When rising filmmaker, William Armstrong, contacted world-famous contemporary choreographer, Paul Lightfoot, about working together his timing could not have been more perfect. Lightfoot had lost his father just days before and was barred from being at his bedside because of Covid-19 policies prohibiting families from entering hospitals.
The contemporary piece, Unspoken, grew from their bonding over the realisation that they shared a desire to tell a story about the shift happening in the world and the feelings of those affected by the pandemic.
The project became a vehicle to process his grief, to reflect on what had been taken away, and to respond by creating something beautiful in its place.
Lightfoot set about choreographing entirely remotely from his home in The Netherlands with Sebastian Haynes, a dancer based in Denmark. During the six-week period, Armstrong recorded every conversation and rehearsal to interweave Lightfoot’s story with glimpses into the working relationship between a choreographer and dancer, in this case, Sebastian Haynes, a former soloist of The Royal Danish Ballet and a dancer at NDT1 until July this year. Composer, Alexander McKenzie, joined at the early stages to create original music for the film. The final performance was filmed on location at Grundtvig’s Kirken in Copenhagen, one of the city’s best-known churches built in 1927.
Unspoken is therefore a window into a contemporary choreographer interpreting his emotions into physical form powerful, a moving tribute to Lightfoot’s father and an example of creative possibility defying extraordinary obstacles.