DANCE FILM 'SKELETON SONG'
CO-DIRECTION // COSTUME // CHOREOGRAPHY // PHOTOGRAPHY
Created in collaboration with singer/songwriter Ana Silvera and director/dancer Kate Church. Produced by Stephanie Moon
Skeleton Song is song #2 from ‘Oracles’, a work by critically acclaimed singer and composer Ana Silvera (UK), which draws upon folkloric tales and images to express her personal experience of losing a close family member. Written after her brother’s untimely death, Oracles chronicles the various stages of Silvera’s journey through loss and devastation to a tentative acceptance.
The story of this song is adapted from an Inuit myth about a murdered woman who has been thrown into the ocean and is now a skeleton lying on the sea floor. One day, her ribs accidentally snag a fisherman’s hook and he reels her up. When he sees the skeleton appear before him, he is terrified and starts to row away as fast as he can, believing she is chasing him as she is attached to his line. Reaching land, he collapses inside a cave and falls asleep. When he wakes, he sees the skeleton with fresh eyes and is filled with compassion. The fisherman starts to polish her bones and sing to her and little by little, she grows flesh and her heart starts to beat. In the act of caring for her and singing to her, the fisherman brings the woman back to life. In Silvera’s interpretation, the fisherman is substituted for a feminine force who ‘laboured till my blood began to murmur like a river/and sang to me both night and day that no life is forever’.
The theme of feeling broken and being painstakingly pieced back together forms the narrative basis of this dance film/music video. Shot on the North Danish coast, the location provides a eerie sense of space and emptiness as well as a never-ending horizon line.
LIVE SCREENING // Purcell Room, Southbank Centre, London, July 2018
DIGITAL PREMIERE // CLASH Magazine
Dancer & Director: Kate Church
Co-Director & Costume Designer: Alice Williamson
Producer: Stephanie Moon
Choreography: Kate Church & Alice Williamson
Director of Photography: Mats Willand
Editor: Rupert Hall
Online editor: Robert Gravenor
Colourists: Damion Katwaroo and Mike Green
Sound design: Josh Halil
Production Assistant: Elisabeth Vik Production
Assistant: Ana Silvera
Solo voice – Ana Silvera
Piano – Bill Laurance
Double Bass – Jasper Høiby
Drums/Percussion – Jacob Smedegaard
Additional drums/percussion – Naomi Morris
Violin – Simran Singh
Cello – Anne Chauveau-Dhayan
Sopranos: Josephine Stephenson, Héloïse Werner
Altos: Rose Martin, Joel Newsome-Hubbard
Tenors: Ruairi Bowen, Kieran Brunt
Basses: William Marsey, Dan D’Souza
Choir directed by Josephine Stephenson
Engineered by Matt Parkin at The Roundhouse Theatre.
Mixed by August Wanngren at Oui Studios, Copenhagen.
Ana Silvera is supported by PRS Foundation’s The Open Fund for Music Creators Mastered by Darrel Sheinman and Caspar Sutton-Jones at Gearbox Records
COSTUME // 'Created with a modular costume concept in mind. I was keen for the pieces to be abstract as well as versatile in both in movement and interpretation ... with many layers of garment / flesh on peel off and put on. Ana's lyrics and music are incredibly evocative - I could have interpret them in many ways - in the end I choose to keep things simple in styling, honest (I hope) and accessible. Dancer Kate starts off moving in a dry light emphermel manor; her skeleton dress reflects that - with all her delicate bones revealed the form of an 'eco' bolero rib cage hand made from bound gauze. As the song progresses the dancing grows wilder and becomes more human, the dress in turn ‘becames’ red - visceral and swirling - full of energy, colour and life . The fabric for the red dress was illustrated on my iPad and turned into a digital placement print to fit the lycra. The heart I appliquéd and made as a broach: to be lost (and found) and easily given away.'