Saturday, September 05, 2015

Looking forward, not back

Here for your viewing pleasure is the last of a recent series of posts featuring work made outdoors in the summer. Summers have usually been a rich and productive time for me, since my favorite way to show live work has always been in the outdoors, for free. Around 2005, once I started making dance films, I typically try to also re-envision live productions for film - especially if they're located somewhere special. 

This video was shot in 2008 during live performances at Garnerville Arts Center in Rockland County near where I live.  Dancing in it, among others, are Mica Bernas, Caitlin Roben and Chisa Hidaka, all of whom will be dancing in the upcoming dance film project shooting later this month. The evocative music is by Andy Teirstein and the mostly improvised camera work is by Jake Goldwasser. A discerning person who saw Cottonwood for the first time just now says it well: "it holds up pretty well against your more refined work."

Looking back at earlier work can be a healthy exercise when I'm moving into a new project. In some aspects, I guess I've grown as a filmmaker since these early forays. On the other hand, even in 2008 I wasn't a novice choreographer, having practiced for about 30 years !!!  Over those decades I've developed some chops as a maker, designer, storyteller, editor. By now I know what I want to make - and more importantly why I want to make it. Does it sound like I'm psyching myself up as I head into the first shoot since February? You betcha!

And since beginning something new is always a leap into the unknown, I take heart in sharing news of having previous work "accepted" in upcoming screenings of all over the world:

Plow Plant Reap in Belgium, Chile, Cyprus - and Illinois!
Honeymoon at Dance Media Japan and in Brazil.
and little old Roxie in Novia Scotia and Kentucky

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Endless Summer

Below is another entry in the ongoing recap of past summer projects - this one from 2008, made during a summer dance for the camera workshop taught by Ellen Bromberg in Victoria, British Columbia. 

I'm almost finished sharing outdoor summer video dances.  Then maybe we should move on to projects made in the fall, like Incident at Chekhov Creek and Porch Stories.

The good news is my recuperation from surgery is complete and I'm back in the swing. That means that pretty soon I'll be busy posting about future projects - so stay tuned!

Friday, July 31, 2015

Reclaiming history

Let's call the summer of 2015 Throwback Summer, as I continue to post highlights from past work created for summer spaces - a suburban pool, a dock by a lake, and now the banks of the Hudson River. Fleet Week was commissioned by the River to River Festival and presented at Battery Park in 2005.  It was a no-brainer to commission Steve Elson to arrange and perform music played acoustic as it might have been on a turn-of-the-century pier. Because there was no electricity for this dusk-to-dark show I had to get creative with costumes. I spent hours sewing battery-powered lights on most of the costumes and researching hand-held light guns aimed by the dancers to illuminate the action.

In my online research to confirm the year that Fleet Week was presented, I re-read the New York Times coverage.

Sailors frolicked with pretty women in long white dresses and illuminated parasols. Another dancer, wearing a gown and a wide-brimmed hat, shimmied across a bridge.  Even Ms. Prince, wearing a skirt that hid two children, made an appearance. But the dance seemed like afterthoughts in relation to the costumes and location.  With the enveloping dusk and her offbeat cast of characters, Ms. Renzi might have been going for something surreal, but the result resembled a Broadway set.  The nature looked fake.

Now that you've seen the video version of the event, what do you think? Is surreal one of the words that came to your mind to describe the aesthetic? Might the Broadway set actually have been an intentional reference? Did you wonder about why the costumes were so elaborate? What might have brought these offbeat characters together on a pretty summer evening on a boardwalk? And the architects that designed that simple arbor to frame the boats that pass the esplanade might have joined me in disagreeing with the conclusion : The nature looked fake. 

Ten years after the fact, I hereby reclaim history!

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Screening somewhere in the world sometime this summer ...

                          Her Children Mourn

                   The Circus According to Cecil

                                Plow Plant Reap  



I admit it: I'm proud!
And now another little summer something from 2010.