Quiksilver brand ambassador and 4X ASP World Champion Surfer Stephanie Gilmore has announced her involvement in The Water Dancer, a series of short videos exploring the similarities between surfing and dancing, set to be released January 12th on quiksilver.com.
Stephanie journeyed to New York City last fall for the project, where she met with three professional female dancers skilled in ballet, hip-hop and commercial dance. The women discussed the creativity, elegance and audacity of surfing as it relates to the splendor, power and beauty of dance. Stephanie sought to capture the dancers’ unique culture, breathtaking talent and exciting stories, while demonstrating the relationship between the art of dance and the sport of surfing.
“Quiksilver and I created this concept to shed light on the way surfing is described, in a way that truly shows how beautiful female surfing is,” said Gilmore. “I once read that surfing a wave can be described as a dance performance: ‘The wave is your stage and the sun is a spotlight.’ I like to think surfing and dance have similar qualities like power, grace, improvisation, rhythm and most of all, performance. When I’m competing, the majority of my drive comes from the performance. When I’m surfing I want to be powerful, but perform with style and grace, similar to that of a dancer.” Thus where the idea came to light.
Famed choreographer Noemie LaFrance is one of the three dancers profiled in the video series. Her sensitivity to environment, muscle memory and improvisation were just a few of the many things that deemed Noemie a fascinating interview subject. She related her dancing to the way Stephanie rides a wave: both women understand the languages of the body and how far one can push their body. “It’s a constant adaptation,” Noemie said. “…a lot of times what is ‘improv’ is what is most natural and beautiful.” Each goes into their ‘dance’ with extreme structure and planning, but the two women connected on the need to let go and let the music or the wave take over.
Tiler Peck, the second dancer to take part in the series, is a determined and graceful New York City ballet principal. Very young for her level of success, the two women connected instantly on their early achievements and their being ‘thrown into’ a world of early stardom. Both Stephanie and Tiler acknowledge how their competitive drive enables them to put on a good show. “Every step is important, even the in between ones are even more,” Tiler says.
The final woman partaking in The Water Dancer is Brooklyn breakdancer and musician Casandra ‘Defy’ Rivera. Defy sheds light on the female presence in a male-dominated culture. On breakdance culture, she remarks, “It is male-dominated and it takes a lot of strength. Girls are intimidated by it.” Similarly, men dominate surfing, and both Stephanie and Casandra agree on the importance of being aggressive while keeping femininity in their movements.
Speaking to dancers from varying backgrounds, cultures and genres of performance, Stephanie has achieved a unity between surfing and all forms of dance and movement. Both surfing and dance require determination, strength and creativity. The true essence of The Water Dancer is to teach women the importance of constantly seeking inspiration in all that you do.
For more information, see www.quiksilver.com/waterdancer
By Rebecca Jones