March 7 | 2013
I met with Brian again today to discuss music for the project. Brian watches the drafts of the films with an intensity and honesty. I always find it helpful to watch the films through his eyes. He is impacting the films post production as much as he impacted them during shooting, when he played live on the set. Today he was improvising on his vibraphone and I started playing one of the films as he did, we were amazed by how different the vibraphone made the film look versus the drums score he was playing previously. We had a lot of fun improvising, I even jammed out on the harmonica! Here’s Brian:
February 25 | 2013
Here is a copy of my abstract for the OSU Denman Undergraduate Research Forum. I am presenting the film series as a research into dance-film! Yay art research!
Blending Art Forms, Blending Realities: A Study in the Possibilities of Dance-Film
The development of cinema and the development of modern dance are so deeply intertwined, that two leading inventors of the motion camera, Thomas Edison and Louis Lumière, focused their lenses on two leading creators of modern dance, Ruth St. Denis and Loie Fuller. Since the early 20th century, dance film has developed with work from artists such as Maya Deren, Merce Cunningham and Elliot Caplan, and Wim Wenders. Today there is a medley of screens for dance film, including theatre screens, televisions, hung projections, computers, and cell phones. At the present moment, screens seem to fall into two categories: ones that immerse the audience in a film, such as movie theatre screens, and ones that are immersed into the audience’s life, such as laptop screens. Given this, the purpose of my study began as an investigation into audience reception of dance film on theatre screens versus Internet screens. By producing three dance films, I discovered that the type of screen greatly influences the creative process itself, demanding screen-specific choices about scale, duration, narrative, and pacing. For example, in order to highlight the smaller screens of laptops and smart phones, I shot wide angles for the Internet film, which exaggerated small-scale dancers. I edited short, fast paced films for the Internet, where brief videos are customary, whereas I used longer takes and gradual shifts for the theater screen to influence the state of a theatre audience. In the process of my research, I discovered that making dance- film requires an explicit awareness of the type of screen being used. This awareness should be present from the start of a creative process and should be taught in dance film courses. Attentiveness to the specific type of screen in dance film creation increases originality, clarity, and audience access to the work.
October 27 | 2012
Today was our first shoot day at the warehouse, 400 West Rich Street. It took me about an hour to get oriented in the space and pick out where I wanted to set the table, and how I wanted to use the lighting and the various props. We have been rehearsing this section for the past couple of weeks on a plain table and empty cups, so it was fun to do it with a table strewn with leaves and dirt, and cups filled with coffee.
Once I got some close up shots of details on the set, we began to run what we have worked on in rehearsal. Erin does a memorized dance while the other three dancers do an improvised score. It was intense and challenging for me to act in the moment and make camera operating choices that support the dancers’ choices.
While the three dancers at the table are improvising, our collaborating musician, Brian Rhodus, was improvising as well. The music was percussive and varied in volume and intensity. It created an atmosphere in the warehouse that influenced both me and the performers as I filmed. The influence went both ways, because Brian used this shoot day, as well as past rehearsals, to shape what he will eventually compose for the final video. I am so excited that his improvisational playing is a part of what shapes this dance -film, and his compositions will support the final edit of the video.
September 6 | 2012
This semester I am taking a dance composition class with Noa Zuk at The Ohio State University. Today, after we took turns coaching each other and changing the traveling patterns of a shared group movement, Noa gave us some amazing advice….
Noa reminded us to be fully present and physical in our bodies while choreographing with a group of dancers. She said that as a choreographer, you need to constantly feed your dancers the energy, intention, and physicality of the movement, which is just as much a part of the choreography as the spatial pattern or the timing of the movement. You need to fully realize an idea in rehearsal in order to see if it truly works, and if it does not, you need to act in the moment to make it work for you. Going into rehearsal, you cannot be wrapped up in your ideas, you must “empty yourself” in order to follow your intuition, and connect with the other people and the space your inhabit together in that present time.
This advice is exactly what I need to hear as I delve into the rehearsal process for Esho Funi. I have only had two rehearsals so far. At the beginning of the first rehearsal, the group of four dancers and I took a short walk around Mirror Lake and the surrounding landscape, and we noticed what we noticed. Wind, temperature, birds, plants, reflection off the water, people passing, insects, the sky, etc. From there we each created movement inspired by our experience, and we learned all of them to make common group material. This rehearsal was a success. Each dancer brought and individual essence to the dance and was truly in the movement. I was present and watchful, and aided in smoothing over rough areas and working out problems until I felt satisfied.
Overall, I was not as a tune to listening during the second rehearsal. I was preoccupied by premeditated ideas, so I wasn’t seeing what happening in front of me. I was dancing without the full intention behind a movement when I wasn’t certain. I am not beating myself up about this, because I know that skill in rehearsal comes with lots of practice and experience. I will practice mindfulness while in rehearsal. I will take time to fully embody the movement as I teach and create it. This will allow the dancers to live in this creation fully, so that we build it together.
See a continuation of this post here