A Filmmaker Reflects on Week 1

The participants in this year’s Instituto Coreográfico enjoyed a weekend away from the studios, but they were still busy working and reflecting! One of our filmmakers, Will Atwater, had this to say about his first week:

My first week at Instituto Coreográfico was both challenging and rewarding. For me, one of the biggest challenges when working alone on a video shoot is being able to anticipate where to place the camera to best capture the action. Not that this is ever an easy task for an emerging filmmaker, but working solo requires one to manage all of the equipment – keeping batteries charged, handling tripods, etc. While important, these tasks can hinder one’s ability to anticipate and capture the action unfolding. As you know, dance rehearsals are loaded with action – dancers lunging and twisting through space. Until I started to learn the dance routine, I was not sure where to set up and which action to follow.

Having no prior knowledge of the dance routine that would unfold, it is critical to establish rapport with the choreographer and dancers early in the process. Interviewing Abdul Latif Rasheed, the choreographer I am working with, gave me a better sense of his vision for the week, which in turn helped me begin to figure out camera placement. My comfort level grew as I became more familiar with the dancers and the routine they were learning. Feedback from Gerrit Vooren, video coordinator, on my initial footage also gave me confidence to take more chances with the camera: the first day of shooting I kept the camera on the tripod, but by Friday I was capturing more hand-held footage and getting closer to the action.

In the second week, I look forward to building on what I learned during the first week. I am grateful for the opportunity the Instituto Coreográfico has given me to expand my skills as filmmaker by working with Abdul and members of the Ballet Hispanico Company.

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