Just over a year ago, my husband Jurgen and I decided to start this blog. Our original aim was to create a space where creative people from could come together, find out about each other and hopefully eventually create collaborations between the various artforms.
We recently made it through our first year of blogging, which was so much harder than either one of us ever expected. We felt that it warranted an acknowledgement of sorts and wanted to do something special to celebrate the arts that we love so much. We had been brewing on the idea of photographing ballet dancers in designs by a top South African artist and when Gert-Johan Coetzee, one of South Africa’s most sought after designers, agreed to be a part of the project, we HAD to go ahead.
Each one of Gert-Johan’s designs is a work of art in itself, to everyone was a bit nervous to do their usual stunts in the very constructed space of the photo-shoot; no wide open stage in that small frame of a shot.
My biggest fear was that we would hear the dreaded ziiiiip of tearing tulle as one of the dancers jumped (or landed for that matter), so we had to keep it quite controlled…. for most of the time.
Though these are some of the most gorgeous women and men in the world, who really don’t need any grooming even on the worst day, MAC makeup came on board, with hair expertly sculpted by Yolandi Herbst. Our dear friends Sean Brand and Charl Fraser did behind the scenes photographs and video for us, with Warren Frense on sound. Victor Sguassero from Good Light Studios brought in a truckload of gear and was on wing-man duty on the stills side for the day.
Throughout this entire process we have been sincerely blown away by everybody’s support and kindness. All the best people in their various industries have come together for this project and what started as a simple photography project, has now turned into a major fundraiser for the Joburg Ballet. Mark Read from CIRCA Art Gallery in Rosebank, one of our country’s most sought after exhibition spaces has come on board and the official auction of the final images will take place in the company of some of South Africa’s most spectacular sculptures on the 1st of December at 18h30.
As the daughter of a ballet teacher and someone who had to struggle through every single ballet exam, I can knowingly say that getting to where these dancers are, takes real blood sweat and tears. There is no easy road to perfecting this art form and the humility of each and every one of these dancers makes me want to cry. The beauty they bring to the world can not be ignored and I sincerely hope that this project will once again highlight their value.
Many people have asked why we have chosen to raise funds for the Joburg Ballet and here it is; ballet teaches young people to have perseverance, self-discipline and gives them the skills to overcome adversity. It teaches a person that it takes hard work to succeed, that it is up to you to determine whether you will succeed and a ballet dancer’s consistent pursuit of excellence is a quality our world can have a bigger measure of. When you are in the studio trying to master your craft, you are off the street and out of trouble.
This project is about creating an aspirational image for young people to admire and I hope we have succeeded. It was a tough day, but Jurgen’s final images are gorgeous and I wouldn’t mind having any one of them on my wall. This collaboration has been an absolute dream come true and we just want to thank every person for the contribution. Please come and support our event as we bring photography, ballet, fashion design and sculpture together in one place to raise funds for the Joburg Ballet.