Silent beauty of the lone dancer on Library video wall

Published in the June-July 2017 issue

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The silent dancer mesmerises with her silent, free-flowing performance; her movements projected six-metres high across 16 screens on the Discovery Wall at the Southern Cross University Learning Centre. Who is she? And what music is she dancing to?

‘The Dancer’ is a collaboration between dancer Jacinta Durney and cinematographer/editor Ian Slade.

The project came from an inspiration triggered by ‘Valtari’, a soundscape track from Icelandic post-rock band, Sigur Ros. Jacinta is a Southern Cross University graduate, while Ian is a technical officer in the School of Arts and Social Sciences media program.

“The track had found its way to us both independently. We agreed that this was ideal as guide to the performance,” said Ian, who’s worked on dance films for more than 30 years, starting with ‘A Stroke of Genius’, a documentary chronicling the Sydney Opera House 10th anniversary which included the Sydney Dance Theatre in 1983.

Jacinta Durney is The Dancer.

Jacinta has a background in dance and studied a Bachelor in Exercise and Sport Science at Southern Cross followed by a Master in Clinical Exercise Physiology.

“The dance video was a lovely experience in working through movements that were to be for something specifically visual, rather than through the motivation of a particular song,” said Jacinta.

“In a sense it took me back to my earlier movements in contemporary dance that have more of a classical influence than what I tend to create now. From here, wherever my said career takes me, I intend to keep creating, as I know it is a saviour to my sanity.”

The filming was shot in Studio One29 using the School’s new Sony FS5 4K digital video camera, which has resolution equivalent to four times HD.

A second sequence in this triptych series, ‘Chiaroscuro’, is also screening at Lismore. A third dance film, ‘Stereography’, will be projected on the new large horizontal video wall (7.4m x 2.3m) in the foyer of Building C at the Gold Coast campus when it opens.

“The project required a combination of ultra high definition 4K camera and accurate coverage of the six-metre vertical video wall which presented some production challenges,” Ian said.

“The lighting is a single light presenting isolation in an exaggerated space as Jacinta reaches up extending, suspended with effortless visual rhythm pausing then gracefully collapsing.”

Ian said reorientating the video image to horizontal for the screen in Building C “took a while to get my head around, but I love working in wide aspect formats as they more natural to look at.”

Kate Kelly, Director of Library Services, said the Jacinta and Ian’s work was inspirational.

“The Discovery Wall creates a sense of discovery and curiosity within the Learning Centre space, and ‘The Dancer’ has captured this brilliantly. Students and staff have been captivated by the silent beauty of the piece, watching in awe as the dancer moves across the 16 video screens.

“This piece is particularly special to the Library team, as Jacinta worked as one of our student Library Rover team members.”

Since graduating from Southern Cross, Jacinta has been pursuing opportunities in exercise physiology and dance.

“My university study was initially sparked from a love for dance and movement, leading to a curiosity with the brilliance of the human body. The course has been quite a journey, and a gratitude-filled experience in creating a career that I’m still carving out,” she said.

“My dance voyage included training full-time in Newcastle, followed by a brief stint in New York with the Joffrey Ballet’s trainee program. Last year I started running some dance classes locally in Lismore, which was as much an exploration of my own style and movement as it was to offer dance to those at any level, wanting to learn without the formalities of enrolling in a dance school.”

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