Translate

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Erica Russell "Feet of Song"



Erica Russell has no peer when it comes to animated choreography. Feet of Song was her first dance film made in 1989 for Channel 4. It was also the first film made by her then studio, Eyeworks. She describes the film as a celebration of African Dance and certainly composer and musical director Charlie Hart has done her proud with a music soundtrack that is resplendent in African and South American melodies and rhythms. Feet of Song essentially rejoices in dancers, performing solo, in pairs or small groups. They are highlighted or silhouetted against changing backdrops. The dance has moments of passion and courtship, sometimes pure joy. One moment the dancer is a bird parading for his mate, the next the single slash for arms or wings is transformed effortlessly to waves in the ocean. Always there is the fluidity of movement that is Erica's trademark, allied to her skill as artist and sculptor reflected in the sumptuous use of colour or the pared down lines. This economic use of her brush, or air brush, is another trademark. She does not waste paint. Her figures have two colours, one bold for definition or highlight, the other, chosen from a softer palette acting as a foil; often the combination of colours is unexpected but works wonderfully well. And always there is the music and the choreography, the dancers in overt courtship or synchronised in sequence routines. There is a strength to the figures too, the men unmistakably male through the strength of their torso, the women lithe, a perfect counterpoise. At times the movement is of their constituent parts alone, abstract slashes of colour, again in equilibrium. I have written equally enthusiastically on Erica's Oscar nominated Triangle. I can't think off hand of a more vibrant or dynamic animator. As a footnote, if you want to see an artist at work in the world of advertising retaining integrity and oozing quality look at this offering for Levi women's jeans: Sensual is so hot it makes one want to get into them, so to speak.

No comments: