Tim Marsella: The Ballroom

Cape Town's Young Dancers Waltz Through the Photographer's Vibrant New Short

The gliding figures and twirling colors at a junior ballroom dancing contest in the Cape Town suburb of Athlone are captured by photographer Tim Marsella in today’s film. While shooting a commercial in the South African city, Marsella heard a radio announcement about the competition and went to check it out as soon as there was a break on set. “The contest was taking place in a sports hall of the local Muslim community and the young dancers were all dressed up—it was gorgeous,” he explains. Inspired by the cinematic style of Gus Van Sant's film Elephant, Marsella set up a camera at the front of the venue and left it to record a single angle for an hour as the young dancers played up for the lens. Set to a rising mash-up from French band The Dø, the cheerful film was recently shortlisted in a fashion film competition at Le Book’s Connections London event. Specializing in children’s fashion and advertising, Marsella is always on the look out for interesting personal projects. “I love the surprise of shooting real life moments, because you never know when the opportunity will come,” he says. “You can’t go wrong shooting children. You can’t tell them what to do. They are controlling the camera, I just follow them.”

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