PRIMEKNIT SS19 METTE TOWLEY Q&A
You have a lot of creativity in you. What are your sources of inspiration?
For me I use dance as a tool, and creativity as a tool to find a happier space for myself. When I’m working on a project and I’m on set, there are endless possibilities. I’m able to transcend the boundaries that are put on me by the world or that I allow the world to put on me.
Why do you think dance is so important for self-expression?
Dance is the ultimate form of storytelling. It exists beyond language and it connects us. There is a beautiful way to embody the stories of our history through dance. It’s connecting humanity in a way that otherwise we wouldn’t be able to connect through. When you see great works that have been running for a very long time, they’re successful because they’re really able to bridge gaps between us. We’re not all the same and we should celebrate our differences. Dance is a beautiful tool that we can really use to better understand each other.
Are there any important lessons you have learned from dance?
Work ethic. It’s huge. My mother and father taught me a lot of that but dance really took it to another level. You have to be fearless. You can’t walk into a room expecting to injure yourself. A lot of injury happens when you’re being a little too safe actually; you have to find a balance.
Dance also taught me to find a beautiful median in exuding power and strength but also realising there is a vulnerability in all of that that needs to be shown too. So to become a whole person, dance showed me that I can really just be myself.
You’re a super strong and creative woman. When do you feel at your strongest?
I feel at my strongest when I’m giving myself the support that I need and I’m trusting my gut. I’ll call my friends many times a day over a decision, or a certain challenge that I’m facing, but when I feel strongest is when I listen to myself and I listen to what my gut is telling me. There is a certain intuition that comes from practicing that listening, but also from life experience and you need to remember your history and that is usually a great compass to tell you what is right for you. When you’re able to step into a space when you can really trust yourself that’s when I really feel invincible.
It sounds like you have a lot of sources for your strength. Is there anyone you specifically rely on to help you get to that head space?
I rely on my best friend. By best friend and I have known each other for 10 years and he put me in work as a dancer when no else would put me in work. I didn’t have a strong technical background, all I knew for me was that performance was a space that I could tell stories and I could connect with people and he got that.
But I also get a lot of strength from just kind people. I think you can get strength from people you know really well but there is also something that we need to be available too, and that’s the connection with strangers. A stranger can become a friend within a gesture or a within a kind word.
Is there anything specific that you want to stand for?
I want to be known as a person who is passionate about her craft, but even more important than that, I want to be known as someone who honoured her word, who had a sense of integrity to her that just illuminated that passion even more – that was the spark to the flame that lit the world on fire when she performed; when she danced, when she acted, when she sang.
Over the last five years you’ve gone through various exciting experiences. What can you tell me about your experiences in the dance world and how that’s translated to who you and how you present yourself as a person today?
I think being on the road as a touring dancer I had to learn that being lonely is not a terrifying experience. Being home sick isn’t terrifying. You need to go out and experience the world. Seeing the world has changed me a lot. I don’t see so many boundaries between us as I used to. Even people that share very different viewpoints for me, I really try and find the humanity in everyone, and I don’t think that experience would’ve been as strong if I had not visited so many places and performed for so many different people.
Also, just looking back to 2015 when I did my first adidas shoot, looking on this set now I feel a sense of freedom that I had to give myself permission to feel. And that comes from 5 years of performing and practicing. Every single day putting in the work that builds a sense of confidence and you shed layers of insecurity.
Can you tell me about the importance of training for your dancing?
Training and embodying your physicality through working out is so important for my life. Just knowing that I can push myself through that next rep or add on more weight; just buckling down and say I can do it. I think that’s a mental and physical companionship that just makes you feel so powerful. It’s so important to me that people get connected to their physicality. I want you to feel strong, I want you to feel that you can take on anything, you can jump over any hurdle in your life. You can lift up any weight that is tearing you down, that’s weighing you down. There is something interesting between working out and just wanting to live a very fulfilling life.
What does your training routine look like?
Four days a week I’m training with my trainer. Workouts vary – like box jumps, squats, weights, hold planks, jump rope. I’m training really traditionally right now because I’m really interested in trying something new. As a dancer in college it was just about practicing dance – all these different techniques – from modern to contemporary. It was all about being in a studio, rotating your femur, getting turned out, all of those things.
Now for me it’s about how much I can lift. I’m really interested in that right now. I feel so strong just knowing that I can squat like 165. And as I continue those increments are going to go up and you can really see the trajectory of how strong you’re getting, I’m really into that. But I also do yoga because it’s important for me to keep my muscles malleable and my joints and everything nice and open. I also take dance classes once a week and I also freestyle with my friends – or I just freestyle in my room. So it’s doing bunch of different things but being active is a big part of my life
You have a pretty versatile approach to training, is there anything that you most look forward to?
I look forward to going to the gym with my trainer. I’ve only been doing this for about 2 months now. During that period of time you build a relationship with the person that is training you and I enjoy that, I love relationships. I love knowing that someone is going to say “no you haven’t done that right, I can see you cheating, or stop we don’t do that here”. Holding yourself accountable is amazing but I think meeting new people in your life and new spaces that can also do that for you is something that is amazing.
What do you like about the Primeknit collection?
There’s something really amazing about the Primeknit because it feels really luxe, it’s so smooth on your body and the ridges in the knees are super malleable so I can bend and I can stretch, but there is also a support. For me, which this is huge, when you have a little junk in the trunk you need some support. For me it’s making sure that everything fits snug but it there is still flexibility there, and that’s what I’m feeling right now with Primeknit.
Is there anything we don’t know about you, that we should?
I’m an extrovert but I’m also an extreme introvert, and I need to recharge. It’s very hard sometimes when you want to achieve, and you’re scrolling through your feed and you’re seeing all this success, and no one is posting their failures, or no one is posting the days when they’re not up for it. I need to take time and consciously tell myself to take a minute to recharge. That is just as important as going hard, that’s just as important as performing at your absolute best and at the greatest intensity you’ve ever performed is knowing when to breathe and quiet your mind.