Closing One Door to Open Another
Nicole Decsey chats with fellow Dance Way of Life journalist Rachel Levitt on her film Something Different.
I had a wonderful time chatting with Rachel about her dance film Something Different, which premieres at Dance : Corps’ Our Stories – Flash Show. And when I say “chat” I mean a three-hour conversation that drifts to and from the subject because that is what happens when we are on Zoom together …
Following a young woman stuck in a repetitive sequence as she fades from place to place in a narrow hallway, stuck between two doors, Something Different showcases that classic experience of doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
What is the significance of the two doors in this piece?
The point of the first door is that she’s waiting for something, and you’ll see that she never opens the second door, she struggles with it. You can see that she considers it, tries to open it, she knocks, she listens, she interacts with it.
The ultimate point is that until that first door closes the other one can’t open. Because sometimes we want to leave as many doors open as possible and we want to always be able to leave one door open and expect the other door to open for us, but we can’t have all the doors open. Sometimes we need to close one before another one’s going to open
So the first door she’s waiting for something, is the second door where she is going to go next?
It’s more symbolic. This is one story where I felt like I was playing more with the symbolism of one door closes another one opens.
I know that from the musician’s point of view, the song was about someone who has past. So, to a degree I guess I felt some of that grief while I was playing with the choreo. When you’re grieving, it can be very hard to give yourself permission to shut that door. If you move on, there can be a lot of guilt attributed to that, or there can be a feeling that you have to always leave that door open in order to respect someone’s memory or in order to respect what they meant to you. And it can be very hard to give yourself permission to move on, because at the end of the day you can’t just stay in that hallway in front of an open door because you will always be stuck there, as we see this dancer being stuck.
How I kind of related to it though, is that despite knowing where the musician was coming from, I’ve never done a piece before about a breakup that was really significant to me. So, I felt like that was something I really wanted to explore, and it was how I connected in a different way to the song.
When I went through that break up there was a grieving process. It wasn’t necessarily leaving a door open for that same person to walk through, but it could be waiting for certain things that I had with that person. And leaving that door open felt like constantly looking for someone similar. I guess I also realized that letting go of someone is a very difficult process. Even if you don’t ever look at their social media, even if you do all of the checklist things that mean you’ve moved on, there are some ways that we just leave those doors open.
What was your editing process experience?
Going into it, I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted it to be. It started off where I thought it just might be a one take thing without a lot of editing, which is weird to say when you see something where editing is really the icing on the cake or at least a very important part of the cake.
Anyway, Lauren Callaghan does such a beautiful job of making each repetition unique and I thought there was a lot of beauty in that. But I also felt like there just had to be something more to get the point across. I liked the idea of having her sometimes be in that empty hallway and then not being there. So, I decided to play with seeing what would happen if I put the fade effect between some cut shots. And because it’s all in one room, it really had that effect of looking like she’s fading from one part of the room into another. It happened by accident but then I just really wanted to see how I could use that further. In this process, I started to appreciate a lot of the in between footage. I realized it’s not only about fading to her big moments, it’s actually very important to fade into her transition moments or her simply walking down the hall. All of that in between footage just added a richness to the film.
And with that Rachel gives us beautiful insights into her piece Something Different which will be a part of Dance : Corps’ Our Stories – Flash Show, online 12am Oct 3 to 12am Oct 5 via a YouTube playlist.
Leading lady Lauren Callaghan began her training as a competitive dancer at Edmunds Towers School of Dance, however has since travelled to NYC and Las Vegas to attend prestigious institutions such as the Joffrey Ballet School and Theater Arts Preparatory School.
She hopes to someday dance on a cruise ship and tour with Cirque du Soleil.