FKA Twigs’s artistic practice is as much about applied athleticism as it is about her crystalline voice or forward-thinking musical production. If that wasn’t clear from the British artist’s most recent video, “Cellophane,” which depicts Twigs dressed in a gilded, frond-like bikini set and inches-high metallic platform heels while gracefully twirling around a pole, then you might get a similar idea from the practice pole-dancing videos that she posts to Instagram. Or, if you were lucky enough to attend, at Twigs’s Magdalene showcase that she performed at the Park Avenue Armory in New York City in the spring: in between seven different baroque costumes custom-made by London designer Ed Marler—including everything from 18th-century courtier ensembles to Marie Antoinette–inspired ball gowns—Twigs took the opportunity to show off her fancy pole work in style.
Twigs also took her Magdalene showcase to Afropunk a few weeks ago—the last iteration of the show that she will perform until she makes it “even more fabulous,” as she puts it, at the end of the year. Thankfully, she shared the entirety of her rehearsal process with Vogue, from driving to the venue in Brooklyn to practicing choreography in a studio. She also shared some insights into her pole-dancing practice: “With pole, you have to be so present,” she says. “To me, it’s like boxing, you know? If you’re boxing you have to be present…. There’s that level of being just really there with yourself and there with your instrument, or else you’re going to mess yourself up.”
Twigs admits that she gets a bit weird before a performance—“Not in a good way,” she adds—but any pre-show jitters are clearly worth it for such an impressive end result.
DP: Anthony Prince
Assistant Camera: Aaron Ramey
Producer: Yohana Zecarias & Blonde + Co.
Production Assistant: Kimberly McNatt & Jacob Linden
Production: West of Ivy
Originally Appeared on Vogue