From the moment Sherilyn entered the studio I got a sense that movement was ingrained into all aspects of her life. Obviously she is a ballet dancer, but her movements seemed to flow around the spaces she occupied and moved into, even when she wasn’t dancing.
She was quick to point out that natural ability plays only a small part of being a dancer. The effortless movement through thin air – that part of dancing that captivates audiences – is built upon a tireless and often painful foundation of dedication and training over many years.
The pains and strains made invisible by beautiful lines and movement across the floor. And as Sherilyn slips her foot into her shoes ready for another weekend devoted to practice, she thinks back 17 years, when her feet first touched a pair of soft pink ballet shoes when she was 5 years old. And she hasn’t stopped dancing since.
To capture Sherilyn’s movements in a still image, I’ve decided to experiment with multiple exposure techniques – allowing the dimension of time to be present in the images.
This series was shot on the Nikon D7100, accompanied by the AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G.
The beauty of the environment and the beauty of the human body moving through this space in the most efficient way possible. The beauty of this movement is also known as Parkour – from the French phrase ‘parcours du combattant’, the classic obstacle-course method of military training.
Through the eyes of a parkour practitioner – known as a traceur – the world around them becomes a playground of beautiful movement.
As I spend a day with Keann, Ambry and Joel and when they’re not holding their breath during a flip, they’re rather philosophical about what parkour has helped them to achieve. As Ambry points out, overcoming physical obstacles also sets you up to overcome mental obstacles that have a habit of getting in the way.
And the fluid movements are not only for stair railings and rooftops, but also happen within the community where they teach others through classes and outreach programmes.
And as the day comes to an end I ask Keann what his future plans are for parkour he points out that there are many more roofs to climb, walls to jump and streets to conquer.
This series was shot on the Nikon D7100, accompanied by the following range of lenses – the AF DX Fisheye 10.5mm f2.8G ED, AF-S DX 17-55mm f/2.8G IF-ED and the AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G.
Perfection in movement is beautiful. It can also be a painful and uncomfortable journey. But as anyone who has pushed ahead despite the challenges will tell you – the journey is worth it. Even if the destination is never reached, the reward comes with having tried.
The Perfect Pirouette is about the daily routines and drills of a dancer who’s on such a journey. At times she feels trapped inside a machine she has no control over.
The perfection of a simple pirouette is not easy, and sometimes we can be our own worst enemy. It’s the highly critical nature of a perfectionist. But maybe this ballerina has more control over her destiny than we are led to believe.
And as this elusive destination is finally revealed in all it’s beauty we discover the real driving forces behind her movements. And at the end of a long, and personal struggle, we should all give ourselves a well-earned applause.