"I Am Enough" is a ballet film which was later adapted for the stage at Lincoln Center
National Coming Out Day 2019
The Dance Edit
The Dance Enthusiast
If we’re living in an age where love is considered universal, why are we still only seeing the same, traditional portrayals of it?
Most of my childhood centered around ballet, and I aspired to be a professional dancer before the pressure and expectations became too much and I abruptly quit at 14.
Similar to classical plays, ballets often center around romance, culminating with a grandiose pas de deux (a dance for two people) where the man spins the ballerina and lifts her over his head. She often holds the role of damsel in distress while the prince holds the role of hero or protector. These stories, which are still being performed today, do not portray romance in a way that is relatable for a modern audience. In addition, despite there being so much LGBTQ representation in film and television, you saw next to none in ballet storytelling.
For years I scored the internet to find any ounce of non-straight representation in classical ballet, and found little to none. I realized that ballet was stuck in the past, both in how the art was presented and how it felt unwelcoming to dancers who didn't fit the mold of perfection (i.e. dancers who are queer and of diverse body types and ethnic backgrounds.)
Finally, in 2019, I decided to take matters into my own hands and create the change I would have wanted to see as a young dancer.
I pitched my idea for an LGBTQ pas de deux to acclaimed choreographer Adriana Pierce and singer/songwriter Daphne Willis, who were both thrilled to participate. From there we brought on New York City Ballet soloist, Georgia Pazcoguin and Broadway dancer, Skye Mattox to star in the piece, which we shot at The YouTube Space in New York City.
Over $10,000 was raised by nearly 150 Indiegogo backers who believed in bringing this project to fruition, including renowned Emmy-winning directors including The Handmaid's Tale's Reed Morano and Saturday Night Live's Don Roy King.
After the video was released on Daphne Willis's YouTube Channel, what came after was a domino effect. More queer ballet dancers began to come out to share their experiences, support groups and initiatives were created, new creative works were made, and major news outlets like The Guardian and The New York Times covered the stories of queer dancers finally finding their voice.
On June 21, 2021, "I Am Enough" was adapted for the stage and performed at Lincoln Center for The American Cancer Society's Dance Against Cancer (the largest live ticketed dance event in NYC since the start of the pandemic).
Ballet will always remain one of my favorite art forms. Though I am not a ballerina, I'm thrilled that I can still leave my mark on ballet history as a filmmaker. I'm humbled to say that my overall goal to create change and expand representation in ballet was achieved.
Victoria Duncan - Director | Executive Producer | Additional Editor
Adriana Pierce - Choreographer
Qinza Malik Khan - Producer
Sheldon Walker - Director of Photography
Lee Milby - Production Designer
Alexander Frasse - Editor
Kat Cameron - Line Producer
Pooja Chauhan - Development Producer
Cameron Dinwiddie - Associate Producer
Kimberly Moore - Associate Producer
Shivangani Suri - Assistant Director
Walter Alexander Perez - Production Assistant
Michelle (Ziyi) Yao - Production Assistant | Art PA
Marco Andre - Camera Operator
Xiaoyu Chen - 1st Assistant Camera
Benjamin Handel - 2nd Assistant Camera
Eren Dennis Gedikoglu - Gaffer
Lucas Mestrallet - Key Grip
John Patrick White - Swing | Art Production Assistant
Cassaundra Franklin - Art Director
Tetiana Glushchenko - Hair and Make-Up
Amanda Broll - Stylist | Art Production Assistant
Lucila Manara Benedit - Art Production Assistant
Emily Bailey - Colorist
Sarah Lynne Midkiff - Behind-The-Scenes Photographer + Videographer
Gwyneth Ong - Photo Editor + Graphic Designer
Daphne Willis - Singer/Songwriter "I Am Enough"
Ali VanHouten - Assistant to Daphne Willis
Dylan LoBue - YouTube Space Production Coordinator
Special thanks to:
-Our Indiegogo Backers
-The YouTube Space NY
-Ripley Grier Studios
-Sprung Floor Solutions
"I Am Enough" at Dance Against Cancer
On June 21, 2021, "I Am Enough" was adapted for the stage and performed at Lincoln Center for The American Cancer Society's Dance Against Cancer annual event (the largest live ticketed dance event in NYC since the start of the pandemic).
In July of 2021, I shot and edited a mini documentary on Cortney Taylor-Key for Adriana Pierce's #QueerTheBallet initiative (featured in the New York Times).