Dance

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Dance Music

A New One-Take BBC Ad Brilliantly Interprets the Feelings of Music Through Clever Choreography

October 7, 2020

Grace Ebert

It’s well-documented that music moves us, and an advertisement for BBC Sounds takes that research literally. A project of Rogue Films, the one-minute clip opens on a woman riding a city bus before swooping into a responsively choreographed dance enhanced by visual effects. Each subject, including an unassuming dog, sways and spins to the diverse array of sounds pumping through their headphones or the speakers in a coffee shop. Two women twist in double-helix, a figure floats calmly mid-air, and another stares at hovering objects while she listens to astronauts in space.

Based in London, the production company says on Twitter that the socially distant advertisement was shot in one take on a cordoned-off city street.

 

 

 



Dance History

A Moment of Stunning Choreography and VFX Shares the History of the Little Rock Nine through Dance

October 1, 2020

Grace Ebert

In a powerful interpretation of Elizabeth Eckford’s historic walk to school in 1957, dancer Kendi Jones moves gracefully along a sidewalk. “The First Day” is shot in black-and-white to mimic the iconic photographs of Eckford as she passed through crowds of angry White students, teachers, and community members on her way into a formerly segregated school. Eckford was part of the Little Rock Nine, a group of Black students who were the first to integrate Central High in Arkansas’s capital. They were initially barred from the institution until an intervention from President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Directed by Barnaby Roper, the short film captures Jones’s elegant movements and freezes them in time. As she shifts into her next position, a bit of her form appears left behind like a cloud of particles. To watch more of Roper’s experimental projects, head to Vimeo.

 

 

 



Art Dance

Affected by a Central Force, Dancers Perform Implausible Bends on a Perpetually Spinning Stage

September 29, 2020

Grace Ebert

Celui qui tombe,” or he who falls, is an illusory performance from self-described circus artist Yoann Bourgeois (previously) that opens with six dancers on a spinning platform. As the central stage turns, the performers run forward to fight the perpetual motion, even though their efforts keep them in the same spot. The sextet moves easily throughout the performance, grasping onto each other and stopping in neat lines as they respond to the stage’s revolutions. As Kottke notes, the centripetal force of the platform makes it possible for the dancers to contort their bodies into seemingly implausible positions, like the acute bends shown below, and remain standing.

Bourgeois created “Celui qui tombe” in 2014 and shares an extensive collection of similar illusions on YouTube. You also can keep up with his work on Instagram.

 

 

 

 



Animation Dance

A Sparkling Figure Leaves a Trail of Dance Moves in New Stop-Motion Animation by Fernando Livschitz

July 17, 2020

Grace Ebert

A mesmerizing new project by Fernando Livschitz (previously), of Black Sheep Films, captures a gold figure dancing down a well-light runway in what appears to be a digital animation. As he twists and moves his body, the dancer is stretched out, leaving behind a glimmering streak of previous positions. “Lost in motions,” though, is entirely analog, and the latter half of the video chronicles the production process: Livschitz photographs himself dancing, before transferring each individual position to a wood cutout. After painting each figure and the surrounding scene, he assembles the pieces in order and manually positions them as he records.

Explore a larger collection of Livschitz’s animated projects on Instagram and Vimeo. You also might enjoy this music video featuring layered papercraft.

 

 

 



Art Dance Music

A Dramatic Performance by Juilliard Students Brings a Socially Distant Approach to Ravel's Boléro

May 4, 2020

Grace Ebert

Maurice Ravel’s Boléro is a particularly collaborative composition in that it passes the melodic theme through a series of solos. The sequential performances highlight the distinct tones and sounds of each instrument, whether it be a flute, violin, or the anomalous saxophone. In a spectacular new project, dozens of Juilliard students who now are quarantined in their respective homes bring a socially distant approach to the classic orchestral composition. What makes it especially impressive, though, is not just appearances by famous alumni—watch for Yo-Yo Ma, Laura Linney, Patti LuPone, and Itzhak Perlman—but because it coordinates the instrumental piece in addition to a range of dramatic and choreographed elements that appear to transcend individual frames.

In a statement about the project, Juilliard said the hundreds of video clips were filmed separately before being edited and overlayed into a single composition. “Bolero Juilliard, assembled by a team of artists all working from remote locations, is part narrative, part collage. Most of all, it is a collective endeavor that captures a snapshot of a specific global moment and the possibilities of creative connection in an uncertain world,” the school said. The assembled video is “a complex online puzzle with many components being conceived, rehearsed, and produced simultaneously.”

If you enjoyed Juilliard’s project, check out this music video filmed entirely on Zoom and these quarantine dispatches. (via Kottke)

 

 

 



Dance Music

Thao & the Get Down Stay Down Films a Synchronized Music Video on a Zoom Call

April 18, 2020

Grace Ebert

Zoom has been having its moment as many companies’ platform of choice for virtual meetings and conference calls, but Thao & the Get Down Stay Down recently found a more creative and amusing use for the digital communication tool. With its tour paused and everyone stuck at home, the Oakland-based band decided to shoot a music video for its new single, “Phenom,” that begins with Thao Nguyen, who leads the indie group, starting a Zoom call.

Centered on the singer, the two-and-a-half minute number features eight dancers who move in choreographed synchronicity across multiple screens. They appear to drip water onto each other and create a single, flexing figure throughout the video.

Nguyen recently told The Verge that the band rehearsed for five hours before taking a day to film the entire piece. Equipped with strong wifi connections, the group utilized a metronome before beginning to ensure they were all on the same beat. “Certain dance moves had to be adjusted to look good in Zoom’s gallery view and didn’t translate if they were too chaotic. We found that the moves had to be really clean and clear and simple. I had to be the focal point and if too much was happening you wouldn’t know exactly where to look,” she said.

Find more of Thao & the Get Down Stay Down’s visual work on Instagram and YouTube, and head to Spotify for a full album archive. (via Uncrate)

 

 

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