Satin Stitch, a dancer’s perspective

Here are dancer Kristen Frankiewicz’s thoughts on our shoot for Satin Stitch, the experience of making a dance film, and how it differs from live performance:

Frame Dance Productions….Satin Stitch…
The weekend of the shoot in January seems so long ago now. So much has happened since then. So many more new projects have begun since then…yet I’m still incredibly excited about the energy surrounding the Satin Stitch project. Is it just that I haven’t seen the edited version of the film yet? Or is it something more that’s keeping this project so awake for me? It got me thinking…

Working on this dance film wound up being a single marathon day of shooting, and that day’s resonance with me has happily lasted much longer. When I think back about that cold windy weekend in Galveston, I find that I’m able to recall certain fragments and memories about space, time, direction, feelings, food, laughs, textures, colors, shapes, and images we created, but I can’t remember it all. Obviously I’ll never be able to remember it all exactly as it was. That’s a huge part of the beauty in live performance for me; it’s all a series of beautiful fleeting moments, never to be recreated or remembered exactly the same ever again. Each moment special; each moment temporal; each kept alive in memory by small details or connections, however imperfect their memory may be.

I can’t help with the simplicity of my current thought though, “Hurry up March 12th, I can’t wait to see this film already!”

Thinking back to the film shoot day, I can remember some of the laughs we all shared on the ferry ride over to Bolivar. I can remember the feel of my boots turning on wet sand, the feel of that beautiful cold grey wall, the little warmth and speed of the sun rising for our opening shots, the sharp pain of tall grass stabbing me in the face, a few movements from the zen-like gestural phrase in a diagonal, the freedom felt with improvisation, the warm quality of simple interaction I shared with Ashley, Alex, and Nichelle in the ‘hand dance’ section, and a heck of a lot of tangles in my hair from all that wind! Naturally, I find these memories diluted as I look back on the live performance I gave that weekend, but it doesn’t seem to make the moments any less substantial to me. As much as I love the thrill of performing live, it’s exciting to have opportunity to play with live dance’s counterpoint…film. I’m looking forward to watching film’s take on this project’s live performance.

Ok to be really candid, sure, I really want to see what footage Lydia ends up selecting for the final film version, how it’s edited, what it actually looks like, what the tone of the film feels like, what I look like, what we look like, what music gets used — the details and basics you know. But aside from what it looks and feels like, I really want to see if it reopens more memories of the weekend for me. I want to see if when I watch it a few months from now it’ll feel different yet again. And when I watch it much later than that, I want to see what it feels like then too. Will the film preserve some of my experience of how I felt when I danced in it? Will any of it? Will the images and tone of the film be strong enough to keep the live experience of dancing it more tangible to me? Tangible memories, mmmm šŸ™‚

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2 comments

  1. Nichelle says:

    Perfect, Kristen! I share so many of your feelings about the day and the eagerness with which I await the final cut!

    I loved this:

    I can remember the feel of my boots turning on wet sand, the feel of that beautiful cold grey wall, the little warmth and speed of the sun rising for our opening shots, the sharp pain of tall grass stabbing me in the face, a few movements from the zen-like gestural phrase in a diagonal…

    Those elemental snatches stand out and I have a hope that as they watch viewers will feel a bit of sand beneath their boots too!

  2. Thank you for your dancer’s perspective. As the person often behind the lens, I am trying to capture your sensations, but I only get to experience them vicariously. For me, I leave the filming days having viewed everything through a 16:9 LCD screen. The magic in the film, for me, is to see everything from a larger perspective and attempt to feel what the dancers felt as they experienced and interacted with their environments.

    Bravo to the Satin Stitch dancers. I too am excited to see the final cut!

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