anima dance

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a dance film with Rachel Brooker (dance, choreography)

and John Coombes (concept, direction)

dusttodust from John Coombes on Vimeo.


was shown in Berlin for the first time on February 8th, 2008
at Motion#1, the first in a series of videodance events at ada studios Berlin

dusttodust – The Concept

(John Coombes)

My idea was to develop a piece that combined earthy, dusty, primitive movement with modern technology. After rising up and finding her feet in the world, I wanted the dancer to become almost, but not quite, overpowered by the text and information we are constantly bombarded with in the 21st century.
I think we still have an enormous shared memory of the time we spent in the caves. We came from the darkness into the light, but the light can be a bit dazzling, sometimes it’s nice to get back into cave, into the darkness. We’ve spent far longer scrabbling around in the dust than we ever have sitting on sofas.
I had been working on a series of large oil paintings, 1220mm x 1800mm, of modern-day naked figures, in primitive positions, in a dusty landscape.
... I was also working photographically with projected text on the naked figure. I wanted to combine these two aspects with movement, using body-paint, light, projected text and music.

Originally the idea was that the dancer would be overwhelmed and would disappear behind a barrage of imagery, but during rehearsals Rachel’s dance was so strong that, as we filmed the piece, it became clear to me that the dancer would survive.
I heard the music, Horizon Seven Seven by FortDax aka Darren Durham, on the radio, and contacted Darren. Initially I wanted the piece performed live and extended by several minutes, but unfortunately Darren was busy recording an album so couldn’t do any work on the project.
The piece was ideal because it built to a slow chaotic climax with a strong underlying beat, almost a heartbeat. I extended the beginning, looping the first sequence in the edit.
The nakedness of the dancer, smeared with white paint, was important both for the initial primitivism and for the subsequent vulnerability when confronting the barrage of text from the Information Age. Ultimately this should be a performance piece, with live music. The dancer interacting with projected filmed images of herself and projected images of increasingly complex information graphics.

For more information, email Rachel Brooker, or join our mailing list.

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