Video Critique of ‘Attraction’ by Shadow Theatre Group and ‘Love

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Video Critique of ‘Attraction’ by Shadow Theatre Group and ‘Love in the dark’ by Kyle Hanagami

Dancing improves the brain function through blending cerebral and cognitive processes, which enhances balance and enhance psychological wellbeing (Burzynska et al.). Brain function enhancement benefits the dancers while on the other hand, the audience gets inspiration through the storyline and messages passed by the choreography. The basis for the motivation may be on the storyline, movements, costumes and stage design. Using ‘Attraction by shadow theatre group’ and ‘love in the dark choreography by Kyle Hanagami’, the stage factors are differentiated, especially on the movements and storyline. Attraction displays the life and family of an individual to his death through a slow dance. Love in the dark by Kyle Hanagami displays dances by two individuals in turns, while the others are in the background. Comparison of the two choreographic works bases on the stage design, visual and audio aspects and also the dancer’s characters. Each work is creative due to various factors, but attraction by shadow theatre group is exceptionally excellent.

Attraction by shadow theatre group is a choreographic work performed by eight dancers and based on a story. A shadow is used to display the is much attractive as objects and buildings are performance seen by the audience. As the video starts, the dancers make a Stonehenge, showing how two individuals meet at a prehistoric site. The two individuals fall in love, and later in the video, they wed at a church. The dancers’ shadow also displays the church. After they get a child, the man travels abroad and again; an aeroplane is a portrait on the stage. It is impressive how these dancers get together, arrange themselves and create an object from their shadow, which gives a visual experience of the story made. This act and movements make the work unique and outstanding.

Also, the video starts with a happy mood, as the characters meet, wed and even get a child. It then turns to a sad feeling when the man leaves to fight in an army and dies. The theme and storyline are well-developed as every individual in the audience can easily understand the story. The sad theme is felt by the audience and some end up shedding tears when the love story ends with the death of the man, leaving the wife and daughter. The work paints a picture in the audience mind and gives the impression that life is short, and one’s happiness may end at any time through a tragedy. I liked the work due to the simple understanding of the story it gives to the audience.

Love in the dark by Kyle Hanagami is also a choreography on love. As the name suggests, the performance of the work was in a dark place with each dancer holding a light source. The flickering of the light sources gives a sense of hidden love from the public. As some of them go on, the others go off, meaning the love has to stay in the dark. This light source is used as a prop to convey ideas or feeling; in this case, the love between two characters. Also, the movements of the dancers with jumping, spinning and leaping throughout the video is appealing. Usually, when one spins, it is easy to get dizzy, but for the dancers, they are more flexible and stable to stand and continue with the moves. This act encourages one to try such steps and give out their best.

However, In the performance by Shadow theatre group, the fact that one could not see the moves and steps done to create the images displayed in the shadow is unappealing. The images generate curiosity and questions that are not answered or addressed by the end of the viewing. Also, in Kyles love in the darkness, the storyline is not clear, and the audience cannot easily read and follow through it. It displays the art of dance and talent more than the story it conveys to the audience. Integrating the stage design and body movements creates a storyline that can be understood by the audience (Lock and Robertson). Besides, the stage arrangement does not display the theme of the performance, hence not attractive to the viewers.

The two videos, attraction by Shadow theatre and love in the dark by Kyle, both convey the theme of love. ‘Attraction’ gives a story of a love story to the end, starting with a happy mood and ending in a sad mood. On the other hand, love in the dark has a painful feeling all through the video. It tends to display two performers dancing in turns as the others deal with the lighting. In the end, the couple also goes into separate ways, and lights go off. They both have the same ending in a sad mood. Also, the choreographies convey both contemporary ballet and modern dances. These dance styles are shown through partner dancing in some parts of the videos and the use of bodyweight to enhance movements. Besides, music inspires the feeling of movement in listeners and viewers (Hannaford). The music used in the choreography works is slow, quiet and soothing, which blended well with the theme of the videos. These songs are love in the air by Adelle and Read all about it by Emeli Sande in Attraction.

The difference in the stage design of the performances is by visual elements such as the costume and lighting. In attraction, the stage is dimmer as the light is placed in the backstage, with a curtain that displays the dancers’ shadows. The shadow conveys the visual content of images and not the dancers themselves. The audience can not thoroughly explain the details of the actions of the dancers since it is not visible from the stage. In contrast, ‘love in the dark’ performance uses a prop, which is the lighting sources. It also conveys its message through the dancers’ moves. The dancers and movements are visible; hence, easy for the audience to explain details of steps. The costumes of the dancers in attraction is only depicted when showing the ladies, mother and daughter with dresses, while the rest of the dancers only convey the image. However, in Kyle’s love in the dark, the costume has a white and grey theme but not uniform. The stage design provides a proper context for the performances.

Choreographers may improve their work by creating the dances that convey a message or story to the viewers. A story considers floor patterns and maximizes the use of stage while displaying the visual design patterns created (Allsopp, and Lepecki). It also leaves a memory in the viewer’s mind, hence wishing to see more. It is also appealing to relate the stage design with the theme of the dance. Before the audience can understand the subject of the dance through movements, the stage design informs the viewer of what the dance is about. Knowledge of theme creates increases attention and concentration.

Choreographic videos convey ideas through the dancer’s movements, costumes and storyline, if any, depending on the aim of the performance. Attraction by Shadow theatre group shows a distinctive performance through the use of shadow to display the images and give its storyline. The attribute gives it a unique form that is not common with many choreographies shows. The second video, Love in the dark by Kyle shows dancers moves and is informative, especially for an audience with dance interest. As much as Kyle’s work is descriptive and displays various dance moves, the shadow group stood out due to its storyline that leaves one with an emotional state of sadness. A dance with an articulate storyline is more appealing and communicates feelings and ideas to the audience. A well-developed stage design gives an added advantage to the performance as it generates a vivid impression to the viewer, consequently creating an attachment.

Works Cited

Allsopp, Ric, and André Lepecki. “Editorial: On Choreography”. Performance Research, vol 13, no. 1, 2008, pp. 1-6. Informa UK Limited, doi:10.1080/13528160802465409. Accessed 6 Dec 2019.

Burzynska, Agnieszka Z. et al. “The Dancing Brain: Structural And Functional Signatures Of Expert Dance Training”. Frontiers In Human Neuroscience, vol 11, 2017. Frontiers Media SA, doi:10.3389/fnhum.2017.00566. Accessed 6 Dec 2019.

Hannaford, Carla. “Movement And Music: The Dance Of Life”. Perspectives: Journal Of The Early Childhood Music & Movement Association, vol 3, no. 1, 2008, pp. 4-8. Intellect, doi:10.1386/ijmec_0092_1.

Loke, Lian, and Toni Robertson. “Design Representations Of Moving Bodies For Interactive, Motion-Sensing Spaces”. International Journal Of Human-Computer Studies, vol 67, no. 4, 2009, pp. 394-410. Elsevier BV, doi:10.1016/j.ijhcs.2008.11.003.

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