Dance

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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)

 

 



Dance Music

A Trio of Dancers Brave Icelandic Temperatures in a Stunning New Music Video for Pianist Hania Rani

April 8, 2020

Grace Ebert

Set against a snow-sprinkled mountain range in Iceland, composer and pianist Hania Rani plays meditative sostenutos on a lone piano in an enthralling new project. Directed by Paris-based filmmaker Neels Castillon, F Major begins with Rani and a figure in the distance before turning its focus to three dancers shot in succession. Their bodies swell and dip across the wind-blown landscape, similar to the musical dynamics.

In a note on the piece, Castillion said Rani’s prolonged runs, the dancers’ hypnotic moves, and the serene landscape proved an unparalleled combination.

Listening to Hania’s music over and over, I began to dream of a single sequence shot that would follow her music floating in the wind of an unreal Icelandic landscape. I asked each dancer to give a personal interpretation of Hania’s song. We were very lucky to succeed in this insane artistic performance despite the great cold (minus 7 Celsius). It was such a moment of truth.

“F Major” is part of Rani’s anticipated album Home, which is scheduled for release in May. More work from the pianist, who splits her time between Warsaw and Berlin, can be found on Instagram and Spotify. To keep up with Castillion’s dreamy pieces, check out his Vimeo and Instagram.

 

 



Animation Dance Design Illustration

Innovative Augmented Reality Book Merges Dance, Theater, Literature, and Technology

November 5, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Adrien Mondot and Claire Bardainne, who work together as the Adrien M / Claire B Company (previously), explore the intersection of tangible and augmented reality in their multi-media projects. They recently launched a Kickstarter to support their latest project, Acqua Alta – Crossing the mirror. Acqua Alta turns a seemingly simple pop-up book into an animated black-and-white world. Two figures move through the pages, battling rainstorms and walking through doorways, all seen through the portal of a tablet or smartphone.

The duo tells Colossal that after their 2017 exhibition Mirages & miracles, they wanted to focus their efforts on an affordable medium at an intimate scale that still allowed for constructing volume. “After considering the AR algorithm, it was important to find a solution for the book to be a plane for each of the 10 double pages,” Mondot and Bardainne explain. “The magic happens only when the real space and the AR space are completely synced together.”

The duo was also working with a limited budget and limited professional experience with motion capture. In contrast to more specialized production companies with greater resources and established, Mondot and Bardainne were challenged by looking for smart and creative solutions to achieve the same results.

“It was very exciting to be at the border between many disciplines—theater, dance, but also comic books and animation,” Mondot and Bardainne share. “We are questioning the language: what does this medium allow us to express? Can we use part of the cinematographic language? Can we use some of the symbolic tools of the theater?”

You can support Acqua Alta on Kickstarter, where the book is available for preorder (it also comes with a free app for experiencing the AR). Explore more of Mondot and Bardainne’s interdisciplinary work on their website.

 

 

 



Animation Dance Music

The Line Between Reality and Animation Blurs in a Motion Capture Music Video for Ed Sheeran

June 26, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Pop singer Ed Sheeran flaunts his star power in an incredibly complex music video that combines motion capture, computer generated extras, and a guest appearance by Chance the Rapper to boot. The colorful video for “Cross Me” starts off with a professional dancer, Courtney Scarr, in a motion capture suit. Scarr becomes the sole real-life character in the video revisited throughout the song. Teeming animations of human figures, light effects, and a shower of sprinkles fill a dance hall, outdoor track, baseball field, and video game. Sheeran and Chance both appear as animated versions of themselves, navigating these computer-generated worlds and thoroughly blurring the line between real and imagined.

“Cross Me” was directed by Ryan Staake (previously), and also brings to mind this music video for The Chemical Brothers, directed by DOM&NIC. You can view the comprehensive list of collaborators on the project on the official video’s Vimeo page.

 

 

A Colossal

Highlight

Sailing Ship Kite