Heidi Latsky is the first of three choreographers to be selected to participate in Peak Performances’ newly launched “Dance for Film on Location at Montclair State University,” a three and a half year project underwritten by a $450,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The announcement was made today (date) by Jedediah Wheeler, who heads the avant-garde presenting organization.
“One of the exciting aspects of this project is that the camera will not be used as a tool to document a performance, but rather as a collaborator to create a dance especially for film,” said Mr. Wheeler. “The choreographer and the cinematographer will work as artistic co-pilots. The resulting films, 10-15 minutes in length, will be available both for live audiences and on-demand through digital recordings.”
Ms. Latsky’s film, which has the working title “The Beauty of Difference: Redefining Virtuosity through Dance,” will portray unexpected bodies in beautiful ways designed to call attention to their unique attributes. “What you may not think as beautiful, I’m going to show that it is,” said Ms. Latsky, who has gained great attention for her choreography with unlikely dancers.
One of the appeals of working with film, she says, is its ability to draw attention to details that cannot be seen from stage. She wants to play with ideas of what is seen and what is not seen, giving a more edgy, sexy and intimate look at the dancers.
Each of the selected choreographers and their chosen cinematographers will have a year’s residency on the Montclair State University campus. In addition to the funds to create the film, the choreographers will each be given an engagement during the Peak Performances season, where their films will be premiered, along with live repertory. Each choreographer will also receive a separate $25,000 commission fee for the creation of the work.
A documentary following the filmmaking process of each of the artists will also be made and then distributed through MSU’s iTunes U site. “It is another attempt on our part to bring dance to as wide an audience as possible, and to inspire students to think in new ways,” said Mr. Wheeler. Peak Performances’ most recent venture into film was the 3-D recording and release of Bill T. Jones’s “Story/Time,” which was originally commissioned by Peak and staged live at MSU’s Alexander Kasser Theater in January, 2012. In another pioneering film project, Peak commissioned choreographer Susan Marshall to create “Frame Dances,” a series of short dances designed for smart phone screens in 2011.