My Dance Film Journey

Dance film

< 22 shots > 

It was a great practice for understanding the camera operation. The all angles are capturing exact the same movements yet, since I shot Ishy outside at the South Oval, I also noticed that how much lighting affected to the shots. Especially I enjoyed the editing aspect to create the whole choreography with only 2 movements. The limitation gave me a power of making something really pleasing. I had a clear understanding of the goal of this assignment and I felt succesful making 22 shots.  

< Art Project> 

This practice I really enjoyed it and I could say the film was successful to display my intention. The idea of 2D image into 3D creation is really captivating to me. The image I chose was black and white photograph taken by Ansel Adams, but it also connected to my childhood memories. So, the image itself was still, no movement inspiration whatsoever, yet I had the words, nostalgia and tracing to my home is in my mind to create the film. I chose Katie O’Loughlin as a performer since she is amazing mover as well as bold to try new thing with me. In editing, I noticed that I tend to overuse the layers, though in this film, it really worked well to tell the doubles or past self in the frame.   

<Final: Fish out of the water> 

My initial plan was to portrait my personal experience as an outsider from own culture. I wanted to keep the term “Fish out of the water” as a metaphor. Yet, I had a challenging time finding the performer who can display the struggle within their own heritage and now. So, I changed my direction to go along with the term, “fish out of the water” and created the narrative with Jackie that she had a daydream at the aquarium AKA fish shop. In this film, I used all elements that I learned in this class such as angles, musicality, key frames to make smooth transitions. The thing I regret is the dancing part. I had Jackie against the wall with the projection, and I shot her with many angles in different level. However, it turned out the lines of the wall creates the frame inside the frame. The film itself was successful to the audience to have a clear storyline as well as I could use all the skills I learned in this class.   

<Reflection of the semester> 

Dance Film I is one of the class I was excited to take in this semester. I was ready to dive in this class. At first, it was challenging due to all instruction and class time was online. I have only used iMovie so learning all the function that DaVinci Resolve have took time and many practices and fails. Although the speed of the class and video recordings helped me a lot to catch up. I watched couple times to fully understand the editing software. In terms of filming, I enjoyed a lot to find more perspectives by applying the angles, levels, the physical distance with the objects. I only used front view to record my dance work, but to allow myself to have cinematic approach, I saw more possibilities in film. Overall, I gain a confidence to say I have a fundamental knowledge of making film.

Where is your “home”?

Choreography Workshop, Dance film

In the beginning of the semester, I had many questions related to “home” such as what defined “home”? Is it the location like where I grew up? Or the people such as the dance community at Ohio State University? Or the memories in my brain? etc..

Wherever I go, I can make some place for myself to be comfortable. But this comfortableness is not necessarily defined as belongingness. In my definition of belongingness is inherent desire to be accepted by the community by behaving what they expect to. I always have hard time finding a place to land myself. In the Japanese community, I am an outsider. People my age graduated from college, have jobs, live nearby their parents, mostly staying inside their country for the rest of their lives. On the other hand, I live in the U.S. which far away from all of my family, and still a student. I clearly not on the same pathway as others. In the U.S., I am a minority due to my race and skin color. I have a neutral opinion about politic, or economy which seems like unusual in this country.

So I started looking for uncomfortableness from lacking belongingness in the physical body. I had the privilege to work with a talented dancer, Aya Venet. She is a sophomore at Ohio State University, also from Japan. She was born between the father who is African American and the mother who is Japanese.

Rehearsal at the studio

We started to brainstorm what makes us hard to find the belongingness. We met once a week at the studio and built the narrative of the piece. She shared the story that in between of two location, Japan and the U.S., she is uncomfortable to be “her” due to the different expectations. Started with improvisation with the question, “if you are very uncomfortable, how do you move?”The movement was developed to embody her internal struggle.

I had her move inside the circle, which stands for a borderline from the place she is at. What I wanted to emphasize on the circle was that it was not her choice to be inside of it. The line was drawn by an unseen force, to categorize her as an outsider. The white line was inspired by field chalk at the elementary school playground. It is drawn clearly to stands out the separation, but the more you step on it, the more the line gets blurry. This applied to her circle, the more she steps on the line, the more she has access to the outside and merge to the inside. The line will dissolve and disappear. That is my goal in this piece. Showing her strength and able to erase the lines and step out the circle.

I planned to stage this piece as a film because I want to show the external factor, which affect her to struggle internally. I initially wanted to ask volunteers to walk around Aya, although due to the COVID-19, it was not a good time to ask this favor around. So I decided to overlay the video clips my friend took for me a year ago. They were taken at Shibuya crossing and Shibuya station which is well-known place for thousands of people passing every day. The clips was a symbol of the place where always required to catch up with the speed, and match with the expectation.

We searched the location and decided to shoot at The Oval. The red brick contrasted well with the white lines and I loved the background. To me, the two roads behind her were the two countries Aya grew up and came from to be who she is now. I did one take for drawing the circle as well as the ending part. Which made me worry that if I could take a good shot, but I trusted Aya and she performed beautifully. I hope everyone enjoys this short film. I would like to hear what you see and what you feel, and please share your thoughts on comment below!:)