Watch: Dance film captures lockdown mood

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Australian Royal Ballet principal Alexander Campbell has teamed up with producer and director Anthoula Syndica-Drummond to create a short dance film.

Entitled Where We Are, the film sees five dancers – Campbell, freelancer dancer Clemmie Sveaas, Royal Ballet principal dancer Francesca Hayward, Rambert Dance Company dancer Hannah Rudd and English National Ballet lead principal Jeffrey Cirio –  each performing in their own homes to express the emotional impact of lockdown. Choreography is by Rambert dancer Hannah Rudd to an original score by Sophie Cotton, featuring violinist Naomi Burrell.

Campbell says he wanted to create something original for the public to enjoy in the absence of live dance performances. “Dance taught me everything I know about discipline, perseverance, and life's complexities. My message to all artists right now is this: please keep at it. We need you. The world needs you,” he explains.

“I use this quote from Mikhail Baryshnikov because I think it’s a great example of how being exposed to art can change people’s perspectives. The idea was to demonstrate individuals experiencing all these emotions through their movement and their faces. ‘I’m so…’ is the repetitive link drawing the viewer in to the evolving mood of the dancers, but the exact emotion is only occasionally verbalised; we see it in their eyes, face, bodies, as they say: ‘I’m so…’ and then we see it elevated, expanded and heightened through the movement.

“My personal belief and experience is that dance can exceed even the spoken word when it comes to expressing emotion. I want people, when they watch this, to think: ‘That’s exactly how I felt yesterday, or how my neighbour must be feeling right now, or how my cousin feels in Australia while travelling to work.’ I want them to project their own feelings and experiences of this time on to the film and share the communal nature and collective emotion of this situation that is expressed through the performances.”

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