production
en pointe

from studio and stage to screen

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IF YOU WOULD'VE TOLD US 10 YEARS AGO

that we would be creating ballet content for the next 10 years, we would've said “you're crazy.” No way would we be lucky enough to shoot such a beautiful art form, one that every film school kid dreams of getting the opportunity to shoot, And to do it every year with world-class dancers? PINCH US. 

 

What has evolved over years of collaboration is a relationship so symbiotic, the rehearsal tower has become our second home. From humble beginnings, a small promo here and there, to a dance film produced in 2021 in collaboration with Choreographer Cathy Marston, we have had every opportunity to flex our creative muscles and learn a little about ballet along the way. 
 

hover over each image to get a glimpse into each year of production

STAGE TO

SCREEN

Cinematic Trailers

How do you tell the story of a ballet in 30-60 seconds? Adapt that story to the screen, of course! Understanding the plotline, the characters and what drives audiences to see the performance helps guide us to re-concept these beloved fables.

 

These trailers started humbly with an incredibly minimal crew and some very tight time constraints. However, working with The Joffrey Ballet, we wanted to show a really cool proof of concept. Once it was proven to work, we have been able to continue to push the limits of production each season.

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BEYOND

THE STAGE

'BERTHA' Film

‘BERTHA’ was a unique experience since we typically capture ballet intended for the stage. This was the first time we worked on something where film was the intended medium. 

 

We had the privilege of collaborating with the brilliant choreographer, Cathy Marston, who, prior to this, staged her piece, ‘Jane Eyre’ at The Joffrey Ballet. She had always wanted to explore the character of Bertha more and thus, the idea for this film was born. 

 

Working from Switzerland over Zoom, she collaborated with the Joffrey dancers to choreograph Bertha’s story in a single room. This included her reality of being trapped in a cold attic, interspersed with flashbacks and visions from her past. We scouted a location and provided dimensions, which were then taped off in the studio and they got to work. Meanwhile, we studied rehearsal films and started creating a shot list. 

 

The entire film was shot in one LONG day, with Cathy on Zoom through the night many timezones ahead of us. The result, a stunning extension to her staged work of ‘Jane Eyre.’ For now, enjoy the trailer. The film has been entered in a handful of festivals - and will be online shortly after any premieres (fingers crossed!).

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IN THE

STUDIO

Studio Performances

It goes without saying, 2020/21 was a weird time. But all of the challenges forced The Joffrey and us to get more creative than ever. Dancers had just returned to studios after nearly a year of training from home and it felt like things were getting back to normal. However, the next step would be performing in front of a live audience which was still not realistic. 

 

In an effort to bring ‘live’ dance back to their audience, they staged three ballets (‘Boléro,’ ‘Under the Trees Voices’ and ‘Swing Low’) in their rehearsal studio. The dancers pushed their bodies to the limits to prepare for the performance, the costume department hit the sewing machines, and the stage managers and lighting crew were back to put on a show! We studied rehearsal runs and worked with choreographers to identify critical moments of each piece, then positioned as many as five camera angles for each performance to capture the ballet as if you were on the stage with the dancers. 

 

Each piece premiered at a later date to a live audience who was overjoyed to have this art form in their living rooms. While it wasn’t the stage, it was an amazing chapter in creativity for the company. Fast forward to Fall 2021, and each of these pieces got their time in the spotlight in front of a live audience.

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BOLÉRO

Choreography: Yoshi Arai

The first of three Studio Performances we captured with the company was Boléro. A classic score, re-imagined by Joffrey Company Artist, Yoshi Arai, who made it his own. This was his first staged piece with the company and it kicked off the ‘digital season’ with a bang.

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STORIES FROM THE

STUDIO

Documentary Storytelling

Every ballet has a story to tell, and we are there to tell the story of the story. Much of that story comes from the hard work happening in the studio the people seldom bear witness to. We, however, are fortunate to see it all - sometimes starting from just a seedling of an idea into the fantastic spectacle that lands on the stage. In addition to shorter pieces, we have also documented some momentous things at The Joffrey, including the almost five-year creation of Christopher Wheeldon’s Nutcracker.