Hope you're doing well! Here is our blog post! It was such a good idea to request this, it forces you to reflect in a way that you may not have if you didn't have to write about it. Love it.
Title: Getting in there, you just have to really get in there
I craft in images and then string those images together, but when using VR, those images conceived in the live performance landscape can no longer be the heart of the artistic process. I’m forced to rely on my ability to embrace the new possibilities and restrictions to surrender into a new artistic process, and to be honest, I can’t think of anything else I want more right now. This process has provoked opportunities of extreme comfort and discomfort, physically and conceptually. The bathtub is quite smaller when you dance in it with a 6 foot 3 inch partner… I will briefly walk you through some of these insightful challenges from my perspective in our collective, Flexsus Studios.
It’s me, Sarah (Director/Choreographer/Dancer), Danny (Dancer), Ben (Cinematographer), and Jordan (Gaffer). From my perspective, performing in the post-modern contemporary dance aesthetic is like being given permission to fulfill my wildest, weirdest dreams. Unlike narrative film in which we also work, it’s as if the audience’s expectation for clear and concise storytelling is somewhat dismantled, and for me, that makes me want to high-five everyone I see. Our collective in Flexsus Studios tries to dwell in experimental filmmaking through dance films, fashion films, and visual albums, and although this opportunity to get down in a bathtub for 4 hours seems right up our alley, it’s a live 4 hours. That’s something we’ve never done before. So one of the two biggest challenges I’m facing is that I’m choreographing a durational piece with a dancer, Danny, who has never performed dance live besides the occasional dance battle which usually lasts him a solid minute and a half. But hey, he usually wins so I have faith. Shifting our roles from Director - Cinematographer to Dancer – Dancer is a huge, insightful, and hilarious shift, and although Danny can’t go 20 minutes of rehearsal without eating M&Ms, this shift in roles has completely strengthened our artistic relationship and, I think, has provided a deep insight into what dance has the potential to do in the self and project into the world. And yes, now M&Ms have permanently made their way into our piece.
So, I think in images right? Well we met this lovely kid Ben at one of the homeLA meetings, and now there is a beautiful component VR component to our piece! This is exciting and makes me smile a little bit everyday when I wake up, but as we’ve been building and constructing the piece, I’ve realized that my images the audience will see through the VR component are no longer the spine of my comfort in the artistic process but instead the most fragile. The restrictions as a Choreographer that I’m used to, such as the audience’s planted field of vision, are no longer in play, and the possibilities, such as proximity to audience (which is the camera), are now restrictions. Utilizing VR technology has opened up the audience’s field of view to 360 degrees which is amazing, but now this means I must choreographically embrace this vast field of vision in a way that still holds true to our performance concepts. On the other hand, my safe zone of proximity to the camera (which is the audience when they put on the VR headset) is now roughly 3 feet away without distortion instead of being able to get as close to them as I want. These are a couple examples of the flips in possibilities and restrictions that have made this artistic process so challenging yet so unbelievably rewarding. Or at least will be rewarding…when it’s done J
The collective of people performing in this piece are all navigating extremely new environments in their departments, but you don’t grow until you start working at the point where you shake. So we’ve over here quaking away, but enjoying it none-the-less. At least we have a lot of M&Ms.
Thanks Rebecca! See you later today :)
-- Sarah C Prinz Creative Director | Choreographer sarahcprinz.com | flexsusstudios.com 224.406.4881 | firstname.lastname@example.org