Slink Singing pole. She is a certified pilates instructor since 2007, has been teaching pole since 2009 and has been teaching dance for 30+ years. 

Sierra Camille offered artistic direction for Corps de Ballet. 

 

After wading in the worlds of dance, theater, and circus, Sierra still hasn’t found which box to check for what she’s creating. Most recently you might’ve seen her one woman show “The Miss American Dream Show”  full of biting political satire and physical theater. Or perhaps you’ve seen her flying above your head on aerial silks. Sierra’s an avid collaborator and leader. Wherever she is, Sierra brings characters to life that illuminate poignant truths about our world; or maybe they’ll simply leave you with your jaw wide open. Audiences have called her “an electrifying beam of positivity and happiness in this cynical world”. She’s currently talking loudly and dancing about in Oakland, CA.

Shot by Elle Aime Photography

Shot by Elle Aime Photography

Shot by Elle Aime Photography

Shot by Elle Aime Photography