This week on ScreenDance Diaries I feature a simple and beautiful short film called Waves, which I discovered on Nowness, by All We Can Do Is Dance – aka French director duo Bertrand Guerry and Thibaut Ras.
It makes sense for dance to draw from nature… As children we imitate the movement of animals, of trees, of wind, and yes of waves. As we explore the natural world around us it becomes a point of departure and inspiration for the exploration of our internal world, a thread for the expression of imagery from memory, dreams, emotion, and more.
What I love about Waves is its complete, almost child like simplicity and unpretentiousness. A male dancer, Jeremy Martinez, fully clothed and wearing sneakers, approaches the shore with a series of wave inspired somersault like movements, propelling himself backwards over the sand. The camera follows from behind, and then as he pauses, catching his breath just at the base of the shore, camera leaves him at rest and pans over to the water, settling momentarily on the gentle movement of the ocean’s waves. As we watch the waves suddenly reverse their course and camera pans back to Martinez to find him doing the same… rolling in circles, heels over head, kicking up and resettling the sand, to end where he began.
Waves is shot entirely in one take and except for the reversal of the water and the dancer’s trajectory, without apparent edits. Beyond the sound of the waves in the background it is also without musical score. Choreographed by the dance company Arcosm, Martinez’ movement is simple but dynamic, and equally as interesting going forward as it is in reverse.
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.