Remember when Alex and I shot a Gatorade commercial on a long Sunday at the Columbus Theater in Providence? Well, I promised I’d share the final cut with you, so here it is! Enjoy!
video by Old Harbor Productions
After smacking Alex in the chest with my forearm for the fifth time, an angry breath escaped through my lips. It’s difficult to piqué in menège through a tiny gap between your partner and a giant camera, on toes that haven’t smelled pointe shoes in nearly 4 months.
Being a ballet dancer certainly creates some pretty interesting opportunities outside of the studio, especially when you’ve recently decided to say ‘yes’ to everything and you’re also fairly strapped for cash. It turns out there’s a real market out there for bunheads in need of sporadic work. This weekend’s odd job du jour had me filming a mock Gatorade commercial in a rather dingy- but potentially quite lovely- old theater on the West end of Providence called The Columbus. The space is currently a live music venue, but this Sunday it played the role of “studio space” to Alex and I, as we demonstrated the underrated athleticism of ballet.
Boston-based Old Harbor Production Company reached out to FBP about hiring 2 dancers for a promotional project comparing a basketball practice to a ballet rehearsal. The finished product will parallel a “day in the life” of the basketballer and the ballerina (myself), showcasing the surprising similarities between the two, both in endurance and elegance. While I must say I felt a bit strange walking into the theater over and over with a big shiny lens in my face, and I will never be able to un-see my feet doing an entrechat quatre up close and in slow motion, downing a bottle of Gatorade dripping in spritzed-on sweat for the commercial’s climax was a bit of an iconic, surreal, PINCH ME moment and I won’t soon forget it.
If you haven’t already seen Misty Copeland’s new ad for Under Armour, you have probably been living under a rock for the past week. The muscular beauty, who made her name as the first female African-American soloist with ABT, proves that ballet is more than tutus and tiaras in this gritty, striking commercial for the popular sportswear brand, which recently named Copeland as their latest spokesmodel. And boy, did they choose well.
When I first saw Misty Copeland dance in ABT’s Swan Lake a few summer’s ago, I’ll be honest- I didn’t think much of her. Clouded by the hype of her famous name, and skewed by the talents that surrounded her onstage, I remember being slightly underwhelmed by Miss Misty. Fast-forward 3 years, I’m following an old dance friend from RI on this season’s series of So You Think You Can Dance, and sitting next to Nigel So-and-So, is a woman so graceful even in her judge’s chair, she almost danced as she sat. First I noticed her toned biceps, then her delicate collarbones. She swiveled in her chair, and her calves suggested a runner, but her ballerina bun contended otherwise. Her gracefully athletic, elegantly powerful build gave away her identity before she even spoke; It could only be the unlikely ballerina whose story of “adversity and grace” she penned into a best-selling novel, her infamously strong and “un-ballerina-like” body heightening the debate of whether or not ballet is considered a sport. I was quickly impressed by the insightful constructive criticism she had for each dancer on the show, and the eloquence with which she delivered her comments. Just like that, in the most unexpected of mediums, Misty Copeland became someone I admired.
Only a few weeks later, Ms. Copeland’s much-awaited commercial for Under Armour was released, and my adoration grew. The ad supposedly crushes the debate over whether or not ballet is a sport, featuring the voice of a young girl reading real rejection letters received by a younger Misty, as Copeland herself cuts through the stage with all the strength and power of a professional athlete. Of course, it begins with a slow, controlled, relevé, displaying a level of poise only possessed by a prima ballerina. So in the great debate of ballet: Art or sport? A little of both? What do you think?
Have you seen Baileys’ latest holiday-inspired tv ad? The Nutcracker themed commercial features an epic Rat King battle for the beautiful Clara, who stars in this version of the story as an ethereal, light-footed bar patron out for a night in “Candyland” with her girls. A bedraggled protagonist is found in our studly Nutcracker Prince- love how they made him look like he’d been off at war for some time before stopping for a
beer Baileys in the twinkling, chandelier-studded bar. The Rat King, a tattooed-and-facial-scruffed hunk of man intervenes in the (extremely confident) Nutcracker’s sweet courting of light-as-air Clara, resulting in a ballet battle of carefully crafted roundhouse kicks, expertly choreographed by my Nantucket bff, Natalie Portman babydaddy arm candy husband, and new Paris Opera Ballet director, the ever dreamy Benjamin Millepied. The dancing, executed by Royal Ballet dancers Steven McRae, Thiago Soares and Iana Salenko, is impressive to say the least. There is something about the soft fluidity and pure power of the Royal Ballet that always astounds me. I also love the girl-power message by Baileys, as Clara turns the tables on our dance fight, only to return to her friends for more fun, leaving us with the suggestion to “spend time with the girls this Christmas”. Don’t mind if I do! Check out the making of the commercial for yourselves, down below…