Paris and romance are a single being: a city radiant with amour, a glistening metropolis replete with lovebirds, dynamic locals, and pain au chocolat. It’s the dream of many to make a pilgrimage to this never-never land of crêpes and dreamy sidewalk cafés—and what better way to celebrate the anniversary of a great love than in the City of Love itself? McKeely and Graham took their love for ballet and each other and made a little magic with Bonphotage one lovely Parisian day—quel bel amour!
From the photographer, Bonphotage:
“Dance brought these two lovers together and we wanted to commemorate their love by having them perform their art in the most beautiful city in the world—Paris!
On a beautiful day in February, I met with McKeely Borger and Graham Kotowich of the Ballet de l’Opera De Metz Metropole and made my dream of capturing dance movement into a reality! Sibo Designs provided the beautiful gown and ethereal veil used in some of the images. We supplemented the shoot to create a full story with beautiful pink silk ribbon by Silk and Willow and calligraphy by Written Word Calligraphy.”
“Graham and I first met when we were both studying dance in Regina, Saskatchewan, our hometown. I started dancing at the age of 5 (about 20 years ago)! He graduated and moved to London from Canada at 17 to pursue his dance career. Being 5 years older than me, I was only 12 years old at the time. I knew he was talented all through our studies, but his large scholarship to attend the Royal Ballet School was the confirmation of this. I don’t know at what moment during my childhood I decided that “he was a big deal,” but he was to me, and so I never spoke to him (all the while being friendly with his peers). I continued to never speak to him, followed his journey on Facebook from afar, amused, in awe, and proud that I knew him.
Spring 2015 we found ourselves both back in our hometown at the same dance studio that we grew up at during quiet moments during our careers: I had followed mine to the U.S.A., and his across the pond. Our dance instructor invited us to dance in the school’s year end recital as guest performers. I guess you could say the rest is history after meeting again all those years later, from 5 and 10, to 22 and 27.”
What is your favorite thing about each other?
McKeely: “I think I have a new favourite thing every day. I know that sounds silly, but how does one choose?! What I do know is that I love who I am growing into while beside him. I feel I am turning into the person I am meant to be.”
Graham: “That pink is not just a colour but a lifestyle for McKeely! She loves pink so much it’s contagious. For me, it represents the way she has shown me love: it’s beautiful, soft, and loud. I’ve noticed over time as bits of pink have worked their way into my life, and I am happy to experience them as tokens of our love and shared experiences.”
Any funny relationship stories?
Graham: “Our first trip together we went camping deep in British Columbia’s Rocky Mountains driving McKeely’s PINK Jeep. We only had a tent, but the two other campers on site had hard top caravans. Naturally, I was a little worried after being warned about the bears and porcupines there that chew through brake lines. So I positioned the jeep as a barricade, and kindly asked McKeely to finish all of her food in order to not attract unwanted wildlife. Regardless of precaution, I stayed awake all night gripping a hatchet and when she asked me the next morning how I slept, I replied “fine…” but honestly, the satisfaction of being alive was enough.”
What is the most honest thing you can say about love?
Graham: “I feel I am learning to love, and that includes loving myself. I think love is about the present moment, and there can be no limitations. You can share the loving part of your soul freely, with your partner, with your family, with your friends. Love can be a constant outflowing energy, we need to allow ourselves to give it away and be grateful when it comes to us in return.”