Crimson Coast Dance

April 9, 2021: CLOSE-UP: THE MICROSCOPIC CHOREOGRAPHY by Geneviève Johnson

(Opening, photos & edit by Genevieve Johnson)

Close-Up Choreography: The Dancing Cells and Fibers

The body is often seen as the subject of the dance.
With a different point of view, it can also become the location of the dance.

  • My whole body can move in the landscape of a field through out the trees and tall grass.
  • A much closer point of view creates a fragmented body where each part can be the subject of a dance within the stage of the body.

my shoulder blade, the scapula bone,
can dance in the landscape of the back
within the rhomboids and trapezoid muscles,
oscillating like a wing over the heart,
wrapping with flutters around the ribcage…

This is a dance of the close-up.

Another microscopic dance. This time, not the inner energetic movement of the imagination but a concrete dance in the physical landscape of the body put under a magnifying glass.

(Waves, photos & edit by Genevieve Johnson)

In live performance, this close-up can happen in very small venues and settings with very few spectators allowed to sit very close to the performers.

(For example: Serpentine – choreographed by Daina Ashbee, performed by Areli Moran, presented by CCD – where spectators were on stage with the dancer, their eyes dissecting her body, with each fragment performing a dance within the body itself.)

This type of performance – even not in time of COVID – is rare because of the high level of intimacy and vulnerability it requires.

 Close-up is the strength of the camera –  in still photography and video.

Through a deterritorialization of the body parts,
the camera close-up allows the reterritorialization of the dance
on the smaller scale of the body, creating an immensity illusion.

A choreography of the dancing cells and fibers emerges,
creating a whole new world from the changed perspective.

Constellation Lady, collage      –          Worms Nest, photos & edit         by Genevieve Johnson

Fragmentation & Reversibility of Poetry

Like in poetry, this fragmentation allows one thing to become another … things to be borrowed, exchanged, shared, reversed, layered, in order to transform and rebuild surprising new meanings.

This type of Dance on Film or Photography is a type of poetry of the objects.
It is what Maya Deren called the Vertical Film (as opposed to the Horizontal Film which we are used to):

  • Where the How is more important than the What
  • Where sensations and impressions are more important than sequences of plausible actions
  • Where there is a co-habitation of extremes – complete stillness and extreme motion

(Erin Brannigan explains it very well in her book DanceFilm: Choreography and the Moving Image, 2011, Oxford University Press)

(Mute Series, photos & edit by Genevieve Johnson)

Scar: Choreography of Healing

What I look for and am attracted to in arts, in nature, in life… are

  • the unusual
  • the different
  • the broken
  • the imperfect
  • the wabi-sabi

The uniqueness of each and everyone thing…

(Wound Series, photos & edit by Genevieve Johnson)

Some would be horrified by the railroad of my scar:
I am fascinated by it.
I love how it tells a part of my story.
A story that is unfolding in the present, here and now.
I am getting to know it:
sometime with fear,
other time with questioning,
most time with curiosity.

(Railroad Series, photos & editing by Genevieve Johnson)

The close-up on scars in human bodies, living creatures, elements of nature…
that society (often) describe as “imperfection or ugliness”
allow me to investigate deeper the beauty of the living.
An investigation of the body through the body;
through the living movement of atoms, cells, fibers, muscles, bones…

Scar: The Microscopic Dance of Healing

Music: Guillaume Nagy
Performance, camera, editing: Genevieve Johnson