Hannah Talks About The Point Summer School
Hannah talks about her experiences with choreographing during Summer School at The Point...
On the 20th of August, Christian, Nadenh, Cherie and I travelled to Eastleigh to do a workshop with The Point Summer School Youth Group for a week. I based it on the idea of a black and white silent film which we see small scenarios from Laurel and Hardy, Charlie Chaplin, Calling Albrecht and The Last Resort. I got inspired by the body language the actors use in their clips.
In the course of the week, I had Christian who played the leader of the group, Cherie as a support, Nadenh who composed the music and Dani Campion as the filmmaker. My idea of a track I used was inspired by a Charlie Chaplin silent film called ‘The Lion’s Cage.’ I really liked the idea what the track had because it came across comedy like. I really liked the track but Nadenh had to slightly compose a another track on top of it so it could sound the same. I also added some sound effects which were a ringing phone, a yawn, children giggling, sounds at a park, sounds in a city and a moment of a falling prop.
In Calling Albrecht clip, I got inspired by this man who couldn’t stop walking and moving about. What I liked about this clip is that I wanted the group to portray the students who were helping this man who couldn’t stop moving. The other clip I also used was The Last Resort who had a man walking around who senses the audience to stop and to move. He also leads these small groups to different areas in the space and they follow him. It was this that I wanted Christian to portray and so I wanted him to not stop moving and leads the group to different areas in the room.
On day one, I asked them to improvise the idea on how to sit in a comfortable way in front of a tv; this was started with the idea of being bored. It was this that I wanted them to focus on their hands such as playing with their hair, sipping a cup of tea or playing on their phone. They had to repeat it until Christian stops them from moving and moves them to a corner with a stamp of his foot. When we came across filming in the afternoon, we did some close ups on our facial expressions, our hands and our sitting positions. We did a long shot on the ending cue where Christian walks towards a corner and in the formation they were in at the beginning and at the end.
On day two, I really liked the idea of Laurel and Hardy’s ‘Busy Bodies’ title. It was because I wanted the group to draw and make a mindmap that reminds us of what London Waterloo train station looks like in action. On this day, they had to walk their own journeys as solos and duets. In this task, I wanted them to choose a feeling card and a body part for example Christian used his shoulders and his back for ‘cold’ and ‘sleepy’. He had to use this to travel to his stop in a dance-y gestural way. In the afternoon, we focused on close ups and long shots at the same time. The closeups were focusing on their facial and body expressions, pathways and their body part shapes. We also did a closeup on the clump where the group is behind Christian and they show us their gestures. The long-shots we use were on separate pathways and the clump at the end.
On day three, I really liked the idea of a section in ‘Night at the Theatre’ where they all sat at a chair. I liked the idea of them swapping chairs with another people, this was done in twos and threes for example Christian swaps and takes Cherie’s chair. Then the line of chairs slowly disappear until we see two of them. Here, I asked them to make a duet based on the idea of playing with a newspaper or a magazine. I wanted these duets to come up with some gestures for e.g. to blow your nose, to sleep on it and so they made it big and abstract. It finishes with a handshake from Christian and Cherie, they get stuck and it explodes out. This afternoon, we did a long-shot on the group and the chairs they sat on. Then, we did a couple of closeups on the duets where the focus is on facial expressions, the shapes they made and their pathways to and from the chairs. The handshake and their movement that shifts them back was filmed as a closeup and a long-shot when the two of them break apart.
On day four, I got inspired by Laurel and Hardy’s ‘Why Didn’t You Tell Me You Had 2 Legs?’ and it had a section where one of them is restricting the other. Once I saw this, I really liked the fact that you’re not allowed to use your hands. I wanted them to find a way to pick up a piece of clothing from the floor. I really liked what Anna’s and Christian’s group did with this because Anna’s group had pauses and Christian had Ashley and Michael to lean on each other which helped him to not use his hands. We finished the day with a formation I choreographed where they all melt down to the floor; it was this where we see them watching telly again. It turns off by a finger press from Sarah who ends the film. In the afternoon, we did a few closeups on the two trios where the focus were the shapes, the prop they used and the different body parts they had to pick up their item of clothing. We also did a closeup on the group that shifts forward and also with Christian who was weaving in and out of the clump. We also did a close up on the group who melted down to the floor and a long-shot that sees the whole formation. Also, we had a long-shot and a closeup on Christian’s face and his click which reversed back to the beginning.
On day 5 we shared the work we had created in the week, Christian led the group where we focused on a phrase we’ve been doing in class each day. This phrase involves hands, pathways, folding, unfolding, push and pulls. Just before the sharing, they showed this as a curtain raiser for the film. I felt the sharing went well and received lovely feedback. At the beginning of the week, I did feel nervous as this is my first choreographic piece that I did with a community group. I knew it would be challenge but I’ve learnt a lot about the group, the filming and to be open to new ideas they gave me as a group. I also learnt that it can be nerve-wracking and stressful because I only had four days to make a short film before the sharing we did on Friday. Now, I feel so happy and relieved that my video is now online for the group and for everyone to see. I enjoyed it very much and as much as I love choreographing this group, I would love to choreograph again very soon.