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: http://www.ukmva.com

A Look behind a Master Piece

How did you go about working together to build this dance hybrid installation?

A new type of collaboration.

A massive part of the whole project is just to start to have a conversation, what interests us, what kind of things might stimulate further conversation or dialogues.

….. to give us a baseline in terms of rhythm to work on top of ….

Music is very physical too. Should it be following the dance and the set? Music touches you. It could hit you, or stroke your neck.

I don’t see art as an object. I see it as a relationship, a relationship between dancers, between dancers and the stage, between dancerss and the audiences…

Can We Use Golden Ratio as Choreographic Inspiration?

As a mathematical and natural phenomenon, the Golden Ratio has links with the Fibonacci sequence, the Stradivarius Violin, and the Vitruvian Man. The golden ratio has been widely used throughout the visual art, architecture, and music fields, by Mozart and Le Corbusier, among others, however it is rarely utilized within the field of dance.

The relationship of the highly subjective field of dance and the pragmatic field of mathematics has not yet fully been explored.

The mean and extreme ratio, later named the Golden Ratio, was first clearly defined mathematically circa 300 BCE by Euclid of Alexandria.

In Book VI of his Elements, Euclid describes the ratio:

A straight line is said to have been cut in extreme and mean ratio when, as the whole line is to the greater segment, so is the greater to the less.

In the beginning of the 20th Century, Mark Barr termed the Golden Ratio, phi, after the Greek architect responsible for the many Parthenon sculptures such as “Athena Parthenos”, Phidias 2 6. Use of phi, or the Greek letters, Φ and φ, is now commonly used as a reference point when discussing the properties of the Golden Ratio.

There have been connections forming between dance and mathematics education as well as mathematics and dance definition which have furthered both fields.

Why the Golden Ratio? The Golden Ratio is considered to be the “mathematical concept which is at the centre of … discussion,” by many mathematicians and math historians alike.

The Golden Ratio, while being a relatively simple mathematical concept, can be linked to numerous natural phenomena and artistic expressions throughout history: from the number and arrangement of petals on flowers to the beautiful works of music composed by Mozart; from the structures of the galaxies to the evolution of deep sea creatures; from the design of the soccer ball to the architecture of the Taj Mahal. Golden Ratio can be seen in a wide variety of natural and artistic mediums internationally and throughout history.

The Golden Ratio as a Series of Numbers

The sequence 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233, . . . , in which each term (starting with the third) is equal to the sum of two preceding terms, was appropriately dubbed the Fibonacci sequence in the nineteenth century, by the French mathematician Edouard Lucas (1842-1891).

Golden Ratio in Music

Mozart, one of the most timeless and well-known composers in history, was known to show very high interest in mathematics. There are even math equations jotted down in the margins of many of his compositions.

The Golden Ratio can be mathematically defined as a number, a ratio, a series of numbers, and many other forms. Often related to nature and works of art, the Golden Ratio will also be defined by these occurrences. The arrangement of flower petals’ growth and the design of the pentagram are a few of the natural and artistic expressions of the Golden Ratio.

The process of relating the mathematical, natural, and artistic expressions of the Golden Ratio is comprised of three phases:

  • Utilizing the four main components of the Laban Movement Analysis – Body, Space, Effort, and Shape – the mathematical expressions can be related to movement constraints.
  • Relating the natural expressions of the Golden Ratio into choreographic structure.
  • By relating the existing artistic expressions of the Golden Ratio to choreographic methods to create choreographic ideas.

Reference: https://www.charlesgilchrist.com/

Choreographic Process: July 4

Choreographer: Abd Al Hadi Abunahleh

  • Location: Studio 8, Amman, Jordan
  • Duration: 80 minutes
  • Starting: 20:10 pm
  • Ending: 21:30 pm

Dance and Mathematics, while displaying many degrees of separation today, were both founded as ways of explaining and creating dialogue with the natural world.

Mathematics is present in dance.

If mathematics is a study of pattern, then dance choreography can be described using mathematics.

Geometry is perhaps the most apparent subfield of mathematics present in dance. Each dance has its own characteristic way of applying mathematical concepts.

Mathematics originated from the desire to use concrete relationships to better describe and explain the natural world. Modern clock time originated from the mathematical investigations into the relationship between the Earth and the Sun while the modern Gregorian calendar was derived from the relationship between the Earth and the Moon.

The relationship of the highly subjective field of dance and the pragmatic field of mathematics has not yet fully been explored.

Geometry’s inherent connection to the moving body has also been studied by several dance and design scholars. Most important among them are two German artists: Oskar Schlemmer, a Bauhaus influenced choreographer, artist, architect and costume designer, and Rudolph von Laban, founder of the most widely used notation system in dance: Laban Movement Analysis – a system of documenting a dance with symbols or descriptions based on the dance’s effort, time and space. Schlemmer and Laban both kept geometric ideas, and Platonic solids in particular, at the core of their movement and design philosophies.

Geometry and dance are fundamentally connected.

Choreographic Process: June 24

How to Choreograph a Dance? What is a “dance stimulus”?

Choreographer: Abd Al Hadi Abunahleh

  • Location: Studio 8, Amman, Jordan
  • Duration: 140 minutes
  • Starting: 19:40 pm Ending: 22:00 pm

A stimuli could be any thing that inspires you to choreograph and give you a new direction to think in. Its an exciting journey to discover how many ways a simple stimuli can be perceived in and how it can inspire movement.

Choreographer uses stimulus to help dance artists think out-of-the-box when they choreograph fresh pieces together. Lately, we’ve been thinking of introducing scientific and anthropological theories as stimulus in dance creation. “Time out of Time: a special place” is inspired by Liminality, “a threshold”. Humanistic psychologists describe “the ‘out-of-this-world’ quality associated to liminality a sort of trance-like feeling. Analytical psychologists have often seen the individuation process of self-realization as taking place within a liminal space.Choreographer uses stimulus to help dance artists think out-of-the-box when they choreograph fresh pieces together. Lately, we’ve been thinking of introducing scientific and anthropological theories as stimulus in dance creation. “Time out of Time: a special place”