Director Corydon Wagner bands together with notable NYC choreographers to make visions of movement come to life in new five-part series
Design-led content creation studio Ataboy is celebrating the art of dance on film by collaborating with Brooklyn-based gallery Art Cake to create a series of dance videos highlighting the standout work from their 2020 inaugural season. The series, helmed by Ataboy director Corydon Wagner, features work from noted choreographers Catherine Kirk, Eva Alt, Adam Barruch, Chelsea Bonosky, and Morgan Griffin.
Each choreographer’s work is showcased within their own short film, allowing the individual artists and dancers to approach their video with a unique sense of purpose and storytelling. Alt’s piece, entitled “Scene 1: Classicism Unraveled” is a deconstructed take on classical dance structure, while Barruch and Bonosky’s collaboration “Hidden Anatomies” is a raw, visceral, abstract take on a relationship. The movements in Griffin’s “Details of a sequence” and “A Brief Dissolve” (which includes a motion tracking technique) are meant to feel new and explorative, while Kirk’s piece “Ties to Leisure” has a more personal, almost introspective tone.
“I’m no dance expert, but it was clear to me from day one that each dancer approached their craft with a kind of purpose and story that was true to who they were,” Wagner explains. “In contrast, filmmaking is a loud, messy, and chaotic animal. I didn’t want us to barge in and alter the meaning of the dancers’ work. In some sense, I knew that this was inevitable, but it was important to me to land at a place that felt right for both the choreographer and the filmmaker. In the end, you have to build trust and foster a spirit of collaboration, and I’m happy to say we landed on five films that explore visual themes and movement in a way that made us all proud.”
For “Hidden Anatomies,” Wagner implemented a technique known as data moshing or the process of manipulating the data of media files in order to achieve visual or auditory effects when the file is decoded. To capture the movement of each dance itself, Wagner relied on a combination of the Alexa Mini for its clean image and the Steadicam for a smooth camera feeling, enhanced by the use of a Cooke 12mm lens. Inspired by Art Cake’s interior space, the combination of these visual ingredients yielded a bold, unique look for each film.
All five dance videos were shot on location at Art Cake in one day. With such a tight schedule, Wagner worked with each dancer separately prior to shooting to understand their intent and before mapping out a concise plan for production. No stranger to capturing the art of dance on film, Wagner embraced a more in-the-moment, live performance-esque style of filmmaking rather than a meticulously sketched-out commercial style to create the series. “It may have looked like solo dances,” Wagner continues, “but behind the scenes, it was very much a duet between the dancer and our camera team. We were given full creative freedom by Art Cake Executive Director Marina Gluckman, and the collaborative spirit of the whole experience was like a dream.”
Ataboy Founder and Creative Director Vikkal Parikh notes that the series is emblematic of the studio’s commitment to finding interesting and impactful narratives within the greater arts community. “This project is a bold expression of self, created without a client brief,” Parikh explains. “When working directly with a brand, we’re tasked with the challenge of telling an interesting story without relying on a traditional script or storyboards. We develop the brief and create content that keeps the audience enthused and engaged, and it’s something we’re incredibly proud to be able to do.”
The dance video series premiered on Thursday, June 10, 2021 at the Art Cake gallery at 214 40th St, Brooklyn, NY 11232.
Hardware and Software Tools / Platforms:
Arri Alexa Mini, SteadiCam, Adobe Premiere, and Adobe After Effects
Director: Corydon Wagner / Instagram: @corydon4
Producer: Chris Kubik
Production Company: Ataboy Studios
Director of Photography: Henry Zaballos
SteadiCam Operator: Geoffrey Jean-Baptiste
Post Teams: Editor for Hidden Anatomies (Adam Barruch and Chelsea Bonosky) and Ties to Leisure (Catherine Kirk): Shai Ben-Dor
VFX for Hidden Anatomies (Adam Barruch and Chelsea Bonosky): Tim Marchant
Editor for A Brief Dissolve and Details of a sequence (Morgan Griffin) and Scene 1: Classicism Unraveled (Eva Alt): Nicolas Sessler
VFX for A Brief Dissolve (Morgan Griffin): Perry Kroll
With strong emphasis on visual storytelling, Ataboy crafts rich experiences combining animation, live action, and motion design. By fostering great ideas into impactful pieces of bite-sized content, we are committed to creating captivating narratives that engage and entertain our audiences.