Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Dockside Tango

I love filming dancers. It started when I was a kid, mesmerized by dance on film in West Side Story. 

Choreographer Jerome Robbins, Composer Leonard Bernstein, Lyricist Stephen Sondheim and Director Robert Wise, together, made an American masterpiece...using tough gang kids dancing in an athletic style, they made musical theater dancing accessible for a much wider audience.

Later came my appreciation of Alvin Ailey, Twyla Tharp and other modern dance icons. 

Last year, I took my daughter to Broadway to see “In The Heights”, a joyful musical about Dominican-Americans in NYC, combining elements of hip-hop, merengue, bachata, salsa and jazz. 

I’ve also been studying the classic films of Fred Astaire, Cyd Charisse, Ginger Rogers, Gene Kelley, the late Gregory Hines, TV’s “Dancing With The Stars” the “Step Up” series and the urban sport of Parkour.

The Altis Ballet, my short film featuring Boston Ballet dancers, has garnered close to 170,000 views on YouTube.

But Argentinian Tango holds a special place in my heart. Who can forget Al Pacino’s blind man’s Tango sequence in “Scent of a Woman”? Or Gomez and Morticia doing the Tango in “The Addams Family? Or the films of Sally Potter? Tango is sensuous, passionate and hot. The dance requires absolute concentration, connection and cooperation between the two dancers.

For my new series of short  (under 2 minutes) pieces on dancers, I asked local dance teachers Nancy Murphy and Ron Gursky of Rugcutters to choreograph dances at a handful of locations around Boston. 

I direct, film and edit each piece, experimenting with a variety of production techniques, from camera moves to lighting to editing to special effects, building up a cinematic vocabulary that may be useful on a variety of projects going forward.

Dockside Tango was shot in one morning with my Sony HXR-NEX-5u AVCHD camera at 1920x1080 30p HD, and edited over six weeks entirely in Final Cut Pro. Music -- "Latin Vinyl" by Footage Firm. 

If you’re an accomplished dancer or dance company, any style, please contact me about appearing in upcoming films.

¡Bailemos!  - Roberto