En Puntas is a video installation by artist Javier Pérez featuring ballerina Amélie Ségarra performing an incredible dance atop a grand piano, entirely en pointe, wearing a customized set of pointe shoes that extend beyond the toe box with a pair of sharp kitchen knives. As if dancing on the tips of your toes for an extended period of time isn’t enough, Ségarra has the added pressure of balancing on a thinner platform, from an even greater height.
The thought of someone even managing to stand on the potentially dangerous footwear is absolutely astounding. The fact that Ségarra maintains her balance and even leaves her mark as she purposely scrapes the sharp-edged blades across the piano is both exhilarating and frightening to watch. The intense performance is made all the more gripping as the elegant dancer tiptoes closer to the edge, making it difficult to avert one’s eyes.
The powerful feat of strength and balance exemplified by the ballerina is eventually accompanied by the emotional anguish in her cries of pain as the strain of time and physical exhaustion weighs down on her overtaxed toes. Ségarra’s performance draws the audience’s empathy as she pushes herself, striving for perfection. She is, all at once, beautiful and broken. As the project states: “[Pérez] reveals the weaknesses that become the boundaries between seemingly irreconcilable concepts such as: beauty and cruelty, fragility and violence, culture and nature or life and death.”
Be sure to check out a short video of the captivatingly intense performance, below.
In the artist’s own words:
A ballerina, whose pointe shoes are extended by a set of sharp kitchen knives, dances and twirls insistently until reaching exhaustion, fighting to maintain balance on the lid of a grand piano set on a stage. The theatre with its red velvet warm lighting, resembles an oversized music box. The camera turns around the dancer revealing the opposite side of the room: an empty and painfully bare theatre.
The ballerina appears as an eerie figure expressing effort, sacrifice and pain in her strive for perfection. Both fragile and cruel. Initially shy and hesitant, her steps become more and more emphatic, menacing and not exempt of violence, scraping and cutting into the delicate surface of the piano with her sharp pointe shoes.
Through this work, Javier Perez investigates and reflects once again upon the human condition. Using a strongly metaphorical language rich in powerful symbolism, he reveals the weaknesses that become the boundaries between seemingly irreconcilable concepts such as: beauty and cruelty, fragility and violence, culture and nature or life and death.