Performing with Plastic

Royal Ballet dancer Fernando Montaño has been dancing among art installations made from recycled plastics – underwater. Now, in a series of impactful still photographs and a breathtaking video, ballet and pollution become one in a body of water.

Dance for the Sea - Fernando Montano

Born and brought up in the Colombian coastal city of Buenaventura, I’ve always had a great love of the sea but, like so many others, have become increasingly horrified by the ever-growing levels of pollution and especially the problem that our use of plastic is creating when it is dumped in our rivers and oceans. I decided to create my own photographic project, Dance for the Sea, to help highlight the issue and, having commissioned some special costumes that I created with Croatian designer Mario Mise, I asked underwater photography specialist Robin Conway to take the images as I swam and performed in a pool whilst surrounded by plastic detritus and installations made from recycled plastic waste.

Dance for the Sea - Fernando Montano

I wanted to contrast the freedom that comes with dance and light with the claustrophobic, strangulating and destructive impact of plastic in all its forms once it enters the global water system. What has made this project special is its community nature. I’ve been very grateful to all the schools and local groups who gave their time and energy to collect items that they then turned into backdrops and installations for the photographic session.

We have selected the ten best photos for our campaign and hope to use them to highlight the disastrous environmental impact of plastic on our ocean and ultimately, the quality of life for this and future generations around the world. Ten limited edition prints of each photo will be used to raise funds and awareness for MCS.


Fernando will direct, choreograph and perform to an outstanding mix of classical music and opera at Dance for the Sea. Special guest mezzo-soprano Justina Gringyte will feature with some costumes designed by Dame Vivienne Westwood.

Attend the performance ‘Dance for the Sea’ on Thursday 18th July at the Royal Academy of Music, in aid of MCS. Tickets are available from the box office here.

Further details available here.

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