By Princy Prasad Columnist
Erica Genece’s show displays the beauty and pain that comes with ballet. “Pointe,” the name of her FORM gallery show, is also the form of dance the model is performing in the photographs.
Genece, now a senior, is majoring in exercise science with a double minor in physical education and fine arts. Though photography is essentially her minor, the reason she did not major in fine arts was due to her West Indian background, a culture where there is a stigma that comes with being an aspiring artist.
Yet, Genece does value her major. In this show, her knowledge of exercise science has been integrated into her art. She wants viewers to see not only the grace, but the athleticism of pointe in her work.
“Ballet is not necessarily this stoic, rigid commentary on perfection but a gritty, tough and, very often, painful endeavor,” said Genece.
The model, Nicole Spinelli, is a phenomenal dancer and choreographer; Genece and Spinelli went back and forth collaborating ideas. Genece allowed her model to be free to simply capture the process of the art: practicing, thinking, stretching and making the dance come to life in the studio.
As for the outdoor shots, Genece directed Spinelli more to juxtapose of nature and form.
“[I wanted to show a] blend of nature and how fluid her body moved, [how] natural the dance is to her,” said Genece.
A dancer herself for 10 years, Genece’s photography was always influenced by music and dancing. Her love for the human body and understanding of its movement not only helps in her dance but also in her art, which is why the shapes and position of the model’s body display form and structure so well.
“[People think] ballet is perfect and proper, [but there is a] gritty, tough side to it,” said Genece.
Her favorite image from the gallery is a bird’s eye view of the dancer’s feet and one arm. She is adjusting her ballet slipper — it shows the grit that goes into ballet.
“From her chipped nail polish and the really old looking ballet slipper … I just really love the grunginess of a subject that’s usually so perfect and clean,” said Genece.
Many of the images have Spinelli wearing one slipper or one sock, because the dancer actually broke one of her toes. Genece wanted to not only capture the persistent energy that flows through dance, but what the dancer experiences when their own body takes the toll of this art form.
Genece is a brilliant photographer whose first gallery show lends an eye into her personal struggles as an artist, and the pain and frustration that goes into any form of art. It requires practice to achieve a dancer’s perfection, and it is not always clean. Perfect is broken toes and clipped nail polish, worn slippers and perspiration; but what the audience sees is how natural the body is at being a moving piece of art and the work it takes to get there.
Through toils and stress, Genece’s produced a show she was proud of. “Pointe” was up on display from March 2-5. Her work can be viewed on Tumblr: egnphotography.tumblr.com and Instagram: @niadrialla!