Archive for the 'Works' Category

World Ballet Day

I was the lucky director and producer of the National Ballet of Canada’s segment of World Ballet Day.

Ensmble v0.2

Jacqueries: The Technician

Jacqueries

Jacqueries is a heist story with a political edge — a site-specific live work with a companion iPhone app. It’s got a killer cast (Anisa Tejpar! Luke Garwood! Catherine Larocque! Mateo Galindo Torres! Anastasia Shivrina!), great music by John Gzowski, and video by Electric Square.
It opens in one week.
Get tickets!
If you want to buy tix at the door, please sign up for the production updates email list. We’re only using it for important updates (location changes, weather cancellations, app details &c), not for marketing or promotion.

Who By Fire



Who By Fire premiered February 4th 2013 as part of the 2013 Dance On Camera Film Festival at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. Full info is here.

Behind-the-scenes / Concept Videos

Study #1
Study #2
Study #3
Study #4
Study #WellThatMostlyWorkedLetsGoForIt

Production Credits

Director & Choregrapher: Jacob Niedzwiecki
Director of Photography: James Sainthill
Music: ‘Who By Fire’, performed by Buck 65 ft. Jenn Grant, written by Leonard Cohen, used with the kind permission of Warner Music and Sony/ATV.

Cast

Gerald Situ, Adrian Anh Nguyen, Mateo Galindo Torres, Bradley Powell, Marissa Parzei, Tyler Gledhill, Sarah Koekkoek, Luke Garwood, Michael Caldwell, Shannon Litzenberger, Jones Henry, Louis Laberge-Côté, Martine Lusignan, John Ottmann, Johanna Bergfelt.

Swings

Simon Jackson, Jenna Savella, Ji Hong Sayo.

Crew

Production Manager: Pamela Steele
Production Designer: Yannik Larivée
Camera Operators: Rafael Giuliano, Ian McConachie, Simon Jackson Still Photographers: Dean Buscher, Holly Thomas
Hair: Alex Creighton
Makeup: Molly Adey
Production Assistants: Michael Brathwaite, Thaba Niedzwiecki, Margie Niedzwiecki

Sponsors

Witz Education
Vistek
i-technique
Canada’s National Ballet School
The National Ballet of Canada
MediaFontaine
John McLaughlin and Kate Arthur.

Beta testers

Ryan Booth, Krista Dowson, Robert Stephen, James Leja, Sonia Rodriguez, Dylan Tedaldi, Aarik Wells.

Special Thanks

Mentors, advisors, and all-round generous people: Rich Terfry, Phil Strong & John Oswald, Danny Hui, Craig McKay, Brad Copeland, Nick Blasko, Shan Du, Melissa Luu, Khoa Nguyen, Emma Niedzwiecki, Linnea Swan, Aeschylus Poulos, Jeff Morris, and Marc Kirschner.

Who By Fire was made with the generous assistance of MuchFACT.

Meet Cute (aka Canadian Tuxedo)

Meet Cute is a short, Dadaist romantic comedy. It was first performed at Fresh Blood 2012 at the Enwave Theatre in March 2012, and will be presented for Nuit Blanche 2012 as part of ‘Dada Reboot!’ at the Distillery District.

Ego Echo (beta installation)

Ego Echo Installation – beta test from Jacob Niedzwiecki on Vimeo.

Continue reading ‘Ego Echo (beta installation)’

Spike Solutions #3 – Diptych

Spike Solutions #3 from Jacob Niedzwiecki on Vimeo.

This is the third in an ongoing series of short, focused screen tests of generative compositing techniques. In this diptych, the left and right halves use the same video material and grid; the left crops each instance of the source to a grid square, while the right shrinks it.

In other words, the video in any given zone of the left half is sampled (from that same zone) from the video in the corresponding location on the right half. In this screen test, each clip begins almost in sync, with a slight offset, so you can see movements in the grid ripple from bottom right to top left. A stochastic (fancy word for ‘random’) process occasionally jumps individual clips forward, out of sync. The perspective slowly fractures from a hard grid to shifting shards.

Spike Solutions #2 (Diptych)

Spike Solutions #2 from Jacob Niedzwiecki on Vimeo.

This is the second in an ongoing series of short, focused screen tests of generative compositing techniques. In this diptych, the left and right halves use the same video material and grid; the left crops each instance of the source to a grid square, while the right shrinks it.

In other words, the video in any given zone of the left half is sampled (from that same zone) from the video in the corresponding location on the right half. In this screen test, each clip begins almost in sync, with a slight offset, so you can see movements in the grid ripple from bottom right to top left. A stochastic (fancy word for ‘random’) process occasionally jumps individual clips forward, out of sync.

Spike Solutions #1 (Diptych)

Spike Solutions #1 (Diptych) from Jacob Niedzwiecki on Vimeo.

This is the first in an ongoing series of short, focused screen tests of generative compositing techniques. In this diptych, the left and right halves use the same video material and grid; the left crops each instance of the source to a grid square, while the right shrinks it. The video in any given zone of the left half is sampled (from that same zone) from the video in the corresponding location on the right half. In this screen test, each zone of video begins at a random point partway through the source footage.

Bastard Fugue

Bastard Fugue features Naoya Ebe of the National Ballet of Canada, and live camerawork by yours truly. It premiered at Fresh Blood, a group show of work by young choreographers hosted by The Chimera Project, on October 29th at the Enwave Theatre in Toronto. The piece is set to a Bach fugue for organ, arranged instead for mixed percussion, and uses live projection to explore fugue structure with a single dancer. Special thanks to Naishi (Kamen) Wang for his valuable participation in the creation process. More credits and special thanks after the jump.

Continue reading ‘Bastard Fugue’

Love in Vain (TBA:48)

Entry for the Dance Films Association “What Moves You” 48-Hour Challenge. Link changed to higher-quality version uploaded Sunday morning; the original is here.

Cast: Robert Stephen and Cristina Tucciarone. Special thanks to Pat and Cathie Dwyer, Aryon Elmers, Barbara Lane, Simon MacIntyre, Bev Peat, Jenn Stephen, John and Jane Stephen, Teri Worthington, and all our other donors.

Helioscape (2008)

Helioscape on iTunes!

Helioscape is set for release on iTunes as part of TenduTV’s first ‘Essential Dance Films’ compilation. Below is a trailer for the film.

Watch in HD.

Epitaph for Paul Harvey (2009)

Epitaph for Paul Harvey is a solo for dancer set to a heavily edited speech by Paul Harvey (the American syndicated radio host) and a video projection. The speech was tagged and edited using a custom text engine programmed in Processing. The solo is a component of a planned larger work, Variations on a Theme by Adam Smith.

The piece was shown as a work-in-progress at the Drake Hotel Underground in January 2009 with Luke Garwood performing.

Fragments of the Apocryphon of Ezekiel (2008)

Fragments of the Apocryphon of Ezekiel has a long and recondite title but comes by it honestly. The piece was inspired by a chance connection between two works: Shostakovich’s Five Fragments for Orchestra, a short suite of sparse, enigmatic works written as preparation for his Fourth Symphony; and five fragments of writing dating to around the life of Christ that may have been part of a book apocryphally attributed to the biblical prophet Ezekiel. It’s hard to go into more detail about the provenance of the fragments without descending into even more Pynchon-esque levels of uncertainty; essentially, there is no evidence of the primary source (the Apocryphon itself) and the fragments survive only as quotations in other works.

The ballet consists of five movements, each pairing a musical and literary fragment. Two excerpts of the ballet were presented at the National Ballet of Canada’s Choreographic Showcase in September 2008.

The first and longest fragment is a parable, in which a king invites everyone in his kingdom to his daughter’s wedding feast, save two men: one blind, and one lame. They decide to avenge the slight by vandalizing the king’s garden, acting as each other’s eyes and legs. When the damage is discovered, they protest their innocence: their disabilities make it impossible for them to be the perpetrators. The king realizes they worked together and has them both flogged. The parable is that the soul is accountable for the actions of the body and vice versa.

The second performed fragment is in the voice of God, and translates as “As I find thee, so will I judge thee”; meaning, on judgment day, it is your present state of sin or grace that matters and not any of your life prior to the day.

Archival video of the work exists, but is not available online due to the terms of the collective agreement between Actor’s Equity and the National Ballet.

The excerpts were performed by Catherine Maitland, Joe Welbes, and Aarik Wells.

Superposition (2007)

Superposition (IMDB) is an adventurous exploration of the territory that lies between live and recorded performance. The film records three complete performances of a dance solo, each through a coloured filter—red, green, and blue—and then superimposes them to reveal the subtle variations and surprising correspondences inherent to live performance. Visually striking and conceptually daring, Superposition exposes the paradox of precision in live performance.

The film features the National Ballet of Canada’s Marissa Parzei and an original score by Dustin Peters. It was shot in front of a live audience in May 2006 and premiered in competition at the 2007 Worldwide Short Film Festival. It is currently distributed non-exclusively by Movieola through Ouat Media.

Commentary

Okay, that’s the copy. Here’s the skinny: the film was a complete miracle. From concept to wrap was maybe five weeks. Dustin Peters composed an incredible six-hand piano score; I set the piece on Marissa in about a week; we organized a live shoot and all the pieces fell into place.

Then editing. We used six completely different cameras and three recording media (SVHS, miniDV, miniDVD). I learned how to colour-grade and conform footage by the same method monkeys use to teach their children to swim: throw them in the deepest part of the river and cross your fingers. I was dancing with the National Ballet at the time, and I started editing just as we went into a long rehearsal process for Sleeping Beauty. I‘d come home from the show around midnight, work until 3am, then be at class the next day at 11. I was actually grateful; facing Beauty without something else to work on might have done me in.

Auden Songs (2006)

Auden Songs is a 20-minute contemporary ballet. The ballet’s score is assembled from Benjamin Britten’s settings, for baritone and piano, of poems by W.H. Auden. Some of the songs were published as part of the cycle On This Island, and others were published individually. A recording of Auden himself reading “The Wanderer” acts as a score for the work’s prologue.

The work explores friendships and romantic entanglements between a group of young people. Excerpts of the ballet—totalling six movements and fifteen minutes—were performed in the National Ballet of Canada’s Choreographic Lab, an in-studio showing of new work, in August 2006 to positive reaction.

Please contact me if you are interested in viewing archival video of the work; it cannot be made publicly available due to the terms of the collective agreement between Actor’s Equity and the National Ballet.

Continue reading ‘Auden Songs (2006)’

Chiba City Variations (2004)

Chiba City Variations is a suite of four solos set to various poems written and read by Christian Bök. Each solo was inspired by a character from the works of William Gibson. The work was performed in June 2004 in the show No Refunds, a showing of new work by young choreographers at the Betty Oliphant Theatre. The performers were Courtney Gibbs (not in video), Jenna Savella, Luke Garwood, and Robert Stephen.

Collected Short Works

This entry collects several short works, many choreographed for workshops or as etudes.

Two Heterosexual Etudes

Set to three pieces from György Kurtág’s Signs, Games, and Messages. Two three-minute relationship studies, one of a father and daughter, one of a husband and wife; the title is meant to be a bit of a footnote as James Kudelka’s Fifteen Heterosexual Duets, while not the inspiration for the piece, served as a model with which to wrestle, argue, and occasionally agree. Created for Ballet Jörgen as part of their Solos, Duets, and Trios program. Performed in-studio at George Brown College in April 2009 by Tara Butler, Cristina Graziano, and Preston McBain. Archival video.

Capriol Suite

Set to two dances from Peter Warlock’s suite of the same name. One duet for a young couple, and one solo for a character dancer. Performed by Mark Dennis & Nikki Holck and Victoria Betram in June 2008 as part of the National Ballet of Canada’s Choreographic Explorations in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre of the Four Seasons Centre. Archival video.

Sanglôts

Set to the song of the same title from Poulenc’s song cycle Banalités, based on poems by Guillaume Apollinaire. Duet, part of a planned setting of the entire cycle. Performed by Isabella Gasparini and Rodrigo Gonzales in July 2004 as part of of the National Ballet School’s Stephen Godfrey Choreographic Workshop. Archival video.

Private Words

Set to the intermezzo from Poulenc’s Les Mamelles de Tiresias. Relationship sketch. Performed by Jordana Daumec and François Robichaud in July 2003 as part of the National Ballet School’s Stephen Godfrey Choreographic Workshop. No video.

La dame de Monte Carlo

Set to Poulenc’s solo operetta of the same name. A sort of danced monologue. Performed by Mariline Goodhue and Scott Maybank in June 2003 as part of Gorgeous Little Things, a showing of new work by young choreographers at the Betty Oliphant Theatre in Toronto. Archival video.