Samuel Mathieu

Samuel Mathieu’s dancing is halfway between a conceptual approach of the idea he wishes to convey and an assertive taste for a final object danced in a literal way. Early on, for his pieces, he required his performers to show strong physical commitment. Physicality is a word that he often refers to as a choreographer. A word that encompasses the notions of performance, demand, accuracy and speed at the same time.

Moreover, even though his career as a choreographer is interspersed with recurrent moments of self-examination which have led to the creation of a few soli in his repertoire, and even though he is attentive to all the performers individually as human beings, Samuel Mathieu likes the group, the assembly, and even the cluster, the intertwinements and the entanglements of bodies. With the group he searches for the rhythm of his pieces through alternating moments of unison and moments of confrontation.

For many years now, his creations have focussed on the link between music and dance, on the place of sound and rhythm compared to the dance, to the movement. A strong and long-standing collaboration with Maxime Denuc has enabled him to test several musical writing principles to accompany his pieces: real-time electronic musical composition during rehearsals (Generic-X), composition of a score based, just like for dancing, on improvisations, suggestions, exchanges and compositions with the musicians of a string quartet (The Man who Plunges), creation of a musical piece before the choreographic creation in order to observe the musical work’s positioning, in terms of influence, compared with the choreographic work’s (Remarkable identities).

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Olga Dukhovnaya/LOUMA – Korowod

A film by Olga Dukhovnaya and Konstantin Lipatov from the performance Korowod
With Amalia Alba, Florence Casanave, Olga Dukhovnaya, Lisa Miramond, Annabelle Pirlot
Curated and produced by Amélie Couillaud and Dimitri Chamblas.

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See it is stage version:

Ulysse Lacoste

A sculpture of interactions, accessible and alive.

Who is Ulysse Lacoste?

Fascinated by science, Ulysse explores the themes of balance, gravitation and movement. He graduated from ENSAAMA-Olivier de Serres and since 2002 has been developing his own know-how in metal, combining the ancestral skills of forging and brassware with contemporary and industrial techniques. The result is simple forms born of geometric games, mobiles with a point of balance that is constantly lost and found again, stabiles in tension where all forces cancel each other out.

He has collaborated with several science and technology museums (Musée des arts et métiers, Palais de la découverte, IHP, Exploradôme,…), created apparatus and scenography for the circus world, exhibits monumental sculptures and carries out performances in the public space. Sensitive to the nuances of their environment, Ulysses’ sculptures seek synthesis, are interested in abstraction, and speak of simplicity.

Project 1. The sculpture bellow is a special case of the Oloid, a mathematical figure.

habitable mobile –  steel and cables – 2.4m in diameter  –  2012

Project 2. This project is called “Enceladus”.

Project 3. the Movement laboratory, A moment of pure research and creation around the circle, at the crossroads of the worlds of the circus and monumental sculpture, this laboratory puts into equation the geometric trajectories of bodies and volumes in an offbeat workshop, an imaginary colloquium of utopian surveyors.

Alwin Nikolais – Inventing Your Own Solutions

“I always seem to be looking for something that hasn’t been invented yet.” – Alwin Nikolais

Alwin Nikolais was an American choreographer. He employed lights, slides, electronic music, and stage props to create environments through which dancers moved and, more important, into which they blended.

Viewing technique as a means to an end, Nikolais did not ask his dancers to embody characters or emote, but to simply dance as part of the onstage environments created by his innovative costume, lighting and production designs—most of which he handled personally, in addition to creating his own music and, of course, choreographing the steps.

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Pepper’s Ghost

One of the oldest traditions in performing arts is the use of illusion to stage seemingly impossible features, like the Pepper Ghost effect. Magic has charmed and transported audiences for centuries. In the performance Peppers Ghost choreographer Fernando Melo collaborates with visual artist, Yoko Seyama, combineing technology and the use of antique elements like mirrors, reflections, appearance and disappearance to lead the audience on a rhythmic journey of contemporary images.

Choreography: Fernando Melo
Music: Dirk P Haubrich
Set and Light Design: Yoko Seyama
Costume: Jérôme Delbey
Artistic Collaborator: Shumpei Nemoto
Premiere: 11. March 2017 at Norrdans, Härnösand – Sweden

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Fernando Melo is a choreographer and director creating works for dance, theater and opera companies worldwide.

Rituals – Roberto Scafati

Francesco Aversano, Sofia Emanuela Cappelli, Vittoria Carpegna, Peng Chen, Laura Evangelisti, Leonardo Germani, Damien Nazabal, Morgan Perez, Giulia Pizzuto, Giorgio Strano, Prima Tharathep, Madhav Davide Valmiki

Part 1

Choreography: Mauro Astolfi
Music: Ben Frost, Peter Gregson and others
Set design: Marco Policastro
Costumes: Mona Hapke
Dramaturgy: Anna-Luella Zahner

Part 2

Choreography: Roberto Scafati
Composition: Dirk Haubrich
Set design: Yoko Seyama
Costumes: Rosa Ana Chanzá
Dramaturgy: Anna-Luella Zahner

Synaptic Motion

“Featuring a cast that includes two contortionists, an acrobat, a rapper and five dancers, “Synaptic Motion” makes Lomask’s brain sound like a pretty entertaining place to hang out.” — Andrew Gilbert, San Jose Mercury News

What does the act of creativity look like? San Francisco’s internationally acclaimed science and technology dance company Capacitor tackles this question head-on in the world premiere of “Synaptic Motion.” Conceived and choreographed by Artistic Director Jodi Lomask, this multi-sensory experience is informed by brain scans taken at the UCSF Neuroscape Lab to capture the mind during the act of choreography.

Media collaborators Mary Franck, Wesley Grubbs, and Johan Bichel Lindegaard have transformed this data and more into an immersive visualization of the creative process to the sound of Danish composer Toni Martin Dobrzanski and in a set designed by Erik Walker with lighting FX by William Brinkert. Travel through a larger-than-life neural forest experiencing memories, future self projections, and mirror neurons in action, while Capacitor’s unique cast of dancers, acrobats, contortionists and aerialists challenge notions of the creative process. Let them take you on a trip through multiple states of mind utilizing tensegrity apparatus.

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“Coffee literally changes the way we see, think, and interact with other people. BUT FIRST is our way of exploring this through two of our favorite mediums, film and dance.”
– Erin Brown Thomas (director), Mike Esperanza (choreographer)

BUT FIRST was made as part of San Francisco Dance Film Festival’s annual Co-Laboratory program in collaboration with the National Center for Choreography at the University of Akron’s Dancing Laboratories. A filmmaker and choreographer are paired together for one week to make a short dance film.

Directed by Erin Brown Thomas

Choreographed by Mike Esperanza

Featuring Tiffanie Carson, Erin Love, Sarah Housepan

Creative Producer / Co-Producer: Lindsay Gauthier

Co-Producer: Christy Bolingbroke

Director of Photography: Tyler Clark

Production and Costume Designer: Inda Blatch- Geib

Editor: Erin Brown Thomas
Sound Design: Mike Esperanza

Line Producer: Dave Hayward of Red Point Digital

2018 Co-Laboratory with NCCAkron

In its sixth year, the Co-Laboratory went National!

Dance Film SF partnered with the National Center for Choreography at The University of Akron in Ohio to bring filmmakers and choreographers together from San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York.

In Akron, the artists participated in a nine day Dancing Lab: Screendance residency, with three days of Workshopping and Pre-production, three days of Production, and three days of Post-Production. Both teams came away with a finished dance film that screened at the 2018 Festival. NCCAkron was excited to be co-producing with us as part of their process oriented approach to advance dance and choreographic craft.

Brilliant Short Dance Film Example: Valtari – Sigur Rós / Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui

First Prize Best Film / Fiver 2013 Awards

A short film part of Valtari Mystery Film Experiment, a project from Icelandic band Sigur Rós.

Songs featured in the film are: Ekki mukk, Valtari, Rembihnutur & Varud from the album Valtari.

  • Director: Christian Larson
  • Choreography: Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui
  • Dance: James O’Hara, Nicola Leahey
  • Photography: Mattias Montero
  • Costume design: Lydia Kovacs
  • Producer: Noreen Khan, Blackdog Film

The story behind this short film:

Last spring, Icelandic band Sigur Rós asked 14 filmmakers to create short pieces inspired by their latest album, “Valtari.”

This installment from Swedish director Christian Larson features choreography from Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, who recently crafted the famous waltz scene in 2012’s film adaptation of Anna Karenina.

Cherkaoui described his approach in an interview with The New York Times, “I love watching one dancer alone onstage, but, for me, solos are always connected to a form of loneliness … When people are together, there is a union, and it can be tense, it can be romantic and dramatic and cold, but it’s about how we relate and how we look into the mirror, which is another person.”

Capturing similar themes in this short film, Cherkaoui’s choreography twists the bodies of dancers Nicola Leahey and James O’Hara to create astonishing shapes and a rather intense exchange. Watch for almost-freakish feats of flexibility (not computer-generated!) and Cherkaoui’s experimentation with weight shifts – as he said about Keira Knightley and Aaron Taylor-Johnson when choreographing Anna Karenina, “they needed to connect very physically – not just in a polite way.”

Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui wins the Best Choreography award for the amazing Valtari video at the UK music video awards! Valtari is a collaboration with director Christian Larson for Sigur Rós ‘Valtari’ Mystery Film Experiment, with beautiful Eastman dancers Nicola Leahey & James O’Hara. Thanks to you all! More info about the awards: