Sometimes obstacles are easy to remove. For example, if you want to shoot a music video with dancers riding on a conveyor belt in an abandoned pillow factory, but a sign says "No riding on the conveyor belt," you just remove said sign and ride on. At other times, hurdles can be a little higher, and their removal makes you aware of a strength you might not have known you had in the first place.
That's where the story of Begonia's searing and dignified song "Out of My Head" begins. The Winnipeg vocalist and songwriter Alexa Dirks, aka Begonia, tells us she wrote the song when she was "pretty desperate to separate from an emotionally abusive relationship and find [herself] again." In this music video, Dirks meets us on the other side, having found not only herself but also a unified front of dancers whose combined power could uproot the concrete foundations of the factory they're moving through.
The common ground singers and dancers share is that their superpowers are rooted in the breath; their magic is an ability to use air to manipulate their muscles, from the tiniest vocal folds to the most powerful quads. On "Out of My Head," which appears on Begonia's 2017 EP Lady In Mind, Dirks rations breath to float over lyrics like "We're safe, but only when the lights are on" before digging deep into her diaphragm to fuel vitriolic and grounded assertions like "I'm placing bets, I'm writing checks to keep on living."
The company of dancers who bring her words to life (Kalliane Brémault, Carol-Ann Bohrn, and choreographer Freya Olafson) push oxygen out to the edges of twisted fingers, and suck it into collapsed torsos. They attack and release. They are vulnerable and they are indomitable. Director Becca Blackwood gives them enough air to swell, but blurs and swirls their shots before we take for granted that beauty can stay or that even the most muscular bodies are always in control.
Sometimes it's possible to move forward in the ways you want. Sometimes it feels like you're desperately tumbling forward on a conveyor belt that has other plans. But in breath there is strength, and in Begonia's "Out of My Head" there are both in abundance.