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A Step Into Creation

In October 2023 the Royal Opera House held a special edition of Draft Works as part of their new programme and festival, Rhythm in Resilience, celebrating Black History Month 2023. Northern Ballet dancer Aerys Merrill was invited to create a short film which was shown at Draft Works on 5 October.

Today we're sharing Aerys' film A Step Into Creation. Aerys said "This piece is inspired by the music, full of strings and beautiful melodies. I really like that the music builds and then returns to its initial minimal state, and I tried to incorporate that into the choreography. This is my first official step into creation, and I’m proud of what I made. I hope you enjoy!"


My name is Aerys Merrill.

I'm a ballet dancer with Northern Ballet. This is my currently third season with the company.

I got into ballet, actually, with, through my mother. She put my both my sister and I into ballet classes when we were three years old, so that's where I started and I've never stopped since.

I did a little bit of gymnastics but she eventually told us to choose so I ended up going with ballet. As a child I didn't care as much when I was dancing to the music, what it looked like, how it flowed.

As I got older, it did change, not necessarily from because there was an audience, but because the people who would usually the ones that were in charge, because they're doing their job, they're giving the feedback and all that. But then you want to do it so right, you start getting the mindset of you want to be perfect that then you start doubting the things that you're doing because you're thinking, Is this right? Will they think this is right? Will they like it?

And then the audience does actually come back into that because then you want, especially if you're choreographing, you want to put out there something good and you want the audience to react in a positive way.

You want everyone to react in a positive way so you can hold yourself back because of all the doubt, all the thoughts that go through your mind of is this good enough? Is this perfect? Even though perfection you can't achieve.

When I heard the music that I used, the reason why I liked it is because there was layers. It sounded like it built. And then it went back to like how it started, which I really liked.

I also love, love strings. So there are strings in the piece, and I really like that.

I also like the rhythms and the music as well.

For me, that's I need music that I don't know how to describe it other than it tickles a, a string in me. It tickles something in me that I'm like, I like this.

I like the way the rhythms sound.

I like the way the melody is, whatever it is.

I just like how it all comes together and flows and it just touches me in a certain way.