THE MAKING OF SKY DANCE
The sun's midnight rays and long summer days of light highlighted the endless dance of the heavens, pushing out the existence of darkness. This sky was a shape shifter, the dance of invisible masses drawn out into lines, patterns & strokes mimicking the painter’s hand. This was the journey of the maiden, destined to experience the blossoming facets of herself, leading her forward to a yet unknown darkness.
An intrinsic part of the mythological mapping during the Augmented Organism Project incorporated various roots of European fairy folklore. For Misty Mirror the characters & energies we worked with spoke to the environmental setting of this chapter. We had multiple presences involved in this section, such as Lys of the Shadows, Iris of the Rainbow, Sylvanius, & Penelope Dreamweavers. There were also other energies involved that called for a realization of actions, awareness, breaking down of structures, of transition & surrendering to the unknown.
Further mythological inspirations that supported the story of Sky Dance was the archetype of the Maiden, representing an innocence/ignorance, purity, self assurance, brilliance, grace & intuition in a space where dreams, magic & make-believe exists. When eventually meeting the shadow, the journey can reaches the precipice of self-centered goals & desires, showing a fallen sense of self. Further world mythology influences of this archetype include:
Hebe, the goddess of youth (Greek reverence)
Idunn, goddess of youth and spring time, immortality (Norse reverence)
Ostara, goddess of spring (Germanic reverence)
Persephone, goddess of death and rebirth (Greek reverence)
In addition to our main research areas, our main elemental focus for Sky Dance was air. Air started out as a transition section but evolved into a body of work that was too important to not have a section of its own. Its presence was felt at all times of day with the sky as its canvas that it painted on in miraculous ways, drawing our eyes above.
PRODUCTION & PERFORMANCE PROCESS
Watching the sky for days & the theme of the Sky Dance came to us as we were location scouting, heading to man made outdoor art installations. We finished climbing through Agnes Denes' Tree Mountain- A Living Time Capsule work, & the experience was really eye opening. Walking out of those dry planted trees we looked up to the sky. At this moment, it was the best work the sky had presented. Cy captured some of it for production planning and research & we began to acknowledge the sky as a strong presence of this work. The next installation we headed to was Up and Under by Nancy Holt. This was a playground for our visions for both Skydance and the next chapter of the film, Dark Lady. The rolling landscaped hills covered with tiny flowers under which cavernous tunnels revealed an opportunity to present sequential contrasting and yet connected worlds. Above and below… The steep sloped hills provided the Skydance the perfect angles to capture a playful connection between a grassy skyline and sky.
The next day we set an appointment with the car & planned the trip back out for our shoot, but nature wasn't ready. It was noon & the sky was completely grey & cloudy -- the very opposite look you want when sky is the star. So we started preproduction for the Dark Lady chapter - the more industrial 'underground' element of this landscaped environment. In the tunnels we were sheltered from possible threatening clouds & made the most of our time. We then packed up and headed back to our studio. At about 9:30pm that evening we did a sky check & it was clear, the blue re-revealing itself. We repacked the car with gear & headed back with hopes in our hearts for some midnight sunshine. Incidentally the music score for Skydance composed by Cy was titled ‘Midnight Sun’ to suit the fact that this chapter literally danced in the Finnish midnight sunshine.
By the time we were ready with costume & cameras the light was starting to change, which meant our time to get this right was short. We started shooting with Cy running back & forth through tunnels & up hills to get the angles he needed. It was a one time shoot with no chance for pickups in our schedule. The biggest lesson of Sky Dance was preparation, patience and the willingness to act decisively when required -- also to not get upset when things don't work out as planned and have a plan B to maximise multitasking. In the end, patience and timing REALLY paid off as this ended up being the most productive out of this world type of day working for nearly 24 hours straight.
The general characterization, costume concepts, overall energy & effort of movement for Jazmyne was established from previous research, but also included aspects that were very in the moment. As far as costume, we gathered local flowers adding natural elements to the crown on location.
The energy and creative direction of the piece was predetermined, as well as the quality of movement (being heavily focused on detailed arm movement and smooth lower body actions). Cinematography required a duet of improvised movement between Cy & Jazmyne - both working hard to afford each the technical and creative room they needed. The throw & catch movement was also determined to technically provide flexibility in editing and creatively for Jazmyne, as the Augmented Organism, to be in dialogue with Sky.
EXCERPT FROM JAZMYNE'S CREATIVE JOURNAL
"Today’s midnight sky was like frosting on a cake. The streaky white clouds at the 7pm hour created criss cross patterns that were painted into distinct spirals— that of which found in the energy flow of our bodies, a slight spiraling effect also found in our DNA. I can’t quite explain what came over me as I looked in awe at the life in the sky, the breath it takes as it inhales puffy clouds and exhales them into white breath, like steam that comes out of your mouth on a cold winter’s day. Morning are mostly normal, with perhaps some amazing clouds passing through a warm summer sky, but the magic begins in the evening towards “sunset” or when the passing of the sun goes North between the times of 8:30pm - midnight. Night to me doesn’t really exist at this time of year, it’s more two hours of slightly dimmed mood lighting in between the times of 1-2:55am. 3am starts to kick the daylight in gear, as the sunlight brightens from the west, and the birds start more active chatter. When do the birds sleep here? Are they night owls too? Do they run on the energy of the sun? "