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Choreography by Genevieve Johnson
Performed by Abby Frank and Brianna Rhodes
This is a little story of a puppet who is tired of being controlled and in turn becomes the controller. The creation of this piece started as a piece about black and white bodies. They do most of the same movement with the same body type, so how is it different? I made the movement first and played around with music. I liked a carnival-esk piece of music and the movement quality and story it brought out: so I ran with it. I am so happy with the end result and am so proud of my two dancers.
This assignment was for connection and notation. The actual dance in relation to the music was what intrigued me though.
Here is the creation of the assignment with music. It was a stroke of luck that the music synced up how it did.
Here is the final showing of the assignment preformed and without music.
The music changed the dynamic of the dance which made it a different dance. If dance can be with and without music then why does the video with music seem more like a dance? Does it seem more like a dance to you? That being said is one better than the other because of music, flow, dynamic?
Making a documentary was at first very confusing. I didn’t know what to film about, how to go about filming, and how I would want to edit. When I had first thought of the topic selfies I didn’t know how I would be able to capture selfies as a single unit and not bundled into social media. I thought of some basic questions to have jumping off points: ex. What is a selfie? How many selfies do you take? Do you selfie in public? How do you react when you see someone else selfie-ing in public? Those questions lead into more thought out questions: ex. Do you think selfies are feminine? Do you think selfies are conceded or narcissistic?
Next came filming, I started with Mason Chapello and Molly Farash. They were polar opposites. Molly loved to selfie and thought it was just a form of self-expression. Whereas Mason never selfied and said the only time he would selfie, is when taking a picture with friends and family and to take a funny picture. The first time I filmed them I held the camera the wrong direction. It ended up to be a good thing because where we had first filmed was too loud. That was the only footage I had for a few days, so I just put all of those clips together. The structure of the film came from the first day I started editing.
I wasn’t sure how I wanted to create the documentary vibe. I wanted it to look clean and cute. I started with the title, “Selfie Culture” in about 10 different fonts rolling through in about 5 seconds. The last font brought in the next part of the video with Mason’s selfie. (I asked all the people I interviewed to take a selfie and then show me.) I then stated how universal selfies have become, “In this day and age selfie have become very popular. No matter what gender, age, ethnicity, or background, you have probably taken at least one selfie before.” I found it easiest and “cleanest” to use black slides with the question followed by the footage of the interviewees answers. To find music I turned to freesound.org. I searched “simple melody.” Right away I found the perfect recording. It was happy, simple, cute, and everything I wanted!!! This created my videos structure.
From that first day of filming I got about a minute of video. I left the video alone for a few days. One day while FaceTiming my best friend I thought of interviewing her. I liked the idea of having an online interview. I furthered the universal concept (even though she was in Cincinnati Ohio). That started my filming frenzy. I got three more interviews in about 10 minutes. I interviewed my roommate and then two other guys in my dorm.
The first guy I interviewed from my dorm was Conor Hurd. He was the only person who thought selfies were feminine and that is why I wanted interview him. His answers were short and to the point (AKA not the best for a documentary). So all I used from his interview was his answer to the feminine question and the clip of him taking a selfie. The other guy I interviewed was William Stark. He was the opposite of Mason and Conor. He selfied and was proud. His answers were helpful and when I asked him to take a selfie he went step by step of his selfie process.
Now that I have all my footage needed, editing came next. I went in one night and spent about 3-4 hours finishing up the documentary. I tried to work on it at home and use the free 30 day trial of Final Cut, but it was much harder on the small screen and that version did not have all of the same fonts and features. I got the video finished and felt very proud of it. I had finished most of my video and I realized that I did not use many of William’s answers. I liked his answers so I went back and inserted them. This messed up the timing with the music. I did not want to re-do all of the music. It was all very specific. If someone was talking their volume was all the way up and the background music’s volume was around 33. When there was no talking the background music’s volume went up to about 22 (the higher the number the lower the decibel, dB). I ended up just adding the music in the empty spots, however, the music did not match up. I found to best places that could to lead into the next section. If you listen closely you can hear the music repeat or skip slightly.
Even though the beginning was a little rocky I had very few troubles with creating Selfie Culture. Over all I loved making this documentary and hearing what people actually think about selfies was very interesting. This experience also opened my eyes to how much I do like working with film. It was less stressful like the Dance for Camera project was, and more fun.
Creating a dance film is not an easy task. I would know because over the last two weeks I had to create one. There were only three rules; 1. Use different filming techniques. 2. Dance. and 3. Has to be 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. Besides that we could do what ever we wanted. For my project I filmed in the Barnett theater in Sullivant Hall and different places outside. The first time I shot footage I used one of my friends, Molly Farash. I had the idea of literally dancing for a camera. I told her the think about how she would dance if the camera was the most important object, and to keep eye contact with it. I also had her stand in a black corner and put my flash on so I could only see her. I circled around her and eventually got a close up of just her face. The footage I got on that day was the beginning to my film.
I had the idea to have people on the street dance for me also… but that didn’t happen. Instead I used two other friends, Laura DeAnglis and Marissa Thomas. We went to the Short North and where ever I saw a nice location we stopped. That day was especially cold so, I let them keep their coats on. It was for their benefit and it made them seem more pedestrian. I had created a short combination that was mainly arm movements, so that is all they had to learn and all I needed them to do for my film. About half way into shooting, my phone died because it was so cold. One second it was on 59% and the next it was on 10%. I had enough time to get one more shot, after which my phone died… Laura was kind enough to let me use her phone and it did not die while shooting the rest of the footage!
During the shot when my phone died a man was walking on the side walk and was about to walk right through the frame. I kindly asked him to go around and then said, “seriously,” rolled his eyes and went around. I was shocked that someone could get so mad about having to step on the street for two seconds. I obviously ruined his day. Rant aside I didn’t end up using that footage. While walking around and slowly freezing we tried to find stores that would let us film inside. We walked into about 5 stores until a tattoo shop said we could film. Some of my favorite footage was shot in the tattoo shop, my favorite shot was in that shop. Unfortunately my favorite shot was filmed in slow motion and the quality was not good enough to use those shots. I was very upset. I did end up using about 5 seconds of one just because it was my favorite and I really wanted to use it haha. After we finished warming up I asked for a tattoo estimate and we left to go back out into the freezing cold. We shot about 2 more times and then we went to eat. We deserved it.
To edit I used Final Cut Pro, when I started to edit I quickly realized that my footage did not connect in any way. I started with the clips from the first time I filmed, in the Barnett with Molly, that’s as far as I got. The actual editing wasn’t too hard. Click drag, cut, click drag, click drag, cut, add transition, done. Now just do that a whole bunch. Since I didn’t have enough of what I needed I had to reshoot Laura and Marissa. Unlike last time where all the shots were both of them together, this time I used them individually. When I worked with Laura it was a beautiful, sunny, warm-ish day. To be able to blend the two different environments, I then filmed Laura in the same setting that I filmed Molly. Then I took a few shots of Laura in a dark area to simulate the black corner that I filmed Molly in (someone else was in the main theater area, so using the same spot with the same lighting was not an option). When leaving Sullivant to go get lunch, we saw how nice of a day it was, so of course I had to do more filming outside. When I filmed with Marissa I shot the same things in the same spots, however that day was a little chillier and gloomier.
After I got all the shots I needed, next was to finish the editing. The second day of editing in class I ended up staying later and finishing the film itself. It was hard choosing which footage I wanted to use, I had so much to choose from. If I would have used all of the footage I wanted to, my film would have been at least 5 minutes. Sadly I could not, so cuts had to be made and only the strongest survived. My final film was mainly all jump cuts of Laura and Marissa performing the combo outside, with molly being the beginning and the end. I kept it pretty straight forward, I layered clips when transitioning in the beginning and the end, but that was the fanciest effect that was in my film. I ended up with a 3 minute film… luckily I had a longer clip of Molly at the end that I was just using for credits and wasn’t necessary. A little trim here and a little trim there and my film was 2 minutes and 28 seconds, success. I ended up leaving around 8:30 ish, so the music had to wait until next time.
The next class was our last class to edit and during this time I worked solely on my music score. I had tried to do this part at home but I did not have the film to reference. To create the music I turned to freesound.org and Garage Band. The beginning of the film is Molly in the Barnett with most of the lights out, so for this section I searched “static”. I found two I liked and put those together. For the outside shots with Laura and Marissa, I wanted something simple with a pulse, so I searched “simple beats”. I found a few things, but I wasn’t totally happy. So next I searched “piano with simple beat,” I found a few more. One of the sounds I found I put in the first part with the static so there was more substance. The other sounds I used for the main chunks of the film with Laura and Marissa outside. Since the end is basically the same as the beginning, I used the same music for the end as I did for the beginning.
This project was a lot of fun to do, and I think it turned out pretty good. Working with Final Cut Pro was easier than I thought it would be and I’m happy I have that skill in my tool belt now. Next, Selfie Culture documentary.
Choreographed by: Genevieve Johnson, Kyla Makovsky, Alize Raptou,Taylor Hurd
Edited by: Genevieve Johnson
Music by: Kyla Makovsky
Over the course of this semester I have delved deeper in to group choreography. I was in a class called group forms where you learn to choreograph in a group on a group. From this class I was hoping to finish with a better understanding of choreography and more specifically multiple bodies in space. The class was taught by Ann Sofie Clemmensen for the spring semester and there were 16 people in the class.
We worked in pairs and groups to choreograph on 5 or more people. The first few weeks we worked on small studies. We focused on how to use space, time, dynamic, and how a little goes a long way. Figuring out that I could create an entire piece with a quick 30 second phrase was a big eureka moment for me. I always want to make new things, and having to step back and really look at what I already have has been very valuable this year.
We had two main projects this semester. The first was to create an 11-minute dance in four classes with eight people. It was a struggle. Luckily Sofie put us in groups with like-minded people so there wasn’t too much back and forth. The assignment was to choreograph an 11-minute dance with eight choreographers and eight dancers. There were two groups of eight and both groups used the music. The process started in two four people groups; one group had the first half of the piece of music and the other had the second half. My four person group consisted of Erin Yen, Cole Henry-Jones, Anthony Milian, and myself. The other half of our group was Laura DeAngelis, Hazel Black, Cyrah Ward, and Danielle Fishman. I was part of the beginning group. My group chose how we started the piece and the direction the piece was to go in. To do this we started by watching the movement we had created a few classes before. Once we found our favorite phrases/ sections, we started brainstorming how we could piece everything together. My group were people who had closer aesthetic preferences but still thought very differently. I was surprised when started to story board our ideas. I usually choreograph in the moment, I prefer working alone in an open studio with an endless amount of time. This method works for me because it seems more organic and fluid. However, the story boarding was also very helpful, I feel like having the idea of what you want is more efficient and creates clear parameters. It was odd to listen to the music and then decide the movement without moving. Through that process we finished our portion and had a few different options for each section. Depending on how the previous section went and the mood of the rest of the group; we determined which variation we should use.
Combining the two sections was not as difficult as I had originally thought. We intentionally kept about 30 seconds of music empty to have room for the transition. The actual combination of the two sections was not the issue we found. The second group had an arm section where all we did was raise our arms to our head and then drop them. We stood in a clump and everyone had different timing. The hardest part of the whole project was that arm section. We spent a good two hours working on those arms. The music was percussive and repetitive so counting the music was easy, however, since everyone has a different way of counting and phrasing it took two hours.
The second large assignment was an accumulation project. We started as duets, then became quartets, and then octets. For this study, my group was Erin Yen, Cyrah Ward, Lara DeAngelis, and myself. My experience with this project was unlike anyone else’s, I started as a solo, and then went into the groups. I had created a quick, minute or so, phrase that was one of my takes on deconstructed ballet. Then Cyrah added herself in the mix. She took my deconstructed ballet deconstructed it a little more and made it stationary. When we joined Erin and Laura we brainstormed the first class and noticed our pathways were intersecting in interesting ways so, we decided to layer the two duets. The result was an explorative narrative with the role of wanderer switching off within the group. For the showing we It seemed really interesting and we wanted to continue with that story for the octet. For the octet we had to find four other people to be in our piece. We We found people pretty easily and were able to find a time to rehearse in 390! (best studio) Our concept was to have the other four dancers mirror and flip our movement.
Here is the final video of our final study!
The short film,“What do I desire” was a film I can relate to. The context hit pretty close to home. This past Christmas my aunt and I had an argument about how being a dancer is not a reliable job. This is a video would have been nice to have to show her. I completely agree with the message. If something makes you happy, I doesn’t matter if you do not have a future as a lawyer or a doctor, be happy, that’s all that matters.
The film had a narrator for the entire film. There was b-roll for the film its self. The clips that were used were showing what Naseh Jrab was narrating. Everything was connected and made sense. The video seemed like Jrab’s life being told. The young boy was a representation of him, and the surroundings, reminiscent of where he grew up.
My favorite saying from the video is, “You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing, in order to go on living, that is to go on doing things you don’t like doing. Which is stupid. Better have a short life that is full of what you like doing, than a long life spent in a miserable way.” That is exactly how I feel about life and it is nice to hear someone else say it for once.
While Jrab was talking the clips that were passing blended pretty seamlessly. All of the clips had a lower brightness to make the transitions smoother. Each clip’s mood somehow felt the same. Certain clips seemed like everyday, up close and personal, normal actions. While others seemed like clips that were more planned. There were also clips that were the same moment at different times and in different angles. They showed how life is different depending on how you look on it.
In the beginning of the film there was a little boy that seemed to be Jrab as a child. As Jrab continues his monolog, the child walks on to a stage with a microphone and a nervous look. At the end of the film the same little boy is shown on the same stage, with the same microphone, and the same look. Then the camera turns to an empty audience. Then the film ends with a black slide and the words “What Do I Desire?.” This was a powerful ending tying in everything from the video and making you really think about what you just experienced while watching the video.
I watched the dance film Rosa dans Rosa choreographed by Keersmaeker. The film in general was very interesting, to me it seemed like the women were in a psychiatric hospital of some sorts. They had gone crazy from repetition. Since all the choreography was simple and repeated many times, it was easy to create interesting film choices. The choreography was simple but how the editors put the video together worked really well.
The beginning of the film was mainly panoramas. The dancers were walking around the “hospital” and the mood was kind of creepy. While they were walking the panning would sometimes cross walls and poles as they moved from room to room. Once the dancers got to the room where more of the dancing started it was mainly slower movement with points of sharpness. Those points were usually a head movement. AKA the perfect time to change view points. This section had four girls in a horizontal line, all doing the same choreography. All of the changes for this portion of the film were from left to right, changing from the profile of the girl on the farthest right, to the profile of the girl on the farthest left. Doing this made what was slow and simple more dynamic and exciting. There were also view changes while the dancers rolled on the floor.
Once the film progressed the creepy feeling disappeared and the movement got faster. The next section with a lot of view point changes, was when there were four girls sitting in an empty room. There was two combinations both with the same beginning. Because of how it was choreographed the dancers would match in movement and timing sporadically. This helped the transactions. At one point the camera did a somewhat panorama, where it circled the dancers. However, it was not a smooth circle. The video would cut from one angle to the next and when the circle finished all of those angles repeated but in a faster sequence.
One of my favorite sections was when the camera was outside of the building and you saw the girls dancing in the windows. It went back inside to the women dancing. The video went back out side and showed two floors of the women dancing in the windows. It happened again and showed three floors. It was a really interesting view point and it was kind of like a dang that is a lot of people doing the same movement and all together!!!
This film was really intriguing and I was a little upset that the version I saw cut in, what seemed like, the middle of the film. I would love to see the whole thing!
Moving your body in and out of a single space is an easy task. Now add three more people that you have to work with to create choreography, music, film with, edit a final video with, and do all this in basically three two hour classes; that is when it gets tricky. Read the rest of this entry »