In the meticulous world of classical ballet, where precision is paramount and conformity is cherished, two creatives, Dasha and Kit, found each other six years ago in the bustling city of New York. Their shared desire to break free from creative constraints ignited a collaboration that blossomed into a powerful short film, challenging the norms of traditional ballet.

My teachers said that every step needs to be done 10,000 times to achieve perfection.” These words resonate with Kit, a filmmaker, and Dasha, a professional ballet dancer and founder of Cardboard Stage. The rigid structure of classical ballet, while shaping technically proficient dancers, often stifles individuality, creating a world devoid of diversity.

Yet, after years of mastering the hardest steps, both Dasha and Kit realized that ballet is, above all, an art form—a means to communicate, articulate feelings, and move emotionally. Their film delves into the struggle of a ballerina trapped by traditional ballet’s constraints. In her pursuit of personal freedom, she challenges conventions, unlocking a form of self-expression that liberates her.

This narrative echoes a universal human struggle for authenticity and self-discovery, emphasizing the transformative power of individual expression in the face of conformity. The ballerina becomes a symbol of artistic rebellion and an inspiration for those daring to defy the norm.

Dasha and Kit crossed paths in New York six years ago, drawn together by a shared desire for creative expression. They decided to collaborate, merging Kit’s passion for filmmaking with Dasha’s platform, Cardboard Stage. The idea of breaking free from ballet’s constraints emerged, inspired by childhood storybooks and the theme of play.

As the year concludes, the film serves as a poignant reminder to reflect on joy, play, and individuality. Amidst the goal-setting and self-improvement resolutions, Dasha and Kit emphasize the importance of leaning into what brings happiness. The film encourages to embrace authenticity, creativity, and the activities that spark joy.

Dasha Schwartz, a former professional ballet dancer, and founder of Cardboard Stage, brings her passion for accessibility in the arts to life. As a certified teaching artist with ABT, she challenges the norms of traditional ballet, organizing and choreographing performances that celebrate diversity and individual expression.

Team Credits:
Director Kit Pilosof
Dancer: Mckhayla Pettingill
DP: Grant Cooper
Choreographer: Dasha Schwartz
Set Design: Emma Muncaster
Editor: Oliver Whitfield-Smith
Sound Design: Alex Gluch
GFX: Oscar Maguire
Styling/Tutu: Bulia Puteeva
Glam: Jordan Giang
Operator: Jan Schädle Ubeda
1st AC: Eric Schweiger
Gaffer: Ibrahim Issa
Key Grip: Vitaly Novikov
LX/SFX: Timur Aliev
Color: Art Jail
Shot at: Arcana