WeTransfer Captured the Intense Craft of FKA twigs Training for a Music Video

When pole-dancing practice makes perfect

Creating memorable art often hinges on making sacrifices, working long hours and enduring physical pain. 

For example, it took a year of sweaty, strenuous effort for British singer and dancer FKA twigs to master a grueling, gravity-defying pole-dance routine for "Cellophane," her latest music video, which amassed more than 4.5 million views in its first month on YouTube. 

Now, the artist joins with WeTransfer for "Practice," an intense mini-doc that follows her progress from novice to princess of the pole. 

"I train like an athlete, so things have to get strict," twigs says in the seven-minute clip. "I wanted to show that process—the practice, the training, the moments when it isn't quite working. The journey."

All that prep—including sore muscles, bruises and the time she got her period while spinning on the pole—helped produce a perfect "Cellophane" performance:

"We feel like twigs is a once-in-a-generation talent, and we've always felt that her passion, creativity and unwavering dedication to her craft aligns really well with the creative ecosystem we live in as a company," Jamal Dauda, head of music at WeTransfer, tells Muse. 

"Our team believes in the power of stories," he says. "It's a simple idea, but we work hard to showcase the things we care about through the incredible stories and lives of the people in our community." 

"Practice" represents a follow-up to "Baltimore Dance Project," WeTransfer's 2016 collaboration with twigs, which saw the artist invite local talent to a very special workshop: 

"We hope this speaks to anyone in a creative field or otherwise, looking for a bit of inspiration," Dauda says of the latest video. "Twigs is such an aspirational figure, and we loved having the opportunity to help her open up about her process and show some of the realities that come with trying to take your craft to the next level. We hope its something that helps propel people on their creative journeys." 

From a brand perspective, the film dovetails with the file-sharing company's new mantra, "Welcome to WeTransfer. Please Leave," showing the IRL effort that drives online art and commerce while positioning the brand as a go-to resource for creative professionals. 

"This has been the rallying cry we've been sending out to the world this year, and we feel this is beautifully embodied here," says Dauda. "The takeaway for us is that people need to go out, get inspired, work, practice, toil, push, pull and everything in between in the real world, in order to have a more fulfilling and enriched experience in the digital world."

In addition to social channels, "Practice" appears on WePresent, the company's broadcast/editorial platform, which also hosts a series of videos, "Work in Progress," that explore innovation and style through musicians such as Björk, 88 Rising and visual artist Jesse Kanda.

Twigs' willingness to go all out for her vision should help viewers take heart as they pursue their own passions. The artist's willingness to put her false-starts and missteps on display is admirable. Her work ethic and winning personality reflect especially well on the brand. 

"When twigs came by our office in Los Angeles to play new music and talk us through her vision, she came by herself with a laptop," Dauda recalls. "No team around her. No pomp and circumstance. She takes such personal ownership in her art and works so hard to personally deliver an unfiltered vision. We were all sort of blown away by that, and it really speaks to what differentiates her as an artist."

He adds: "If this piece can help inspire someone toward the next step in their process, we've accomplished our goal."

CREDITS

Director: AnAkA
Sound: Lime Studios
Grade: Cameo
Producer: Object & Animal

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David Gianatasio
David Gianatasio is senior editor at Clio Awards.

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