What was your background before coming to study at LCDS? Why did you decide to study Screendance?
Before LCDS I studied Illustration at Brighton University, working mostly in print, painting and photography. In my final year I started looking more at communicating through moving image and found my love for editing and constructing narrative through film. When I read up about the screendance course I was immediately drawn to the possibility of expanding my creative practice through the lens of dance on film and pushing myself in a new direction through choreographing both the movements of the camera and those I film.
Tells us a little bit about what happened since you graduated.
COVID! Graduating felt a bit of an anti-climax as it pales in significance compared with a global pandemic. For a long time I was furloughed from my job at a cinema which I started whilst studying for my masters, but as the world started to return to normality I began searching for something a bit more creative and landed a job as a filmmaker at the Royal Opera House which I am currently doing and enjoying thoroughly. My partner and I are setting up a video production company and looking into getting a business loan and I’m investing more time into freelance work and writing my own screenplay, so it feels like there’s quite a lot going on right now in contrast to this time last year!
What did you take away from your Masters? What lessons have you carried with you?
There are so many things I have taken away from this course, it is hard to recount exact examples. I would say I have a much more refined and sensitive approach to working, finding myself analysing what I’m doing, why I am doing it and when to make certain things happen with an increased awareness of the relationship to the viewer and the effect the viewed material can have. We had the privilege of working with incredible screendance makers and getting feedback from them was an invaluable experience; their words continue to influence my decisions in filmmaking now. Furthermore, our amazing course leader Gabi and my other brilliant classmates, who I learnt so much from, were also vital to understanding my own practice.
I think crits are probably the most useful aspect of any artist's progression. At the end of a project we would sit and watch each other’s work and then openly talk to each other about it. Although it can be quite daunting, this process is incredibly beneficial. For one, just watching your own work in front of others suddenly changes the way you as the filmmaker views it. And then understanding the effect your work can have on another, or lack of effect, or confusion, hatred, sadness…anything and everything is useful for understanding what it is you are trying to create.
What are your hopes for the Screendance community? What will it look like to be a Screendance artist in the future?
I think the pandemic has already dramatically changed the way screendance is viewed, as suddenly everyone has been forced to create it. I would love to see more directors collaborating with choreographers on bigger productions to bring screendance more into the mainstream (although I also love that no one ever knows what I’m talking about when I mention it).
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about studying Screendance but feels unsure?
Do it! Although half of our course was taught through lockdown I still feel that the lessons I learnt from it have been invaluable, perhaps more than I could have anticipated even at the time. As someone who had no experience of dancing prior to the course, it was amazing just to be in a building surrounded by dancers. It’s a very exciting place and I was suddenly filled with new ideas and possibilities as I understood more about the artform. Honestly I can’t see any reason not to (apart from the massive fees but who can pay back student loans anyway)!