The use of Film
The use of film has been a significant feature in many of the Ludus Dance productions. Following on from the successful use of film in SOLD, Ludus also adopted a multi-media approach for CLASH, ZYGOTE, PERFECTING EUGENE and TRAPPED.
So how and why is film used in a dance theatre show? There are many reasons and these can vary depending upon the theme of each show. Film can be used to show ‘real-life’ or recognisable images, which add to the action on stage and help us to understand more about the issue. There can be an interesting interplay between the film and the choreography or characters that can have great impact. Film can enhance the choreography by providing a moving backdrop, or put it into context by setting a scene. It can introduce and manipulate characters and scenes or even be a character itself. The film can convey information that may be more challenging to communicate through dance alone.
Lets look at a selection of shows and see in more detail how and why the film has been used in such a way.
Clips 1a & 1b: SOLD
In these sections from SOLD called ‘Manipulation’ and ‘Work’, we can see how effectively the film is combined with the choreography and the music to create powerful and moving scenes.
In ‘Manipulation’, the film images project onto the dancers white costumes, which makes them appear to be part of the film at times. The film and movement are of equal importance. The dancers are physically manipulating each other and at the same time the film shows images of children working. It’s an incredibly strong and clear way of communicating the unpleasant fact that children and families can lack choice and be manipulated into work.
In these extracts from the ‘Work’ section, there is a very strong relationship between the choreography and film. The dancers pause at times in order for the audience to focus solely on the film images. The focus shifts to the choreography when the film pauses or is slower. The dancers movements echo some of the movements from the film. The dance and film, along with the music, have been carefully crafted; they complement and contrast each other at different times, without one dominating the other. What is being communicated through the film and the dance together? How does it make you feel?
Clip 2: Zygote and Perfecting Eugene
In this clip from ZYGOTE, the film is used to show the results of a test to see who is pregnant. Zygote is based on a game show format – why is the film used in this way? Is it effective?
In the following clips from PERFECTING EUGENE and ZYGOTE, you can see how the film has been used to introduce characters and scenes or sections. Other than using the film, how else could these scenes have been introduced? Do you think that using the film for this purpose is successful? Why?
Clip 3: SOLD
This section from SOLD called ‘advert’ is a stand-alone film that appears quite early on in the show. The film shows the kind of media and advertising images that we might see on television telling us what we need, what to buy, what’s the latest fashion that we should be wearing. It is fast paced with quickly changing images, just like a tv advert. This film comes straight after the opening of the show where we see an image of a boy and hear the true story of his life working in an Indian carpet factory. The advert is a stark contrast to this. Without having seen any dance yet, the film changes the mood, sets the scene and starts to introduce the themes and issues.
Using the film is this way can make the show as a whole more accessible. Why do you think this could be?
Look at these clips from CLASH, SOLD and ZYGOTE. The role of the film here can be described as ‘wallpaper’. What could that mean? What does the film contribute to each scene?
Clip 5: Perfecting Eugene, SOLD and Clash
Here we can see the important role that the film can play in communicating specific facts and information. In PERFECTING EUGENE, some information about genetic testing is conveyed through the story of the Bagheads.
The powerful and moving images of in the ‘Work’ section of SOLD give us an insight into the realities and extent of child labour throughout the world.
In the ‘resolution’ section from CLASH, the words floating on the screen as the dancers lie as if asleep, offer both positive and negative ways in which to deal with a conflict.
Do you think that there are other ways in which this kind of information could be conveyed to the audience?