“Body 2 Body” is the latest track from UK music producer MK. Featuring dancer Shari Ashley this powerfully raw video was choreographed by Paleta, a movement artist and champion for self-improvement. WOD Magazine sat down with this world renowned choreographer to talk about her latest work and her upcoming projects.
In 50 words or less give us a short biography:
Born and raised in Switzerland, Paleta is a movement artist, choreographer, NIKE trainer and coach based in East London. Having won and competed in numerous competitions and battles, such as Juste Debout, Paleta’s mesmerizing performance and unique way of moving has been recognized and appreciated worldwide. These days, she travels the world to perform, teach, choreograph, judge and speak at a variety of events related to dance, training and health. Paleta’s investment in self-improvement has always been the drive for everything she does.
How long have you been dancing/choreographing?
I have been dancing since I was a kid. Always on the move, but before actually learning how to dance, I was always interested in movement such as martial arts, gymnastics and even team sports. I always loved expressing myself creatively through music and started performing on my own for different talent shows at about 9 years old. The same goes for choreographing to be honest. I started dancing and performing my own creations at age 9, even before I took an actual dance classes. I just knew what I liked and how I wanted to express myself. Professional work as a choreographer came about at around the age of 20 when I became part of a company in Switzerland and started doing more theatre work.
Tell us about your career as a choreographer, who have you worked with in the past?
My first official project in the UK was UNBOXING’ define gender, a shortfall directed by Kate Cox that was published on nowness.
Earlier this year I was the assistant choreographer to Aaron Sillis (Sillis movement) and we choreographed the Brit Awards performance for Dua Lipa, Calvin Harris, Rag n’ Bone Man and Sam Smith.
Other artists I have choreographed for are Katy B & Tinie Tempah, Roxanne Tataei and showcases for events such as Redbullbcone Switzerland and United Styles World Finals.
What have been some of the highlights of your career?
I will never forget when I won the Juste Debout “Experimental” category in 2013 in Switzerland. It was the first year ever that Switzerland did a preselection for this category and knowing that I was the first one to win it meant a lot. Other moments are more subtle- feedback from people about how they felt something shift in them when watching me perform. Even when teaching classes, being able to witness people expressing themselves from a very authentic place within themselves.
Tell us about choreographing Body 2 Body, how long did it take? What inspired the choreography?
We had two days of rehearsals for “Body 2 Body.” Prior to that I broke down the song into different sections and got familiar with the lyrics and what else they could represent apart from the obvious.
The director Tash Tung wanted me on this project because of my movement, so I took this on and allowed my movement and structure to be the leading thread for the choreography. Choreographing on someone else’s body always means you have to connect to their essence, to enhance their qualities and let them bring their own unique twist and execution of the movement.
Rather than not thinking so deeply about how you feel and just go with what feels good in the moment (which is what is suggested in the song) I wanted Shari Ashley to take the lead on this. I wanted her to represent the force that is in control of the situation. She is the one that mesmerizes you and makes you feel deeper than you expected. She is the one holding you at the tip of her fingers and can drop you at any moment, and what we see in the video is her connecting to that force, owning her power and standing her ground.
What was it like working with Shari Ashley to MK’s music?
Shari is an amazing artist and was absolutely perfect for this project. She was very open minded, which is very important for me when working with someone. She was very eager to perfect the more acrobatic elements and really worked to refine the transitions. I didn’t have to push her much when it came to bringing herself into the movement as she is a natural.
From the looks to the essence and the movement, Shari was a perfect match for this and I’m happy I got to work with her on this project.
What inspires you as an artist?
Definitely life and the process of reflection on different situation and experiences I had or was able to witness/observe around me.
Art and expressing oneself creatively is always a release and a form of healing. Through movement and dance we are able to move stagnant energy in our bodies and let go of things we hold on to that prevent us from moving forward.
I have always been fascinated by different cultures and traditions, their history and importance to keep the circle of life alive.
Do you have any upcoming projects?
Yes I am currently working on two music videos that I am choreographing.
I’ve been touring with Rita Ora since May and will continue to do so until mid-August. I’ll also be performing at the Fusion Concept preselection’s in Paris in August.
I have some more battles coming up that I will be judging in September and October and I will be guiding movement sessions at a retreat that my friends who are breathwork facilitators are holding in Bali in October.
For those interested more info can be found here: https://www.theo2awakening.com/retreat
Anything else you think readers would like to know?
The most important thing on your journey will always be to reconnect with your true self. To check in and make sure you’re still aligned with what feels right for you. Stay dedicated and focused on your own development and growth, regardless of what other folks are achieving around you. That matters as an artist, but more so as a human being.
Always come back to your essence and be open to change, not just external change but change within yourself.
Practice your CALM, execute your QUALITY!