What is the common point between ballet and motor racing? They may seem completely different but Royal Ballet Principal dancer Steven McRae is passionate about both.
The Apiary is an Australian-born, Berlin-based directing duo working across fashion, advertising and arts. Lily Coates and Gavin Youngs are known for their eye for detail and visual imagery. Starting with almost no funds but with a dream of creating conceptual films in collaboration with musicians or artists, the duo also successfully carved out its niche, projecting their own style to short films for both cultural organisations and brands: their clientele includes Vice, The Australian Ballet, STVDIO, Calvin Klein, Ikea and more.
The Apiary’s mission is to transfer their vision to the work they create: the viewer can see the hours spent filming in the studio and editing every detail:
We work pretty crazy hours, so it’s not so much only wanting to make films about art as realising that if we’re going to be channeling all our crazy energies into something, it should be something we care about,
they said in an interview for The Design Files. The duo works closely with an animator an cinematographers, and all their videos have originally composed music.
Steven McRae’s portrait reveals a (at the first moment) surprising connection of dance and motorsport. If we look closer, we may discover that these two things have much in common: adrenaline, speed, the attention to detail and the risk are the elements that connect them. McRae explains more in the video:
I think my love for the dance world and the world of motor sport is equal. I grew up in the Western suburbs of Sydney — very far away from a ballet company and happened to be around the corner from Sydney’s top race track. I can smell the burning rubber and oil. That’s what I knew as a normal childhood.
The two worlds have still equal importance in the dancer’s life, who was “thrown” at the stage at the age of seven and, according to him, became addicted to it. Both worlds come with adrenaline and a slight sense of anxiety. McRae believes that without these it’s almost impossible to dance as a soloist – and he lives those moments before each performance.
The result is a portrait that has a very interesting concept that combines dance and smoke billows from a spinning tire. Each image is a visual perfection with carefully crafted light and composition. The film is part of the Portrait of a Dancer series that captures ballet dancers in an unusual way. The series was commissioned for NOWNESS. Other short films feature Lauren Cuthbertson or Sarah Lamb.
Portrait of a Dancer: Steven McRae - NOWNESS