Assistant professor of theatre Joy Brooke Fairfield set out with a mission when she got to Rhodes two years ago: to add acting in video and film to both her intro- and advanced-level acting classes. She brought her idea to life, with the help of her students, by participating in an online international dance video project in collaboration with the Pina Bausch Foundation.
Pina Bausch, a German choreographer and modern dance performer, created the “NELKEN-Line,” a recurring sequence of movements first seen in her 1982 piece Nelken. The distinct gestures are meant to tell the story of the changing seasons.
According to the foundation, “The ‘lines’ are a recurring and characteristic element in many of Pina Bausch's pieces: sequences of movement with repetitive steps and gestures that the dancers perform standing in a long queue. They often proceed into the audience.”
Participants are encouraged to learn the choreography and submit a video of their dance online, which is exactly what Fairfield’s students did with the help of Darren Floyd, assistant professor of digital, video, and new media, and his Film and Experimental Video students. They teamed up with assistant professor of art Joel Parsons’ Performance Art students, who were learning about “reperformances” and the re-creation of historical art pieces in new, contemporary settings.
“It was a very fast, collaborative, improvisational process,” Fairfield explains. “We only had one meeting with the three classes all together before our shoot date. The students shot the whole thing in one hour and 15 minutes, with several different mini-crews, and it was edited over the course of a weekend.”
Fairfield says the experience allowed her students to explore post-modern choreography, while getting practice being “on set” and collaborating with other performers.
“We were proud of how well they worked together and how much authority they took over the project,” says Fairfield. “The students really took the lead on all the execution.”
The project is now featured on the Pina Bausch Foundation’s website. You can read more about it HERE.