DPJ’s Urban Form series looks at the interplay between movement and surroundings through the lens of dancers and architecture in downtown Phoenix.
“For a split second I felt free. I didn’t care what I might look like or how I might judge myself later looking at the picture. I was free” – Johanna Hayes
A carefree nature is one that many seek to attain – to feel effortless in the mundane of the everyday. Roosevelt Square, situated at Third Avenue and Roosevelt, is one of those downtown Phoenix locations that oozes relaxation. The tree-lined streets and hidden courtyards invite you to feel carefree and at ease with your surroundings. Its neighborhood businesses like Lola Coffee Bar, Pita Jungle, and The Painters Lounge, are adorned with downtown residents in breezy sundresses and relaxed fit jeans. A hub for unique style, the square is nothing less than a small fashion show, where the models come to sip coffee between chapters of their books or walks with their photogenic dogs. The aroma of roasting coffee beans on a Sunday morning inspires warmth in the chest, like feelings of home.
For dancers, there is a certain amount of inner turmoil that exists in the process of building a strong technique and an even fiercer mind. Johanna Hayes, a skilled and remarkable dancer, is one who despite any internal doubts, walked confidently down this Roosevelt district street, prepared to move. As she played with the scarf to find the perfect movement in this serene setting, the effort drifted away with every frame and the motions became more natural, like the air lifting the scarf high above her. To be free in who you are is to be free in what you can do. Find your place in the spaces that remind you of the need for calm in a world of rules.