State of Grace
State of Grace is a dance for the camera directed by Diana Stanton. The film celebrates the strength and beauty of women in different stages of life. Filmed in Atascadero's Stadium Park in San Luis Obispo county CA over the course of one year, the video footage shows the change in seasons, which represent the “seasons” of life. The film intends to highlight the "state of grace" in the present moment and honor the adventure of every age.
State of Grace was selected for Screening at the Front and Main Festival in Temecula CA March 2016, ACDA NW Regional Conference in Laramie WY March 2016, the Flying Frame Film Festival in Dixon Illinois in May 2016, and the Petaluma International Film Festival Oct. 2016.
In 2008, Variable Velocity Performance Group of San Luis Obispo California performed the original dance at the Spanos Theatre at Cal Poly. This film project not only marks a new chapter for the life of this dance, but also explores alternative possibilities for movement expression, film making as a choreographic genre, and a new personal adventure.
The project was supported in part by the Allen and Susan Minker CLA (College of Liberal Arts) Endowment from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. It is a physical, intellectual and creative endeavor and features Cal Poly students, faculty and alumni as dancers and videographers.
Reflections on Process
As a movement based artist who has been choreographing for the last 30 years, I continue to search for new ways to to express visual and kinesthetic impulses. I see choreographic film making as a potent and appropriate artistic adventure. In an effort to showcase movement as a medium of communication and bring relevance to Dance as an academic discipline, I do hope for the success of this film Product.
Yet for some of us dancer/choreographers, the process of creating dance endures in the "body mind" and fuels the creative spirit much more than the danced product.
Choreographers create dance for many reasons, but often we create dances as a way to answer questions, to fulfill impulses, to realize dreams and to affirm our ideas. With "State of Grace" we perhaps ask: How can we not only make peace with our state of being, and our age, but celebrate it and fulfill our capacity for beauty? In our culture, where attractiveness is judged against Photoshop perfection, can we find and embody a mystique deeper and more powerful than media standards? Can we reveal a depth, confidence and comfort in who we are and what gifts we have to offer? Can we enjoy the lines, curves, muscle, and flesh that change every day, year and decade? Can our sense of elegance, power and sexuality be more enduring and deeper than a surface image? As our dance expertise and skills change, can our movement reveal individual and unique allure?
As the participants in this project, can we embody something authentic, and thus give our audiences permission to do the same? Can we together find strength in our moments of art making, and can this goal pervade the rest of our lives allowing us to live in the phenomenon of performance even when we are not onstage?
Dance making is a mystery and often SO much more than the choreographed product. The process of creating with a group is very unique and special. When a group of people commits to meeting regularly to bring something to the stage, they create a very meaningful bond that endures beyond the life of the dance they create.
As I continue to pursue choreography, I realize that I, and perhaps others, seek a sense of community, of belonging, and working together on a common goal. One of the things that makes the art of dance so special is the regular meeting of the minds and bodies we call rehearsal. But, time limitations and geographic challenges don't always allow us the necessary rehearsal time to create together and share our experiences in life. My current dance community is spread out and distant, but when we meet, it is obvious that the passion for working together is very much alive and well.
I hope this project will unite a community of artists and integrate new members that will enrich our experiences. I hope we can keep our connections and enjoy moments of deep contemplation, potent artistic exploration, and new bonds of friendship.
By embracing current technology, much of the process (group communication and instruction) for this project will be online via this website and email. Dance enjoys a healthy online presence, and I hope to add to the body of online work with not only the film, but through our creative process on this project.
The group of dancers and videographers has committed to video shooting days in Atascadero, CA. These are special days when those of us crazy enough to rise before dawn travel to our outdoor location, put on our elegant costumes, and prepare to work. We hope to create an artistic moment in the moment. We arrive to dance outside under birds and trees and in grass. We navigate poison oak, dog poo, stickers, cold weather and other interesting dangers as we jump, spin and prance around in the woods. I can't think of a more worthy pursuit.
Lead Cameraman: Kiel Carreau
Photos: Kiel Carreau, Joe Piedalue