Ballerinas are often associated with beauty, grace, and elegant human forms. In his video En Puntas (‘On Points’) artist, Javier Perez has managed to preserve all of these elements while also portraying the dark intensity, dedication, and even violence that this graceful classical dance can represent.

En Puntas features professional dancer Amelie Segarra performing the en pointe ballet technique (in which the performer typically dances on the points of their toes) on the tips of huge, menacing kitchen knives in an empty, darkened theater. She struggles to maintain the grace that we typically expect of ballerinas as the knife-edge scrapes and stabs ever more violently at the grand piano she’s standing on. Her composure, however, is periodically broken as she lets out a scream of frustration at the intense difficulty of her performance.

Coupled with the dark and empty theater she is performing in, the shocking video makes for anything but light viewing. The intensity, frustration, and violence of her performance (literally) on the razor’s edge are a testament to the intense dedication and sometimes physical suffering required of ballet dance performers.

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