BB Dakota And Petra Collins Team Up In The Name of Art, Dance, And Cotton Candy
Last Friday night at MAMA Gallery in Los Angeles, it-girl photographer Petra Collins celebrated her directorial debut with “Making Space” – a three-part docu-series supported by BB Dakota which focuses on dance as a vehicle for developing self-esteem and personal identity.
In celebration of the premiere, MAMA Gallery waxed nostalgic with a ’70s disco-prom themed party that boasted free light-up cotton candy, Lisa Frank sticker books (remember those?), and a live performance by Cherry Glazerr. A blonde boy in short-shorts did rounds on rollerskates; Kilo Kish and Amanda De Cadenet were spotted on the dance floor.
“Are you guys nervous?” I asked Petra and her sister Anna, who stars in the film. The event hadn’t yet started, but the venue was already crowded enough that we had to sneak away to the bathroom to talk. Where Petra’s denim skirt and halter top ensemble was chic, but laid-back, Anna’s off-the-shoulder top and statement jewelry was more bold, but their wild curls and similar smiles gave them away—they’re sisters, but they’re best friends.
They also weren’t nervous. “It feels like we’re getting some closure for this project, so that’s great.” Anna said. The younger of the two, 19-year-old Anna still lives in their hometown of Toronto and aspires to dance professionally. The sisters were excited to work together; Petra directs, and Anna dances.
The film follows the girls through the Southwest, where Petra documents the talents of young girls who aspire to dance professionally, and the struggles tied to their ambition. They’re filmed dancing in basketball courts, backyards, school gyms—wherever they can make enough space for their bodies to move through.
“Petra’s really assertive, and it took me a while to understand that…I think it works when I let her decide what to do.” Anna smiled shyly, when I asked them about their working relationship. Petra nodded her head in enthusiastic agreement. “And it was the first time we worked on something together that was a combination of what she does and what I do. So that was cool.”
Now that this project is finished, what’s up next for the girls?
“I want to teach dance in New York for a while,” Anna said. “And I want to travel to Hungary. We’re Hungarian, all of our family is there.”
“Me too!” Petra chimed in. “And I have a book launch coming up at the Strand. It’s a project I’ve been working on, curating the work of 30 female artists. The book is called Babe. I’m really excited for that also—”
Someone banged loudly on the bathroom door. “We’re in here!” The girls screamed indignantly, but the crowd outside was growing louder, and the screening was about to start. We started to walk out, but Anna pulled her sister back. “Can you wait for me, Petra? I have to pee first.”
“Making Space” 2015
Be sure to check out Making Space: