I cannot believe I am saying this...but "Embodying Emily", a dance film is FINISHED! So many hours of editing with the most patient cinematographer went into the final stages. And by golly we finished it! So what does this mean? It means several different things.
First, I'll be submitting the film into film festivals and competitions across the US and internationally. There are many different rules per film festival so I'll be weeding through the details and figuring out the ends and outs for the next few months. Then, pending film festival submissions, I'll be premiering the film to the public both as a virtual gallery piece and as an educational platform (contact me if you want a viewing of "Embodying Emily" with a feedback session in your school or classroom!). I can't wait for these next steps to materialize!
This has been a lovely journey of hard work, dedication, and the best experiences with some pretty incredible artists. I cannot wait to do this again (yup, this is happening again...stay tuned!!). And I cannot wait to continue sharing dance with you!
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Stay safe, stay healthy, and keep dancing...
My least favorite part, the fundraising, is over. We raised enough funds to pay for the editing process. And! I received an Advancing the Arts grant from the Arts Council of the Valley in support of this film. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for this extra support. It helped push us to the end of part II of the fundraising process. Although there are still some funds to be raised, I am excited to move forward and get a sneak peak ready for you. I. Cannot. Wait.
We've already begun going through some of the footage and I've upgraded the sound quality of the music track. I've relocated to NYC for a change of scenery and to keep my energy moving. We are working out the kinks of a virtual premiere and then I can start submitting to film festivals all over the country and the world. It's exciting to create art. It's more exciting to share it. Thank you for joining me on this journey. And stay tuned! The finished product is coming...
Photo Cred: Katie Schmid of "The Commoneer"
And we have launched the second round of fundraising! It took a minute to navigate the ins and outs of fiscal sponsorship but Fractured Atlas has been a huge support and I am so pleased I made it to this step. With this sponsorship, your donation is tax deductible and I can apply for artist grants. My goal is to raise $4200 from my audience members in 31 days (the month of October). Are you wondering what to do with your budget for live performances and movies? Invest it into the performing artists who are trying to keep up their craft to once again bring you those live shows and high-quality movies when it is deemed safe for performers and audience members. Will you help "Embodying Emily", a dance film, become a reality? Will you be a part of keeping dance alive?
Click the donation link above to make your contribution! Your donation will go towards paying the team of five artists who have shared their unique crafts in developing Emily Dickinson's body of writing and poetry into movement. Once post-production work is complete, we look forward to sharing our brand new film with you. Stay tuned on more details on our premiere (and don't forget to check the updates tab for news on the progress!).
I'm fiscally sponsored! Well, I'm not. But "Embodying Emily" is! That means all donations will be tax deductible and I'm now eligible to apply for artists grants. That's huge! I am full of happiness and glee. Thank you, Fractured Atlas, for your support and sponsorship.
So. Now what? The choreography is complete, the rehearsals have ceased, the recording of music commenced, the filming has occurred, the costume has been cleaned. Now what?
Now the post-production work happens. First up, fundraising. We need $4,175 to finish paying the artists for their many hours of work (we are $675 short of our first round and 2.5 artists have been paid). You can donate by clicking the donate link about. My part II fundraising campaign will launch as soon as it's approved.
And while that fundraising is happening? What then? We edit. We splice, color correct, line up the music, weed out the dead cuts. We add in the audio and sound effects, we triple check the piano track alignment, we add in shots of text. Then? We create a trailer and take stills for promotion materials and we advertise the film release. We find our audience members in the midst of a Pandemic. And then? We premiere! We invite our donors, contributors, and collaborators. We celebrate the hard work. And we open it to the public.
And then? Then we enter it into film festivals, fringe festivals, dance festivals, poetry festivals. We develop an educational workshop on dance and mixed media. We ask museums and art galleries for a spot to show our work. And then?
And then. Then we start the next project...
My first round of fundraising completed yesterday with a total of $2,000 raised. I am amazed and humbled by the many contributors and audience members who have expressed interest in this project and who have invested in the work with their time and their funds. Fundraising is never an easy task for me, especially when the entire world is in a period of crisis. But I believe that the arts are important, that they elevate us humans, and that they must continue, especially now. And clearly I am not the only one who feels that way.
I am continuing to raise funds as my budget for the film has not shifted. We have enough to start the filming but we still have some artists to pay and much work to be done in post-production that includes hours of editing and film festival submissions. $2,000 raised, $4,500 to go. Keeping dance alive is and will be hard work. But it always pays off.
The costumes have all arrived, the piano is being mended, the choreography is complete (well...there will always be edits until the filming has completed), the structured feedback has occurred, the artists have met one last time at the gathering table, figuratively speaking because #Pandemic--we are ready to rumble. Let's create a dance film!
The costume arrived this week from New York and let's just say it is perfection. It was everything I hoped it would be and more. Now the real work begins: doing the choreography with said costume. It definitely changes things a bit but boy does it move well with my turns in and out of the ground. Yes, ground, because remember this film will be shot outside, in the woods, with all the bugs, dirt, leaves that inevitably begin to fall as autumn approaches.
Being forced out of a dance studio indefinitely and not dancing with all of my friends, colleagues--my dance family--has been heart-wrenching and sometimes unbearable. We had a way of building each other up, encouraging each other, cheering each other on when we booked that big gig. It is tough not knowing when I'll be back in a studio dancing real time, safely (even in a mask) and not through my computer via Zoom or Instagram Live. But being in a mask in a studio with ONE dancer, socially-distanced in the space, has been a glimmer of hope. We will make it through this time. There is another side and we will get there. This film is a light in this dark, unknown hiatus away from the stage.
So that being said, the film date is set (September 15), the choreography is almost complete, the shot-by-shot screenplay is coming together, the dress rehearsal is scheduled. It's all coming together. Who knew that performing artists would still create even when their futures are so uncertain. Well, performing artists knew. We're pretty resilient. We may not be on a big stage or in a studio anytime soon but we can't stop moving and grooving.
We are 11 days into the first half of our fundraiser and have 22% of the funds raised. I cannot thank my friends, family, and supporters enough for their thoughtfulness and kindness during a Pandemic...with a capital "P." We are all in this uncertainty together but it seems people are coming together to support artists and performing arts as a whole. So from the bottom of my heart, from the deepest part of my being, Thank You. It's all coming together because of you.
And we're off! I have been in the rehearsal process for this film since March--plan, schedule rehearsal, don't forget mask, improv, choreograph, dance, repeat. I am finally in the stages where the hard work starts to pay off: the performance. Or in this case, the filming.
At this stage I'm used to preparing myself for an audience that will breathe with me, be moved with me. But this time I will have the trees and my movement, skinning my knees and dirtying my costume.
So join me on this journey! Support me and four other artists who have lost work in the chaos of the pandemic. Let's keep dance alive.
Follow this link to my Indiegogo campaign.
I am pleased to announce that I am back in the dancer’s saddle choreographing a new work after months of trying to figure where my career is going in this time of COVID-19. Where is my career going you might ask? Nowhere...as in I will not be changing it anytime soon. Yes, being a dancer and choreographer is tough when you cannot bring your audiences together to experience the art of dance. Yes, it is tough not being able to jump into class in a studio with beautiful sprung floors, with your friends feeding you the energy needed for that one last shot at the combination. But also yes, it is enjoyable to pour a cup of coffee between barre exercises as I take ballet in my kitchen via Zoom. And frankly, I'm just so glad I can continue dancing while cooped up at home. I always feel better when I’m dancing.
And so I’m back! And not only is it a new work but a new medium: a dance film. I am charting new territory here but I have an amazing team of artists that are contributing to this project.
Joy Weaver: Musician
Josh Gooden: Videographer, Editor
Emily Marsh: Rehearsal Assistant, Assistant Director
Erica Johnston: Costume Design
This dance film, titled “Embodying Emily: Death and Letters” is inspired by the poems and letters written by Emily Dickinson. It is a creative imagining of a moment of self-reflection and illumination by Dickinson. The choreography explores her thoughts and emotions expressed in her poems, letters, and conversations. Particular emphasis is given to examining how her emotional state, heightened intellect and clarity of mind, and purported mental illness intersected in an overwhelming and powerful way.
Keep following this blog for updates on our rehearsal process and progress, filming, and post-film work! And be on the lookout for an Indiegogo campaign so that you can contribute as an audience member and support artists in a time of great uncertainty.
What is "Embodying Emily?"
Ellie de Waal
Ellie de Waal is a dancer and chroeographer primarily based in Virginia and NYC. Her works have been adjudicated and selected for several festivals including the Richmond Dance Festival in 2016. Her skill set as a choreographer has been sought out by universities, studios, and companies for both concert dance and musical productions, including "Beauty and the Beast" and "Shrek the Musical". She also choreographed an opera “Still More/More Still” in collaboration with composer Anna Heflin and coloratura soprano Melissa McCann as part of a song cycle reawakening. She was a primary choreographer in concorDance Contemporary for two major projects and has presented choreography in 12 shows put on by the Harrisonburg Dance Cooperative, where she continues to present work.