Liminality is inspired by reimagining what Odette may have experienced upon plunging to her death in the lake from the classical ballet “Swan Lake”. It is a moment of suspended reality and a story of disenchantment, self-discovery and transformation. In our modern world we know that “happily ever after” is a journey and we have the ability to exercise our own agency to create our experience. In our story, the heroine is exploring the space in between life and death. She is coming to terms with the end of her world as she knew it and finding the strength and courage to move into a new existence.
We see this story as a metaphor for what many ballet dancers experience upon the imminent journey of their retirement from professional careers. On stage there is always a happy ending. For example, Seigfried in “Swan Lake” immediately realizes his mistake in being seduced by another woman, seeks forgiveness from Odette, and follows her off the cliff to his death so they can be reunited in the afterlife. But what is the reality for the dancers who play these characters? When the fairytale is over, what happens next?
The dancer and choreographer of Liminality, Annali Rose, is searching to answer that question for herself. She is using her heart as a guide to follow what brings her joy. As someone who is new to choreography, she wanted to begin this journey in the only place she had felt inspired to play with choreography in her past—underwater. The water is symbolic of the feeling of drowning and the death of her identity as a professional dancer. But it also envelops her, providing safety, support, and the spark of joy that is the magical seed of regeneration.
The cinematography was captured by artist and digital choreographer, Jennifer Akalina Petuch, at the Madison Blue Spring State Park in Lee County Florida during January 2020. Having a sharp eye for 2-D composition in Dance and a steady hand, Petuch used her skills of swimming, experience as a professional dancer, and a simple GoPro to film and then create the underwater work.