The major multimedia element of my production, Red Shoes, is the projection that functions as the set. It help sets the tone for each vignette and carries the viewer on a visual journey through colors and textures and moods. The video is almost beautiful enough to stand alone without the dance or the music or the dialogue, but I enjoy the depth it adds to the performance, creating layers upon layers for the audience to focus on.
I began my journey with projection design years ago when creating basic videos of color and shape in iMovie for student performances with the non profit Turning the Wheel. That curiosity evolved and was encouraged by my good friend Alana Shaw when she invited me to dive even deeper into projection art with the creation of a video set for her stunning piece, Stardust and Water. I learned a lot working on the video for that performance, which was mapped to the stage and completely immersed the performers in stars, water, flowers, clouds, watermelon and more. It was quite the accomplishment and it has been refined with each city Stardust and Water visits.
Taking what I learned from that monumental project, I was emboldened to create a video for my own one woman show. The video for Red Shoes combines original footage that I have collected over the years, motion backgrounds found online, and videos from the public domain. Two excerpts in the video include choreographed short films that are complete artistic thoughts in their own right and were filmed, edited, and scripted by me for the piece. Below I share some of my artistic insights and creations for various clips in the show!
The Rising Sun: I thoroughly enjoy blending two pieces of footage together to create something completely new and original. I especially like to layer my own original footage with clips collected from creative commons and public domain. This shot layers a shot I took while on a walk in Denver of grass in the wind with a video of the sun rising. The combined effect elevated the moment to a beautiful place.
Wheel of Dancers: Performance art and projection design aren’t the only realms I explore with my creativity. I also spend a lot of time creating mixed media paintings and it was important to me to include this side of my artistry in the projection. This vignette from the projection is a slow motion video of a mixed media canvas spinning, and then layered with a motion background to reinvigorate the color and texture that appears in person when looking at the painting. I’m so pleased with the overall effect this created.
Power within our own Feet: A powerful theme throughout the show is the push and pull of looking outside oneself for power vs finding that power within. One of the stand alone moments in the film features a dance I recorded of my feet, honoring the depth of knowledge and grounding that exists in that part of me. I was honored to layer a film of a friends tapestry over my dance to create even more depth and richness. The final piece is like a visual collage, combining colorful elements to create something that no one has ever seen before.
Tornado: Another aspect that I really love about the video is the incorporation of images from the public domain. There is so much wonderful material that has been saved and collected from the past, and with the magic of the internet it’s become extremely accessible. I love the vintage feel it creates, pushing parts of the show into a timeless realm and hopefully creating meaningful connections for individuals watching. Along with clips of storms and tornadoes, images of spiders, forests, as well as audio clips from 40’s radio, are peppered throughout the performance.
I’ve enjoyed working on the projection aspect of Red Shoes so much that I am feeling inspired to pursue creating films that can stand completely alone, with no blending over dance and theatre. Let me know if you would be interested in seeing my work evolve in this way. I’d love to hear your thoughts. But first I have to complete Red Shoes! See you tomorrow.