As I finish my second year writing ScreenDance Diaries for Cultural Weekly, and before we break for the holidays, I wanted to leave you with something a little more personal: a glimpse at some of my own work. By now many readers know a bit about my tastes, writing style, and aesthetic predispositions, but very little about what I do either live or at the intersections of dance and film.
Ideologies is a bit of both. In its original form, it came from a live work I had been commissioned to create for MOCA Santa Barbara’s opening of the On Edge Festival, exploring how human beings are hard wired to follow leaders and gurus for answers – something that seems these days to come with increasing risk. The day before the production, my father passed away, and in the wake of a performance that felt like a blur, I needed to keep working and wanted to do more with the material. The idea came to me to explore having dancers moving towards camera from, and disappearing back into darkness. Only later did it occur to me how metaphorically apropos this was to my father’s passing.
Beautifully filmed by Caitlin O’Rorke, an extremely talented young Spanish cinematographer and director in her own right, and gorgeously danced by two amazing dancers, Charissa Kroeger and Kalin Morrow who also contributed movement moments, we shot this work with a single camera in 2 ½ hours and edited in another twenty five plus. In its original format Ideologies was presented large, projected on the side of a building (Electric Lodge, Venice) without sound. But wanting it to have a bigger and longer life, we made it shorter and tried a few pieces of music finally settling on “Dead & Gone” by MWTE, the Chapelier Fou remix – not chosen for the lyrics, but fitting yet again, I know.
I hope you enjoy, and I wish you a truly magical, joyous, healthy holiday season, and most of all a safe and Happy New Year.
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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.