Globe Trotting with Mitchell Rose
From Papua New Guinea, to Taipei, Moscow to Los Angeles, and South Africa to Antartica, award winning dance filmmaker Mitchell Rose crowd sourced, in the truest sense of the words, a lovely film called Globe Trot that truly celebrates humanity through dance. Rose wanted to challenge himself in areas of interest to him, and what he took on is no small feat. First, he wanted to make a film using a technique that he calls “hyper match-cutting” which he explains as one “where every adjacent edit is perfectly aligned in position and continuity”. Next, fascinated by the concept of being able to engage many people in doing complicated things if you took the time to teach and work with them, he wanted to make a film using “instructional collaboration”, with fractured but continuous choreography, shot by a multitude of remote filmmakers—54 to be exact. Finally, fascinated by seeing non-dancers moving, he used a varied non-professional cast composed of all sizes, shapes, ethnicities, cultures and ages to create a homogeneous piece of choreography and a very singular short film.
Reaching out to dozens of directors and choreographers, dance organizations, and dance film festivals, Rose spent months finding willing filmmakers and subjects in twenty three countries on all seven continents to work just for the love of it. He enrolled renowned choreographer Bebe Miller, his colleague at Ohio State University where he teaches, to create an accessible, “everyman” piece of choreography, and every filmmaker was assigned four counts from a wonderful score by William Goodrum. Rose created an instruction manual to clarify specifics such as distance from the subject, framing, and where the subject should be in the frame, etc., and all those details are followed through beautifully.
This past weekend, Globe Trot was screened at Dance Camera West, followed by Mitchell Rose doing a presentation about his process, and it brought the house down. I love the accessibility of the film, and am completely blown away by the patience and planning he used in his process, and some of the locations are wonderful—like a field filled with sculptures of gigantic ears of corn that a man dances amongst. Mitchell has made twenty-five dance films, mostly with professional dancers such as his frequent collaborators Jamey Hampton and Ashley Rowland, but by his own admission, after doing films ranging from dramatic to funny, he wanted a film that was joyous.
“This technique of Hyper-Matchcutting has the effect of creating equalization. When a new image takes the place of an old image, with the same continuity of action, it says, ‘These things are equal’. And that’s what I hope the message of Globe Trot is—that people, all over the world, are equal.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Founder/Director of Dare to Dance in Public Film Festival, Sarah Elgart is a Los Angeles based choreographer and director working under the auspice of Sarah Elgart | Arrogant Elbow. Sarah creates original content for stage, screen, and site-specific venues. Her stage and site-works have been performed at alternative spaces including LAX Airport, The Skirball Center, Mark Taper Forum, Van Nuys Flyaway, The Bradbury Building, Jacob’s Pillow, INSITU Site-Specific Festival NY, and Loft Seven, where she created a rooftop work lit entirely by a hovering helicopter accompanied by Nels Cline (Wilco). Her work has been produced by venues including The Music Center, MASS MoCA, Dance Place, Los Angeles Theater Center, Mark Taper Forum and The International Women’s Theater Festival. In film Sarah has worked with noted directors including JJ Abrams, David Lynch, Catherine Hardwicke, and Anton Corbijn. Her own films include award-winning music videos, dance shorts, and an Emmy nominated PSA, and continue to be accepted into festivals internationally. In addition to teaching dance and film, Sarah writes a regular column, ScreenDance Diaries that focuses on the intersections of both genres internationally for online magazine Cultural Weekly. Sarah’s work has received support from organizations that include the Rockefeller Foundation, the NEA, City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department, California Arts Council and more. She is an alumna of the Sundance Institute’s Dance Film Lab, a Fellow of AFI’s Directing Women’s Workshop, and a director member of the DGA.