Posts Tagged ‘dance’

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So Close 3D: Dance with Wild Dolphins

October 21, 2014

Come See Dolphin Dance in 3D

on The Big Screen in NYC!

Sunday, December 7th at noon and 2pm

Tickets HERE

We are excited to announce a unique opportunity to see our most recent 3D work projected in a big screen theater!

The program will include a pre-release preview of  Dolphin Dreams* shot by Emmy Award-winning underwater cinematographer Howard Hall with an original score by Grammy Award-winning composer and cellist David Darling.

We will also preview several short 3D films featuring our full cast of beautiful dolphin dancers: Kathleen Fisher, Yuki Kusachi, Jillian Rutledge and Kayoko Sawamura.

Several talented members of our ‘pod’ of NYC dancers – Carly Czach, Elise Knudson and Tim O’Donnell – will grace the stage for a live performance amongst virtual dolphins.

Let’s fill the house! One of the most valuable things you can do to support us right now is to share this event with anyone you think might enjoy the show.

The one hour program will be presented twice:

SO CLOSE 3D: DANCE WITH WILD DOLPHINS

Sunday, December 7th
Screenings at NOON and 2 pm

SVA Theater
333 West 23rd Street

TICKETS are $10 in advance, $15 at the door. FREE for children under 16 when reserved in advance.

The Dolphin Dance Project works only with wild dolphins in the open ocean.  We follow a strict code of etiquette, and we never feed, train, or coerce dolphins in any way.  The dolphins’ paricipation is motivated only by curiosity and the joy of interacting with another intelligent species – just like the human dancers. Since dancing underwater is dangerous, the human dancers are highly trained.

*It’s not too late to support the finishing of “Dolphin Dreams”. Even if you can’t join us at this screening, for a donation of $50 or more, you will receive a DVD of the film, when it is completed. Donations can be made at checkout when you purchase your ticket, or at our website, where you can also see a full list of perks. Thank you!

Co-produced with Dance Films Association, with support from Artist as Citizen.

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So Close 3D is made possible in part with public funds from the Fund for Creative Communities, supported by New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and administered by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, as well as funds from the Manhattan Community Arts Fund, supported by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council and administered by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. LMCC.net

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Dolphin Dance in 3D

November 3, 2013

We are excited to share with you the first ever 3D video of humans and wild dolphins dancing together.

Chisa and Yuki with Hugs and Kisses

Click here to watch this video in 3D on YouTube.
Anaglyph 3D still of Chisa and Yuki with Hugs and Kisses

If you have a pair of good old Red/Cyan 3D glasses, you can watch this video right on your computer (and if you don’t have a pair, we can send one to you).  If you have a 3D TV it will look even better. There are instructions for 3D viewing at the end of this blog post and in the comments under the YouTube video.

Dolphin Dance in 3D: Sample

We make our films to provide an experience where you actually feel what is being exchanged and communicated between the dolphins and the dancers. The 3D effect seems to enhance that feeling substantially by providing the sensation of actually being under the water with them.

We’d love to hear what you think.  Feel free to post a comment below or on our FB page.

If you don’t have 3D glasses, or you just want to compare and contrast, you can watch a high quality 2D version here:

Ultimately, our ambition is to share this experience and its story on giant screens in educational venues like discovery centers, natural history museums – all of these almost exclusively screen 3D films. So we decided to see for ourselves, how it might look … and we built our own custom 3D rig, with two high definition cameras, some optimistic thinking, and a fraction of what we would pay to use a commercial system.

After seeing the results, we are more enthusiastic than ever about seeing this work in giant screen venues. While we build the financial support we will need to do a feature shoot with a commercial system, we are also considering how we can share this 3D experience using our custom rig, perhaps by creating installations using 3D televisions.

We recorded this footage during our rehearsals this summer (see our last blog post). In addition to Hugs and Kisses, we were joined by a mother dolphin – who we refer to as Flower – and her less than one year old baby, Buds. In the close up shot, as Hugs hogs the camera, you can see Buds making a successful loop with Yuki by staying very close to mom.

Hugs Flower Buds and Yuki

Hugs (closest) with Flower and her baby, Buds – all dancing with Yuki.

(To learn more about how dolphin babies learn to dance with humans from their moms, see our previous video – Introducing Jalapeño.)

We want to give a big shout out of thanks to our dancers. We so appreciate their talent and commitment. It is thanks to their extraordinary ability to establish a moving relationship with the dolphins and with each other, that we are able to see a connection between species we might otherwise think impossible. We also want to thank Sophie Ellen for contributing a track from her debut album as our sound track.

We are immensely grateful to our donors who helped to make this experiment possible (and also to the extraordinary high seas skills of Captain Scott).

HOW TO WATCH IN 3D:

You can watch on your computer wearing Red/Cyan glasses, but the quality of the 3D effect and the image will be much better on a proper 3D TV.

To watch on your computer with Red/Cyan glasses (If you don’t have a pair, we can send one to you: donate through our online store):

1) Open the Youtube link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UrLsn7vIlrY

2) Go to the pop up menu in the ‘cog wheel’ at the lower right hand corner and choose 3D

3) Under ‘Options’ choose ‘Full Color’ and ‘Red/Cyan’.

4) If your internet connection and computer are reasonably fast, you’ll want to view in 1080HD.

5) Be sure to watch in Full Screen. If the image is too small, you won’t see the 3D effect.

To watch on a 3D Television with the specific glasses it requires:

1) If your TV is connected to the Internet, you can use the YouTube app to watch the video. Open the YouTube app on your TV and type in the identifier: UrLsn7vIlrY.

OR

2) Otherwise, you can connect your computer directly to your TV and play the YouTube video in Full Screen. Choose the 3D option ‘side by side’ rather than Red/Cyan.

3) Use the TV remote to choose to convert 2D ‘side by side’ to 3D.

Chisa Yuki Hugs and Kisses - Left and Right images

Left and Right Images of 3D Still

posted by Ben Harley

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Dolphins Are Calling

November 8, 2012

We are excited to offer a ringtone of this amazing sound of the greeting of a wild Pacific Spinner dolphin.  During our fundraising campaign to complete our next short film, “Dolphin Dreams”, everyone who contributes at any level will receive a link to download it:  http://dolphin-dance.org/dolphindreams

When your friends hear you answering the call of the dolphins (your phone) they will know how important cetaceans and the oceans are to you.

This is an example of a ‘signature whistle’, a whistle sound associated with a bubble stream.  Scientists believe that these whistles express self-identifying information, much like a human name. Mother and baby dolphins often call and find each other using ‘signature whistles’. Wild dolphins have also been observed to make ‘signature whistles’ towards other dolphins when they meet after a separation or for the first time. As you see in the video, in our experience, dolphins will greet our dancers with their whistles at the beginning of a rehearsal, and frequently stream them again before they leave.  Like saying, “Hello” and “Goodbye”. What a special gift!

Combining our own observations with those of scientists, we are exploring the extent to which we can communicate with dolphins through movement and dance. “Dolphin Dreams” is our next film on this theme and will be a big step towards developing our IMAX feature film, which will not only feature the human-dolphin dance, but many scientific and other insights that underscore the importance of this remarkable inter-species co-choreography.

Please help us spread the word about “Dolphin Dreams” and the Dolphin Dance Project by downloading the dolphin ring tone and letting your friends know that you answer the call of dolphins!

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Introducing “Jalapeño”

September 24, 2012

In this video, we introduce a baby dolphin we call Jalapeño. She and her mother Notcho are both featured dancers in our upcoming film “Dolphin Dreams”.

Jalapeño and her mom, Notcho, are part of a group of Atlantic Spotted dolphins who have been instrumental to the development of my choreographic approach. Although this pod lives far from shore, they initiated a relationship with a few scientists and naturalists more than 30 years ago; and humans and dolphins continue to deepen this relationship today. I have returned for yearly rehearsals with these dolphins, who first inspired the initiation of the Dolphin Dance Project. As you see in the video, both humans and dolphins continue to learn  about how we can dance together.

The triple loop you see in the video is new for Jalapeño this year … it is also rather new for me. You haven’t seen such sustained interactions before partly because of the breath hold training that was required for me to achieve them. Jalapeño, on the other hand, has had to develop the coordination for and interest in sustaining an interaction with a human. Doing three loops together is an example of how, through years of observing each other and working together, we are developing a movement ‘‘language” that humans and dolphins can share to express our mutual interest in playing and making dance together.

Doing multiple loops with humans is clearly not a stereotyped reaction; not all dolphins engage us in this way, even when we are dancing and playing together. Jalapeño had to learn how to do this … most likely from following along with her mother the previous year. This is consistent with the scientific research of Richard Connor and others that have reported on wild dolphins learning specialized behaviors from their mothers. I wonder what new skills Jalapeño will have learned next year?

Jalapeño Dancing With Chisa

Jalapeño dances with Chisa, while momma, Notcho, watches.

Jalapeño’s mother, Notcho, was a youngster, about 4 years old – and with just a few spots – when she first met humans in the 1970s. Decades later, and now a mature mother with many, many spots, she brings her daughter to meet her human friends. It was a great privilege to be introduced to Jalapeño last year… incredibly heartwarming to see her growing up this year … and a joy to imagine how things may progress in the future.

Among the first humans Notcho met was Hardy Jones. A journalist and film-maker so dedicated to cetaceans he is known as ‘the Dolphin Defender’. We are very fortunate to have Hardy as a new advisor to our project. You can read more about Hardy’s discovery of Notcho’s pod – and much more about protecting dolphins – in his new book, “The Voice of the Dolphins”. (We recommend it.)

We endorse the work of Hardy Jones’ BlueVoice and other organizations that endeavor to protect dolphins and whales. Families like Notcho and Jalapeno’s are ripped apart when dolphins are hunted, killed as bycatch in fishing gear, or captured for aquariums. We hope that the attention our films bring to these amazing creatures inspires respect and protection for all wild dolphins and their habitats. To learn more about the threats that dolphins face and how to mitigate them, please visit our Protecting Dolphins page.

Thank you for your support of the Dolphin Dance Project.

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60 Seconds Dance

April 2, 2012

In the fall of 2011, we had the opportunity to do an extended rehearsal with some very talented dancers and free divers.  One of the main goals was to develop techniques and skills for the human dancers to move with each other underwater as gracefully and harmoniously as the dolphins do.  Here is one of our more successful exercises, presented as a 60 second screen dance (an out-of-competition offering in appreciation of the 60secondsdance.dk competition) since one minute is roughly the time we have to work together while we hold a single breath:

We were lucky to be working with a perfectly complimentary ensemble. Kathleen Fisher (previously featured in ‘Trio Corkscrew“) is an impeccably trained professional dancer with many years experience in the water, and a ‘natural’ at free diving. Jillian Rutledge, new to Dolphin Dance, is a trained free diver who is a ‘natural’ at the dance. Both have plenty of experience moving with wild dolphins in the ocean.

Perhaps, given all this experience, the surprising thing is that it took work and rehearsal to become coordinated! The dolphins make underwater coordination look effortless…but for the humans, it requires a real focused effort.

We worked not only on the technical aspects of diving and breath holding, but also on an approach to movement that honors an environment where the weight of our bodies is completely supported. We worked on expanding our peripheral vision and increasing our sensitivity to water flow on our skin, so we could ‘keep track’ of our fellow dancers, stay close to them, stay with them in their movement intentions. We danced on the beach, in the back yard of our rented apartment and of course, in the ocean. We regularly made 1 minute or longer dances that traversed a water column greater than 40 feet deep.

In some ways, it always felt as easeful and sensuous as it appears. But it is also a fact that no matter how warm the water, we were always freezing by the end of a rehearsal session. We were also often exhausted – working on limited oxygen can be profoundly tiring!

Just as important as the skills we honed was the development of our relationships. Working with an intention for ease, grace and harmony it felt very natural to develop a sweet camaraderie. I wonder if it is this way for the dolphins? They are always so gentle and generous with us. It is hard to resist imagining that the dolphins’ personalities may be shaped by their continuous practice of ease, grace and harmony in their every move.

We knew we had accomplished something when one day towards the end of our time together, as we made our long swim back to shore from rehearsing among ourselves in a bay where the dolphins had not appeared, we realized that we felt just as satisfied as if we had been dancing with the dolphins.

Chisa, Kathleen, Jilly

Chisa Hidaka, Kathleen Fisher, Jillian Rutledge; photo by Benjamin Harley

Posted by Chisa Hidaka

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Contact Improvisation with Wild Dolphins

May 17, 2011

An interview with director Chisa Hidaka provides a compelling perspective into the experience of dancing with wild dolphins.  She also eloquently explains the broader mission of the Dolphin Dance Project, to encourage respect for and protection of wild dolphins and their habitat.  (If you would like to know more about the threats to their well-being, please visit our ‘Protect’ page.)

Features Chisa Hidaka (speaker and dancer), Erzsi Palko (dancer) and wild Atlantic Spotted Dolphins and Pacific Spinner Dolphins. Underwater videography by Bryce Groark, Brett LeMaster, Loui Terrier, Benjamin Harley and Chisa Hidaka.  Produced and edited by Benjamin Harley. Video of the interview and sample clip of contact improvisation filmed by Sanford Lewis and provided courtesy of his ‘Contact Improvisation: An Intimate Dance‘ production

This video clip is an example of the kind of context we intend to provide in the feature length documentary we are developing.  Our goal is to give the audience  a profound appreciation for these human-dolphin interactions, exploring their significance with the help of expert scientists and artists, incorporating knowledge of dolphin biology and cognition and how humans communicate with body language and dance.  (If you haven’t seen our first film,’Together: Dancing with Spinner Dolphins,’ visit our website, and if you would like to support future productions of the Dolphin Dance Project, please visit our ‘Donate’ page.)

Chisa was inspired to found the Dolphin Dance Project when she recognized that improvised dance, specifically the practice of contact improvisation, enabled a depth of communication with wild dolphins comparable to what she experienced with human dancers.  Training in this form hones our ability to perceive, interpret and understand the physical communication of others – a skill sometimes called “physical listening” – as well as our technical facility to respond and deepen the conversation. The art of contact improvisation proves to be very precious indeed when it can facilitate mutual understanding between two intelligent species in such a direct and intimate way.

The interview was conducted at Earthdance, originally the communal home of a group of visionary contact improvisers, now a beautiful retreat where the form continues to be developed and taught.  (If you are interested to learn more about this form, there are workshops and classes year round – visit http://www.earthdance.net/ )  Sanford Lewis, who is currently producing a documentary about the dance form, “Contact Improvisation: an Intimate Dance,” filmed the interview. The producer of numerous environmental films, Sanford provides more information about his new work at http://ContactImprovOnScreen.com.

Dolphins communicate through body language as much or more than we do. Whether or not dolphins have a concept of “dance” similar to ours, their intentional, communicative and beautiful movement is exactly what we mean by the term.  Perhaps they understand it better than us, for we are discovering that, “When you approach dolphins with dance, they recognize it as intelligence.”

– Posted by Benjamin Harley

Ben and Chisa Improvise, Video Still: Sanford Lewis

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Was That Choreographed?

April 4, 2011

The Dolphin Dance Project is well embarked on developing its next film which will feature multiple human dancers.  We have been scouting for talented improvisers who can dance exquisitely underwater while maintaining relationships with dolphins and fellow humans at the same time.  We have been honored to be joined by some very talented dancers (and some very talented dolphins too) for practice sessions, and we look forward to more rehearsals in the coming months.

On a recent trip, we fortuitously met Matisha who has years of experience with wild dolphins, and a website of his own (www.SongofHome.com) where he shares videos, music, and other inspirations he has received from these extraordinary fellow creatures.  Having met Matisha underwater, already in the company of dolphins, it was amazing to see – with almost no words exchanged – everyone naturally begin to dance together.

In this clip ‘Dolphin Choreography’, we see a beautiful set of changing relationships.  A dolphin leaves his pod, approaches a couple of human dancers, engages one of them, as the other human joins the ‘chorus’ of the pod.  Dolphins negotiate like this with each other all the time, understanding who wants to be with whom, joining in, separating, coming back.  But in this case, a dolphin invites the humans to participate.  It is a remarkable example of mutual understanding that these intuitive humans and (dare we say) ‘open minded’ dolphins can participate actively in this exchange.

(as always, this video will look better if you choose 720p and press the fullscreen button in the lower right hand corner, or watch on Vimeo – http://vimeo.com/21578920 )

As dancers, the humans have trained their abilities to perceive and understand shifting relationships as they are expressed through movement.  This is one of the essential building blocks of human choreography.  In a sense, dolphins are natural choreographers – and dancers have the training to engage with them intelligently.  In future posts, we will look more closely at these parallels between human ‘terrestrial’ dance and the natural way dolphins communicate as they move together.

We are actively developing this work, but we still have a long ways to go to finance it.  Working hard writing grants, we know that many foundations are in difficult economic situations. Do you know any dolphin lovers who might consider supporting our work? We would be grateful for an introduction.

We have a number of ways to thank you for donations you make, including our new poster  (below)… you can see them all on our ‘Donate’ page.  For no cost at all, you can do a lot to help us expand the project by simply tweeting or facebook ‘liking’ our website or forwarding links to your friends.

As much as anything else, however, we value your appreciation.  Thank you for your continued interest in the Dolphin Dance Project.

Please check our website for a list of upcoming screenings of our first film “Together: Dancing With Spinner Dolphins” – there are two screenings in NYC in April, one in May, one in LA, CA in June …

Join the Pod

Just like dolphins invite us to join their pod, we invite you to join our company and help support the Dolphin Dance Project