September 28, 2023


Make Some Fun

Free-Flying | Interview with Elizabeth Rose Arifien

6 min read

Performed by Maxine Flasher-Düzgüne?.

“Life is fleeting…particularly in case you are a ‘Damselfly’ residing just for a couple of temporary moments as a free-flying grownup. With the essence of grievance slippery and intangible, each loss is exclusive, and tells its personal story,” says Elizabeth Rose Arifien, director, choreographer and producer of Damselfly, a dance movie set in Fontainebleau, New Orleans, and supported by Arts Council England. Arifien’s historical past as a motion filmmaker usually falls into a spot with out phrases, set to the pure rhythms of the biosphere and the patches of our lifetime that slip out and in of desires. Within the following interview, she speaks about her inspiration and course of behind her artistic work and what it means to choreograph for the digital camera.

What and/or who drew you to dancing?

The final scene in Soiled Dancing the place Patrick Swayze jumps off the stage and rallies his co-workers/performers struck me so laborious. The facility a gaggle of individuals have after they work collectively is highly effective and I’ve at all times rallied individuals to make change by dance. Additionally, who didn’t love Patrick Swayze! I used to be enrolled in ballroom and latin dance periods round this time and I used to be very upset to not be shifting just like the group did. I did nevertheless find yourself competing for the UK and coming second on a couple of events from the age of 8+. The Blackpool Tower holds some particular recollections for me.

I used to observe movies like Grease and Soiled Dancing on repeat and needed to bop like them. It was such an unbelievable escapism and it introduced us collectively as a household. There was at all times singing and dancing in my home rising up.

My mum had thought it to be good for me to do one thing of a bodily nature, versus the classroom situation, as a result of my prognosis of dyslexia and ADHD.

Nonetheless from Damselfly.

How do you method language in your work as an artist?

In my movies I haven’t actually, language has at all times been a blockage for me. I exploit emotions and instinct to create and I belief what comes from that place of freedom the place limitations or constraints from written language would possibly maintain me again.

When creating tune lyrics I’ve to go to that very same quiet place I do when dancing and I freestyle to a beat and start to type the tune this manner. It’s a extremely pure course of between myself and the producer. I normally convey the samples for us to make use of too and this additionally helps type the monitor. It’s all very collaborative.

I’ve a podcast referred to as Move Beyond Words the place we converse to completely different creatives who’re Neurodivergent and the conversations are at all times very pure… Nicely, in Collection Two conversations are. Collection Two flows a lot smoother as we have been in individual and Charlotte Edmonds and I converse to the likes of Choreographer Corey Baker, chair of Southbank Centre and Vogue photographer Misan Harriman, Artist Lu Williams, Actor from Emmadale Micheal Parr, Intercourse educator Ruby Uncommon,TV Presenter, founding father of Glassett and Hooste, Laura Jackson and different inspiring creatives who occur to be Neurodivergent.

What are some ways in which movie has served your choreographic imaginative and prescient?

Firstly, I bear in mind seeing dance on movie initially. This movie opened with water dripping down somebody’s hand as they lay within the bathtub after which we slowly started to be invited into witnessing extra of the physique shifting. Seeing the physique so shut and the way it moved with the digital camera caught with me. I bear in mind watching and considering, that is it, I do know what I wish to do, I wish to inform tales with my physique. I had by no means been uncovered to artwork movies like this earlier than and my world simply exploded. I felt like my means of experiencing and seeing the world was being understood for the primary time in these “arty movies”.  

Choreography is an expression of how I really feel music. It’s a name and response, and the 2 disciplines come hand in hand for me. Processing my feelings by the medium of dance usually implies that the story behind my choreographic movies is seldom linear. So I normally movie all concepts first after which create the story afterwards. 

I’ve at all times made my very own work, and movie permits so that you can be expressive even while you don’t have paid work lined up. It’s broadly accessible, enduring and lengthy lasting. 

As a consequence of having reminiscence ‘black outs’ once I would carry out, I’ve come to like movie because it helps me to recollect precisely what I’ve created and infrequently substitutes as my reminiscence financial institution.

Are you able to describe what your artistic course of was like in Damselfly?

The method was very ad-hoc. The tune got here actually fairly naturally after Tony Nwachukwu (producer of Attica Blues, Mo Wax) and I labored on the monitor collectively. I’d initially deliberate to journey overseas to work with one in all Solange Knowles’ choreographers, however the pandemic had put an finish to our desired timeline. Ultimately there was a 2 week window of availability between each myself and Maya Taylor; and I made a decision to move out regardless of the possibility she could have to go away for LA. 

I locked in a director who was in a position to assist produce the shoot however I obtained the information he was unable to shoot as a result of the next paying job as I landed in New Orleans. I then had 10 days to tug a shoot collectively in a metropolis I had by no means been to. I had forged two fantastic dancers with the help of Maya and I started rehearsals totally centered and knew I might make it occur, and fortunately I did. Instagram is such an excellent useful resource. I met Alejandro (DOP) and we started shaping the crew from there.  

What do you consider is lacking within the arts?

Cash and respect for the work we do and the way a lot the humanities profit all people. 

The place do you see your self going subsequent – what are you engaged on at the moment?

I’m in such an enormous transitional interval in each facet of my life and I’m recovering from having birthed my son. While recovering my thoughts is whirling on, I’ve secured funding for the following venture which can be set in Sydney, Australia. Will probably be a movie combining my music and motion, however way more experimental and uncooked. I want to see myself being extra genuine to the instinctive means I work, and having the tip outcome being extra reflective of that. 

It’s time to point out my true self and be extra open and in entrance of the digital camera. There are some massive adjustments coming for me as I enter this new chapter.

Nonetheless from Damselfly.

How do websites affect your creative selections?

I want to say they don’t, however the unhappy actuality is to be seen, you do must cater to some web site’s codecs and beliefs to ensure that your work to get recognised by a wider viewers. Nonetheless, I’m consciously shifting away from this method because it does little to serve me artistically, and in spite of everything that’s the reason I do what I do.

In case you may give a selected group entry to the sphere of dance, what group would that be?

I wouldn’t give desire to 1 explicit group. Dance has the capability to be all-inclusive and welcome all. It’s the gatekeepers who must reassess their method to accessible occasions and alternatives for my part. I clearly perceive the Neurodivergent group and our wants however I don’t wish to prioritise one group as that is what has been the difficulty beforehand with neurotypical individuals being put on the forefront of wants being met. 

Extra of Elizabeth’s work may be discovered on her web site at Observe her on Instagram @elizabethrosearifien.

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