Body Language People

Ivan Michael Blackstock's Portal to Transcendence

In collaboration with

Ivan Michael Blackstock wears a suit and harness by Alexander McQueen, top vintage Issey Miyake courtesy of West Archive, and sunglasses by Celine by Hedi Slimane.

Big names swirl around Ivan Michael Blackstock—he collaborated with Beyoncé on her 2020 visual album Black is King, and with Nike in 2019. But the choreographer’s multidisciplinary practice, which draws increasingly from improvisation and freestyle dance, is entirely his own. Recently, Blackstock, 36, put his singular style on display with TRAPLORD, an alchemy of spoken word, dance, and musical performance that explores the stereotypes surrounding Black masculinity at 180 Studios in London last spring. He is also the founder of Crxss Platfxrm, an organization that celebrates and supports the best of the United Kingdom’s street culture performers and artists.

“Choreography for me is just structured improvisation, a portal to transcendence. Dance is my spirituality—it’s the thing that holds me together. Music has always been the starting point for me. It’s the thing that makes me vibrate. If we look at cultures from around the world, it’s what dictates the movement. It initiates the vibration. It’s very shamanic. If we listen closely enough, we can hear the music inside of ourselves, from our heartbeat to our breath. Music is all around us and the more we listen and open our ears, the more we can hear a multitude of sounds and select how to interpret that. The best way to be a communicator of the body is to listen first, then respond. We still have a long way to go for people to respect dance. It hasn’t gotten its flowers like other forms of art, but we are definitely on the journey."

All Skincare by Dr. Barbara Sturm.
Makeup by Anna Payn
Hair by Eliot McQueen
Nails by Christie Huseyin
Set Design by Sam Pidgen
Produced by The Curated
Dop Max Montgomery
Digi Op Nina Close
Lighting Direction by Ross Zillwood
Fashion Assistance by Tom Grimsdell and Tamsin Michael
Makeup Assistance by Tamsin Bilingall
Set Assistance by Kaush Odedra and Haleimah Darwish
Location Drop Studios