Monday, November 12, 2012

"The Motto"...Lando Wilkins

When a choreographer collaborates with a dancer, it is imperative that they both listen to each other. The history of dance provides many examples of choreographers who had a "my way or the highway" mentality. And even if the resulting work is fantastic, most dancers will tell you that working with those types of choreographers is hell. So when dancers are able to work in a situation where the choreographer is open to their interpretation, but also has a focused idea and direction, everybody is happy. Lando Wilkins is a choreographer who understands the dancer's need for collaboration and interpretation, while keeping the big picture cohesive and tight.

MUSICALITY: Drake's groove on this track is deep in the pocket of the beat. So it was important for Lando to choose movements and phrases that could fall into this groove without feeling forced. Listen carefully to the loop and you will hear a distinctive clap on the 3 and the 7 beats. This is the pocket that Lando uses to base all the syncopation and 8th note rhythms. The 3 and the 7 is like a built-in pause, that breaks the flow of the more fluid sequences. Just like a period at the end of a sentence, this structure roots the combination into the ground and helps the dancer feel the drop in every phrase. At (1:04-1:06) you can see how the 3/7 drop is like a bookend for the crip walk section, when you hear the clap, it signals a direction change for the dancer. Another aspect of Lando's choreography that is particularly musical, is his use of repetition in response to repeated lyrical phrases. At 0:55 and at (1:36-1:38) you can see how he uses the repetition of a word to inspire a phrase that looks as if a record is skipping on a single phrase again and again.

DANCER SYNC: A few of the posts on SERVINGCHOREO feature dancer/choreographers who do double duty and perform their own material. When this is the case, the choreo tends to be perfectly tailored to the dancer's body since the choreographer and dancer are one and the same. However, in this video, Lando has stated that his goal was to highlight individual interpretation of his material. Lando says, "Each one of these dancers showed their own take in style to the routine which is what i wanted. If it looks messy to you, so be it, but it is not to be clean, just to showcase various styles. Someone out there will relate to one of these dancers in the way they rock the dance. And that is the purpose of this video." This is not only a very generous attitude for a choreographer to take, but its also the right one. Unfortunately, there are many "choreographers" in the industry who put their egos above a dancer's individual artistic expression...which is a damn shame.

AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT: Commercial dance(music videos, movies, pop concerts) is built for the camera and has to fit a frame. This is contrasted with concert rep dance which is built for the stage or site specific performance. So when we watch dance that has been composed for the camera, we have to appreciate the architecture of "the shot." This includes the framing, the edits, and the angle perspective. In my opinion, this video demonstrates a great relationship between well-composed choreography and David Moore's cinematography. Note how the zoom effect serves to highlight the repetition I previously mentioned at (1:36-1:38). In this instance, the camera becomes the 6th dancer in the group, playing with the foreground, background, and quarter-angles.

KUDOS to Lando for being a team player...allowing his choreo to be open to dancers' interpretation and fantastic cinematic collaboration!

No comments:

Post a Comment