Shot in one-take, “Kindred Bodies” is a representation of the delicate relationship between vulnerability and empathy. The characters use dance to communicate their feelings as they become a part of each other. This piece seeks to encourage us to share our inner emotions with others and to be in touch with our feelings.
Credits / Collaborators / Cast
As director Dziga Vertov once beautifully personified film cameras
“I’m an eye. A mechanical eye. I, the machine, show you a world the way only I can see it. I free myself for today and forever from human immobility. I’m in constant movement…my way leads towards the creation of a fresh perception of the world. Thus I explain in a new way the
world unknown to you.”
Inspired by Vertov, I wanted to take advantage of the camera in constant movements to show the art of dance from a new perspective. Dance is a 3D medium, like moving sculptures. Yet, a dance performance is viewed by people from a single and static perspective – either from the seats of an auditorium or on the floor of a dance studio. When looking at sculptures in a museum, we can physically walk around the object to observe it. I wondered what effect the same viewership would have on a live dance performance that is free from immobility?
To find out, I used the one-take technique to imitate observation by the human eye, which cannot cut or edit away from an experience. The camera is in constant movement that complements the dancers’ movements. It is choreographed to produce a variety of shots and movement trajectories like wides, close-ups, and arc shots. As a result, the piece feels like the camera is a dancer who actively participates in the dance sequence, rendering an emotionally involving experience.
The planning process of “Kindred Bodies” was challenging because both the dancers and I needed to know specific cues to change our series of movements according to the location of the camera. We went through a few rehearsals takes on location at first, but the pacing of the dance was off, which significantly prolonged or shortened the target length of the video of 3 minutes. We nailed down the timing and familiarized ourselves with the choreography after many trials and errors. I then decided to ditch the cues and move the camera according to the choreographed magic by the talented dancers. Boom! A single take was all we needed. I am still surprised now by how perfectly the camera movements and dance fit on our first try. The filming experience felt like I did not even have a camera on my hand, instead I was a part of Sean and Abby’s beautiful performance.
Words from Choreographers and Dancers Abigail Curran and Sean Pfeiffer on “Kindred Bodies”
“A dancer who is able to provide vulnerability within the story they are telling to the audience, or in this case the camera, is what leaves viewers feeling as if they were part of the dance itself. This emotion breaks the fourth wall and leaves the viewers feeling as if they are one with the
work. The process of making this film was so joy-filled due to the love of the art Tony, Sean, and I all shared. This dance was an honest look into Sean and I’s mind and I am extremely grateful to have such a special and talented friend to capture it.”
“By utilizing movement, artists can display an array of emotions, stories, and feelings. Through the process of creating “Kindred Bodies” alongside Tony and Abigail, we were given the opportunity to explore the true meaning of dance and the ways in which it can benefit us as humans in a truly supportive and embracing environment. This piece connected the three of us in a beautiful way that allowed all of us to fully express our creative voices and share our artistry with each other.”