10 January 2018 at 10.22am | 28 Comments
In a new film, directed by Louis-Jack and choreographed by Charlotte Edmonds, Principal dancer Francesca Hayward is pictured dancing in an underwater studio to depict the struggle of someone suffering from depression.
Edmonds, who trained at The Royal Ballet School, explained: 'Having started training so young, and starting a career at such a young age - there is a lot of pressure to succeed. I never wanted to let anyone down, especially myself.
'As an athlete and a performer, you become very critical of yourself, always striving to be the best you can be. When I was training, I went through some phases where I felt I had hit rock bottom - it certainly affected my self esteem and confidence. I found myself suffering in silence and never felt encouraged to speak out about my mental health.
'This is why I am passionate about this cause - there should be no shame in admitting you don’t feel you can keep your head above the water.'
Before approaching the director, Edmonds had a clear vision the dance piece needed to be performed underwater. She took inspiration from a self-portrait by artist Ian Cumberland, which shows a fully-clothed man submerged in a bath.
'If you've ever worn clothes underwater, you'll know you feel very heavy and struggle to move,' she said. 'Every movement takes an extra bit of force and you are battling against gravity to avoid sinking further away from the surface of the water making it harder to take a large breath of air, and breathe, before your body feels drained. I wanted to channel this effect into the choreography, this heavy-weighted feeling.'
Both Edmonds and Louis-Jack hope the film will provoke conversations about mental illness, especially among young people and students.