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.
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.