The University of Utah Department of Modern Dance Blog

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Frames of Impact

“Scale, spatial and temporal design – it’s about balance,” Ellen crosses one purple jeaned leg over the other, “I mean, you have to be very careful that the media doesn’t drown out the choreography.” She makes a little tent with her fingers, “Media has its own language, with its own internal references. I want to be sure each section is different but still referencing the same world.” I am sitting in Ellen’s office opposite a small red couch, next to a tall bookshelf filled with awards, books, and VHS tapes. She is describing Frames of Impact; a collaborative work with Doug Varone for Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company and Doug Varone and Dancers. Doug is creating the choreography, Ellen the media. Charlotte Boyd-Christensen, former Artistic Director of Ririe-Woodbury, co-commissioned the two art makers together to celebrate the company’s 50th anniversary season.
Doug has been choreographing on his company, sending rehearsal footage and music selections to Ellen. Ellen takes inspiration from music and choreography to shoot footage and create video, which she sends back to Doug. In February Doug and Ellen met in Salt Lake City for a week of work in person. “Ririe-Woodbury has been fabulous, we had a whole week on the Rose Theatre main stage, a crew, projectors, and dancers to test the media and timing with the choreography.” They focused on bringing the two elements together, Ellen editing the video and Doug making changes to the choreography, changes which will be brought back to his company in New York.

Her eyes light up as she talks about the process of making the work. “As a choreographer as well as a media designer it's been interesting for me to gain insights into how Doug both creates and articulates his work...” She pauses, “Image, choreography, it's a balance; these things something greater than the individual elements has the potential to emerges. The experience is augmented. Something else is unlocked.” See Frames of Impact performed by Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company on April 24, 25, 26, 2014.

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