The Scottish Ballet's Six Captivating Films Celebrate Diversity and Expression Through Dance
Scottish Ballet and Nexus Studios announce six beautifully crafted films in a series titled The Shimmering Extraordinary, created by Emmy Award-nominated director Fx Goby that will be released on Nowness from today.
The six short films focus on the stories of six individual artists from a diverse range of backgrounds, putting the lens on their journey and practice, to explore how dance and movement has become the language they use to express themselves. Each film works together to create a stunning tableau of words and movement. Each performer speaks their truth about how dance has helped them overcome obstacles to find strength and resilience and, ultimately, embrace their shimmering, extraordinary selves.
Commissioned as part of Scottish Ballet’s Safe to Be Me Festival 2021, a digital festival of dance that celebrates diversity, the films aim to inspire creative thinking and open up conversations for young people around ableism, bigotry, family diversity, homophobia, racism, and transphobia.
In reflection of the diverse experiences and personal challenges each dancer has faced in their lives, Fx carefully selected locations steeped in rich symbolism. From Nikita Gold, a queer drag queen with down syndrome taking centre stage in the oldest music hall in the world, to Madeline Squire’s organic movements contrasted against the brutalist aesthetic of the Tate Modern, symbolising her celebration of life after being struck down by paralysing illness, each film was thoughtfully curated and captured to elevate each dancers’ unique story.
Christopher Hampson, CEO/Artistic Director of Scottish Ballet, said: "Scottish Ballet is committed to bringing dance to everyone, and so we are proud to have engaged with more young people than ever before as we moved this year’s Safe to Be Me™ Festival online. We are humbled that the programme’s values of acceptance, identity and respect have been further platformed in the inspiring films directed by Fx Goby, and the connection that each dance artist has in using movement to express themselves."
Fx Goby, Nexus Studios director, said: "Art and dance are a universal language that transcend cultures and words. A powerful tool to raise awareness about important topics that can have a profound effect on people. This series of films focuses on a diverse group of people who all used dance to overcome hurdles in their lives and wanted to share their stories to inspire others to leave a lasting impact."
Annie Edwards, artist featured in film titled Annie, said [in film]: "I think when you see yourself as more than what you are, you can discover things about yourself … I feel like when I’m dancing … It liberates me from shame, and I feel seen the way I want to be seen."
Hayaat Zahra Shah, artist featured in film titled Hayaat Zahra, said: "To be an artist means I can communicate with audience members who can relate through dance and music. I am so happy to be on this project that Scottish Ballet have made for young people around the world, who can understand what dance can mean to each individual. I really wish I had this when I was at school. It would have made a big difference today."
Madeline Squire, artist featured in film titled Maddy, said: "I feel very lucky to be able to share my story in this way. As an artist I aim to keep evolving and continue to express my creativity. Fx is an incredible creative and this project is such a beautiful example of celebrating differences in individuals."
Mukeni Nel, artist featured in film titled Mukeni, said: "This project means a lot to me, especially after the year we’ve had. To be able to share what I love to do with so many people, and with other amazing artists, I feel extremely lucky. To be an artist in these times has been hard but it’s made me stop and think why I started dancing, and in a way ignited the flame and passion in which I started dancing."
Nikita Gold, artist featured in film titled Nikita Gold, said: "I love performing, it means the world to me to express my true self in dance. I love my career and it’s been so exciting working with the film crew to create such an amazing and inspirational new project."
Saul Nash, artist featured in film titled Saul, said: "As an artist it is important for me to be able to share my stories in the hope of inspiring others. This project spreads an extremely positive message in encouraging people to feel comfortable in their own skin. This really resonates with me."
The three films titled Hayaat Zahra, Nikita Gold and Saul have been released exclusively on Nowness on Wednesday 26 May until Friday 4 June. You can view them on Nowness here.
The three films titled Annie, Maddy and Mukeni will be shared on Nowness on Friday 28 May.
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