Instituto Coreográfico 2014: Q&A with Dance Filmmaker Kendra Brisco

Instituto Coreográfico, Ballet Hispanico’s choreography lab for artists, is an innovative program for both burgeoning choreographers and emerging filmmakers. Our latest installment of the program welcomed filmmaker Kendra Brisco to BH. Kendra is a recent graduate of DeSales University, receiving a B.A. in both Dance and TV/Film. She has interned with the American Dance Festival and Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival  where she worked closely with professional companies from all over the world documenting their work. We asked Kendra to reflect back on her two week residency with us and she shared some fascinating insight–read below!

Kendra Brisco_Headshot_14You might be our first Instituto filmmaker who is also a dancer. When or how did you decide to pursue both dance and filmmaking, and what is it about the mix of the two that intrigues you?

At a young age I realized that I had two very strong passions. Once I realized this, doing something else never crossed my mind. Even though I was the first student at my school to pursue this double major, I was convinced that these two art forms were meant to be combined.

Being a dancer, I understand not only the body and how it moves, but I have a special sensitivity to movement and I am able to react to it. Because of my familiarity with the choreographic process, I can easily pull out the choreographer’s main points and understand how they connect to the creation of the work.

When I film dancers, I feel myself dancing with them, and it is one of the best feelings in the world!
You’ve documented many dance rehearsals on film already–is there anything about this project with Miguel and Ballet Hispanico that stands out to you as being different?

What stood out to me the most was how open the dancers were to new exercises and new ways of thinking. I got to watch the gears turning in their heads and observe the external changes as well. They were constantly sharing insight into their internal experiences that added a whole new layer to the rehearsal process. Miguel’s methods for drawing emotions out of the dancers had me captivated the entire time. I never wanted to leave the studio!

When I film dancers, I feel myself dancing with them, and it is one of the best feelings in the world!

What guides you when you edit these short videos?

When I edit, the most important thing to me is that the feeling you get from watching the video is the same feeling as actually being in the studio. I try to stay as true to reality as possible.
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Can you share with us your favorite bit of insight you heard throughout the residency, whether it was from Miguel, the dancers, your mentor Gerrit, or anyone else?

What really stuck with me was Miguel’s point about finding yourself and being yourself. So much of the time we are “acting” or “pretending,” instead of just being. I found that to be true of life outside the studio as well, and I think anyone would benefit from searching for his or her true self. This was an inspiring process that has definitely made me think about the world a bit differently now.

Thanks for all you’ve done for us, Kendra! Watch Kendra’s documentation of Instituto in the two videos below:

 

 

 

And check out her other work on her dance-film reel here.

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