© Tyler Baker Photography
© Tyler Baker Photography

Cities of sand

in creation

I am developing a new concept for a dance film that will feature modern urban locations as well as the iconic Alberta Badlands. In collaboration with Edmonton-based photographer Tyler Baker, I am also creating series of visual stories documenting the process.

Cities of Sand is an exploration and reflection on how sand permeates everyday human existence, from the movement of sand as a measure of the passing of time, to the sand’s entrapment into the building blocks that have shaped our urban lifestyle.

In this work I want to contrast the highly structured built environment afforded by cities which leverage sand in the form of concrete, asphalt, and even glass, to the eroded sand structures constructed by nature over millions of years, as portrayed by the Alberta Badlands. To explore this relationship, I teamed up wtih photographer Tyler Baker (Edmonton) to highlight the contrast of the badlands with old abandoned concrete structures in Drumheller, Alberta. Together, we want to bring focus to the architectural aspect of the different shapes and angles as they converge into the dance movement. I am also experimenting with new media and image processing techniques to weave the photos into a dynamic eroding and evolving experience which will culminate into an art installation.

Cities of Sand aims to bring this reflection to individuals. As stated by flamenco artist and artistic advisor to the Flamenco de La Isla Society, Amity Skala (Victoria, BC): “[Cities of Sand] is particularly relevant right now, as so many people are faced with the shifting sands of their own reality. Life structures that we thought were permanent have proven to be mutable. This work has great relevance at this time in history when so many people are experiencing a personal entrapment as they shelter at home”.

Currently, I am collaborating with contemporary dancer and choreographer Graham McKelvie, the head of the contemporary division at Alberta Ballet School, to develop new choreographic material and a compelling storyline (2024). Additionally, I had the privilege of working with critically acclaimed dancer Cristina Hall, an extraordinary flamenco artist known for her innovative vision, during my time in Mexico City in 2022. While she was working at Hojas de Te for several months, her unique approach to flamenco profoundly influenced and helped me shape a stronger vision for this project.


Credits
Original concept and artistic direction: Anastassiia Alexander (Calgary/Mexico city)
Photography: Tyler Baker (Edmonton)
Photo assistants: Cecilia Fereyra (Edmonton), David Ledo (Calgary)
Choreography: Anastassiia Alexander
Music composition: Ricardito (Mexico city)
Performers: Anastassiia Alexander (dance)


This project is supported by the Alberta Foundation for the Arts (2020, 2024).

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City of Sand
Original composition by Anastassiia Alexander(rhythm with fan) and Ricardo Sánchez (arrangement)
2020

Drumheller & Badlands, Alberta, Canada
Photography by Tyler Baker (www.tylerbakerphoto.com)
Septermber, 2020

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Credits
Page cover photography: Tyler Baker
Graphic design: Anastassiia Alexander