In Her Skin: dance, fashion, and nature

Sharing the everyday lives of small-town women

Written by Scott Green, edited by Andrea Vushkova, photos by Gabriela Ilieva

“In Her Skin” is a new dance film made in partnership with Fashion Days, one of Europe's leading fashion retailers, and directed by Kosta Karakashyan, and Antonia Georgieva. The movie premiered in Bulgaria on 30 September and was released globally on 28 October.

“In Her Skin” was filmed in Velingrad with Lake Kleptuza as the backdrop, and crosses the creative opportunities of fashion, cinema, and classic and commercial dance in portraying the day-to-day lives of five women in the small town.  Choreographer and director of Studio Karakashyan, Kosta Karakashyan, came up with the general concept of the film, and with co-director Antonia Georgieva they developed the five characters - The Housewife, The Femme Fatale, The Runaway, The Girl by the Lake, and The Ghost.

Kosta reminisced about spending his summers visiting his family in Velingrad, noting the quaint town famous among locals for its gossiping through the whisper network as the inspiration behind "In Her Skin".

"Lake Kleptuza is one of the key tourist sites in Velingrad, and I love visiting it in the summer when there are many people, but also in the winter when it's very quiet and has a mysterious, haunted quality… The town that inspired the concept already had a site that perfectly encapsulated the sleepy tempo of the small town and how we can always find something to entertain ourselves with, even when there is nothing going on" - said Kosta.

He remembers that nothing remained hidden from the constantly vigilant town eyes. "You would go out and immediately someone would tell your dance teacher or your family what you were up to.”  The five female characters in the dance movie were built as archetypes of the women in the small town and the labels that people would give them. 

“In Her Skin” was inspired by the aesthetics of the famous television series “Twin Peaks” and set in an idyllic location for contrast. Since the movie has very little dialogue, the creators focused on details in the young women’s appearance in order to convey the characters’ roles better. Nails, hair, makeup were all carefully considered and Orlin Bakardzhiev created the looks of the five girls in cooperation with Fashion Days. As a result, the symbiosis between all elements of the dance movie is breathtaking. 

Kosta says that he and Antonia wanted to create a slow movie, representative of both nature’s flow around the lake and the monotonous life in the small town. Even though it was a challenge, this idea was greatly helped by the music, work of a talented young composer (only 16 years old!), OnTheTree (Martina Stefanova). She created a unique soundscape which enhances the viewers’ experience and invokes a sensation of mystery and eeriness.


“In Her Skin” is the most recent work by Kosta Karakashyan, considered "an important voice for LGBTQ+ struggles in Chechnya and elsewhere" by The Columbia Spectator, thanks to his thought-provoking screen dance piece 'Waiting for Color”. 

Do not hesitate to watch the movie by the young Bulgarian artist and enjoy the experience!

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