Filmed and edited by Faye Lord.
With thanks to Robert Anderson and Anna Fooks.
‘Hi, I’m making a short film for research, and I was wondering if you would like to be a part of it? All you’d have to do is dance in front of the camera for a few seconds and then answer some questions about the experience.’
These are the words repeatedly coming out of my mouth as I approach the lovely people of Leeds one Saturday morning. I strike gold with the very first person I ask as she agrees to participate and waves herself calmly across the camera view. I foolishly believe that this is going to be easier than I had anticipated.
2 hours down the line, I realise that I gave up counting the rejections a long time ago. More often than not I get cut off at ‘Hi…’, people aren’t willing to listen to the rest. Hands and face numb from the cold and feeling extremely frustrated I spot a glow at the end of the street. It soon takes the form of a man in a luminous running jacket who jumps -quite literally- at the idea of being in my film.
My first filming session completed and I only have about half a minute’s worth of footage. It doesn’t feel like an accurate representation of the infuriating few hours I spent approaching strangers.
Back out to try again tomorrow…
Approaching Strangers is a short film that documents the responses given by participants willing to dance in front of a camera. The project was created as an exploration into movement performed by non-dancers. It investigates both the physical and mental reactions when being asked to dance in public.
The three and half minutes of film that you see is the entirety of the responses collected from over 6 hours of asking strangers to dance. It also includes clips from a phone discussion with Nic Sandiland about his discoveries when working with non-dancers on camera for the piece ‘Gravity Shift’.
The research was mainly influenced by Gillian Wearing’s work ‘Signs That Say What You Want Them to Say and Not Signs That Say What Someone Else Wants You to Say.’ (1997). It was also inspired by ‘Gravity Shift’ (2010) by Flexer and Sandiland, and ‘Dancing With Strangers’ (2013) by Rita Marcalo.
Presented as an Installation.