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Interactive video lesson plan for: Twin Shadow Dance

Activity overview:

An artist called Edwin Li approached me about performing for a public festival in Newcastle. The full performance was about twenty-five minutes and here you see a condensed version. I and my partner Cat Foley danced in a very small space on concrete blocks in front of one half of a translucent screen that was divided into two down the centre. A light on us threw our shadow onto our half of the screen, and a camera on the other side of this recorded it and passed the image to a projector, which projected a reversed version of the shadow on the other half of the screen.

Unfortunately, a few things went wrong. The local public took delight in walking in front of the cameras and the lights, so the full performance is marred by numerous passers-by blocking out the images. Also, the recording of the information sent to the projector got mangled somehow. This video you see here I put together using editing software. I took usable bits of footage from one screen, and then flipped them round and put them on the other side. One advantage of this is that I was able to remove the central vertical divider, which means that the shadows can touch each other in the middle, and make interesting Rorschach patterns. The footage I had to work with was a shot taken from the same side that we were dancing on, though, so whenever we strayed across the central boundary, you can here see glimpses of our real selves.

I am dancing to some of my favourite swing music, which I chose for the occasion. Gene Harris (Captain Bill), Junior Mance (Blue Mance), Lincoln Centre Jazz Orchestra (C Jam Blues), Tommy Dorsey (Swinging on Nothing), Count Basie (Jeep Jockey Jump), and Casey MacGill and the Spirits of Rhythm (Rhythm).

I'm not entirely sure of the temperature, but I think it was about minus six centigrade.

Tagged under: dance,shadow,lloyd,swing,lindy,hop,screen,rorschach,ink,blot,symmetry,breath,junior,mance,blue,basie,dorsey,rhythm,jam

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