One would not think to marry a dance style birthed during the renaissance in Italy with a group of children living in one of the largest informal settlements in Africa. Dance itself is not foreign to the continent, and has played an essential role in African culture, serving more than just a form of entertainment, it has been known to communicate emotions and celebrate rites of passage. With ballet lessons being extremely expensive, the dance is often associated with privilege, and the power that comes with privilege. Dance critic Jennifer Homans said that ballet started off as an activity that was about men, power and important people, and that with modern ballet it became about women, dreams and the imagination. I wanted to capture the in between state of imagination and reality in the absence of social barriers, blurring the lines between audience and performer. While at the same time connecting the audience to the dancers in hopes of offering an alternative to the monolithic stereotype of the poor African child from the slum.
Many thanks to Annos Africa for allowing me to work on the project.