Within Her Eyes

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Choreographer, Company, Date of first performance,

Choreographer: James cousins.

Company: James Cousins company, founded in 2014 by James and Creative Producer Francesca Moseley. 

Date of first performance: February 2016 (launch of Within Her Eyes) 7th September 2012 (date of first performance of There We Have Been).

Dance style: Contemporary / contact work.

THE DANCE IS SITE SENSITIVE.

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Choreographic approach

Choreographic approach:

The film uses the choreography from the stage production There We Have Been and sets it outdoors in a bleak landscape. The original choreography had two starting points; narrative and emotional themes and the physical idea of keeping the female dancer off the floor. The movement was created in collaboration with the dancers through improvisation, which was all filmed and then learnt back from the video. James then pieced these segments together into a structure that reflected the narrative arc of the story.

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Stimulus

Stimulus:

For the dance James wanted to create a love story with a twist. Inspired by personal experiences and well known narratives, He wanted a narrative with the themes of love and loss, dependency and loyalty, longing and memory. Rather than a normal love story where, despite the bumpy road, the characters end up together; he wanted to  a story where, no matter what happened, they could never be together. 

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Choreographic intention

Choreographic intention:

The intention behind Within Her Eyes was to create a dance film that maintained the emotional intensity and  energy of the live stage performance of There We Have Been and to portray an abstract tragic love story that is open for interpretation.

The female dancer is constantly reaching, wrapping, balancing and falling on and around the male dancer. The choreography contrasts the folding in to him with the pulling away to highlight the pull she feels to her late lover whilst trying to allow herself to move on with the man who cares so much for her.

The male dancer never manipulates, he only responds to her moves, showing his devotion to her. He needs her as much as she needs him.

The mood is very emotional. Intensity is also created by having the dancers perform in complete contact, totally dependent on each other, with the female dancer never once touching the floor throughout the duet. This creates a very unique vocabulary and style both physically and emotionally.

The duet combines both t physicality with a dark, emotional meaning, creating a intimate work that both moves audiences emotionally and inspires with its physicality.

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Dancers, Duration and Structure

Dancers: 2 (1 male /1 female).

Duration: 17 minutes

Structure: It starts with a prologue followed by 6 sections, defined by changing locations, physicality and music that reflect the developing relationship. The overall effect is one journey.

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Aural setting and Costume

Aural setting: a composition created specifically for the work, which was created by composer Seymour Milton in collaboration with James. The music combines electronic elements with strings and piano creating a emotive accompaniment that blends with the choreography, flowing as one.

Costume:Costumes are everyday clothes. The female dancer wears a shirt and skirt, the male dancer  jumper and jeans. The darkness of his costume contrasted with the lightness of hers adds to the lifts in the dance. The darkness of his costume links him to the earth whereas the lightness of her costume gives her a more delicate feel.

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Lighting and Staging/set

Lighting: The film uses only the natural light of the environment. There is a development from daytime to evening into night to show the passage of time of the relationship. The darker setting towards the end of the duet also adds to the intensity of the final section.

Staging/set:The film is set in remote locations to give the feeling of isolation and highlight the characters separation from society. The locations progress from very open landscapes to more intimate settings to show a passage of time and to reflect their relationship getting more intimate and restricted as it progresses.

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Performance environment

Performance environment:Site sensitive; dance for camera. Filmed by Scratch. The film is shot to reflect the dark atmosphere of the inspiration. After the prologue the camera starts very far away from the dancers giving the feeling that they are completely isolated and in their own world; the viewer is a observer. Gradually as the dancers’ relationship grows closer, the camera moves in closer but still keeps distance until the first time the dancers look at each other when it moves right in to close up on their faces. The majority of the film is shot with the camera on a track, giving a very smooth quality. For the penultimate section it switches to a hand held camera giving a much more raw and unstable feeling reflecting the female character’s emotional state.

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