Watch Petra Collins’ Latest Documentary

making space part ii

by peter lacerenza

In the latest installment of her three-part documentary Making Space, filmmaker Petra Collins explores what it means to be a young woman in a time when gender roles are eroding, and feminism is trading ivory towers for the mainstream. Made in partnership with her sister Anna Collins, BB Dakota, and Me and You designers Julia Baylis and Mayan Toledano, Making Space explores the ways in which feminist ideals and dance affect self-expression and female body image.

Through the eyes of four Texas dancers, the empowering freedom of hip-hop has proved a perfect platform. As explained by one of the girls, “I’ll see all kinds of people all doing, you know, the same movements: boys dancing in a very feminine way, girls dancing in a very masculine way, I hope that it becomes the norm for the dance world.”

"Dance commands space and physicality and those two are rarely things girls are allowed to explore/own," Collins told us last month. "I experienced a lot of self-hate/self-esteem issues as a teen and dance was one of the things that freed me from that. I could channel all my angry, nervousness, and excitement into dance and create a space of my own." 

Juxtaposing sweeping shots of suburban parks and streets with the young women’s popping, gliding, sliding and breaking, the third and final installment shows that these changes are happening at the seemingly unshakeable core of American identity. Frankly, it’s about time.