I first saw Esther Servais dance when she brought a chair on stage and made it a prop in her devastatingly emotional take on Demi Lovato’s Skyscraper. She was doing an intermission piece for the Fredericksburg Theatre Ensemble’s production: Daughter of Job, which was written by local playwright Doug Hodges. It was about a dancer who eventually would succumb to ALS.
Hope. Passion. Esther moved in a way that was powered dedication and practice. That night she managed to break down an entire audience and then emotionally rebuild them by sweeping them away in the feeling of sadness and brokenness – and then movement by movement instill hope, strength and perseverance. It was beautiful.
I was very lucky to have been asked to photograph Esther for the May issue of Rappahanock Magazine. Author Kimberly Leone wrote an amazing piece Miss Esther and her body of work and who she is. Please go check out the article, because it says all the things I wish I could say! I am not a wordsmith by any means – I use my photos to tell a story. Blogging for me is a multiple day affair and I would rather keep the words short and the photos large!
For the article we traveled to Dollhouse Pole Fitness in Manassas, VA for a very eye opening night of things I only wish my body would do. The studio was filled with poles and hoops suspended from the rafters and everything about it was fun and high energy. Von Brianna is the lovely lady who runs the fitness classes and assures me I can do anything in there! I think I would be a terrified mess thinking of all the ways I was about to break my neck, save for the fact that last year was the first time I could touch my toes… but somehow I believe her. She is the ring leader of empowerment. This studio is filled with women who have the strength and courage to defy gravity, and Esther goes on to prove it.
Pole fitness is a far cry from what people assume when you say “pole dance”. It has blossomed into a respectable and very awe inspiring pastime and fitness regime. The level of commitment, flexibility, training and stamina that goes into it is incredible. When was the last time you attempted a successful set of pull ups or monkey bars? Yeah. I don’t remember either. I quietly worked my way around the studio taking in all the movements that seemed to disregard gravity and the repercussions of this theory, and watched these women make themselves into calculated feathers in the wind. It was amazing, and I would definitely recommend these classes to people looking for a challenge and new passion in their lives!
Please enjoy these photographs of Esther Servais as she brings us through the journey of a Pole and Lyra (hoop) class at Dollhouse Pole Fitness Studios!