‘The Shell’ is my latest solo piece, performed on 16 July at Theatre Arts in Cape Town 
Created and performed by Manuela Lucia Tessi
Music sources: Arvind Ganga, Ben Brown, Rosalia, Karen Dalton, edited by M.L.Tessi
Photography, Videography and editing: Lindsey Appolis
Dramaturgy advice: Thalia Laric
Sound advice: Ben Brown
With thanks to Caroline Calburn and Theatre Arts, Cape Town

Photos by Lindsey Appolis
Born from the question: why do I dance, and why do I do it in front of an audience, ‘The Shell’ is an enquiry into when form becomes an empty shell to shield one’s vulnerability. It also questions the tension between the formality of a trained body and the pure, raw essence of the dance.
As a young woman I started to dance because I wanted to be admired and desired; to dance in order to entice, seduce, impress. It is supposedly a ‘feminine’ way, in a world where a woman is expected to be desirable, as is the case in the culture in which I was raised.
My motivation to dance has shifted radically in the last few years. I feel more and more a necessity to empower through dance, to remind the public of their own body, of the joy and pleasure of having a body and fully living in it. My desire to perform is now to embrace the body as a conduit for an embodied spirituality.
The Shell – photo by Lindsey Appolis