A first look at FUNDING THE ARTS

I call FUNDING THE ARTS a “living movie” (or in this case a "living cartoon"), because its distinguishing characteristic will be the combination of live dance and a spoken script, with a "moving set" of projected video & computer animation.  Running simultaneously on a screen behind the live onstage action, the "moving set" will not only give us a way to include cartoon-like characters, but it will eliminate the need for sets and props, as a myriad of locations, objects, and special effects will be right there -- up on the screen. Hence, the real performers will appear to interact with both the animated characters (owing a nod to old Fred Astaire & Gene Kelly movies), and with whatever setting or location (an office, a theater, the Pentagon), is projected at the time.  The performers will also be able to open doors, blast off into space, pick pockets, and poison drinks, using only filmed images.

In the snapshot above, animated dancers (created with Life Forms) shoot their pointe shoe guns, making a fireworks display (made with Final Cut Studio's Motion). In addition to providing a foundation for video and animation, FCS will let us include a musical score, compiled from the ballets Coppélia and Swan Lake. -- Felice Lesser




The spy spoof FUNDING THE ARTS, FLDT’s original “living cartoon” is about a group of rogue ex-C.I.A. agents (and their K.G.B. counterparts, now bound in a common venture), who overthrow governments around the world and use the booty to support their first love – their ballet company.  But when they return to the U.S. in the post 9/11 world, they find they are totally unprepared for the realities of running a non-profit organization.  Out of money, they look for a way to keep the company afloat, while trying to save the world from their arch-enemy (not to mention saving dance as an art form), while an apathetic public stays home and surfs the internet.

The production will be choreographed, written, and directed by Felice Lesser, and will feature a simultaneous "moving set" of projected video/computer animation, with which the live performers will appear to interact. It will be premiered at the Howard Gilman Theater of the Baryshnikov Arts Center, May 12-16, 2010. 

Felice Lesser will maintain a BLOG detailing her creative process in the months to come, and we invite you to share in the journey with us, by posting your questions and comments. Once rehearsals with the dancers begin in 2010, we'll add excerpts from the choreography, as well.  We hope you'll enjoy these "backstage looks" into the making of the work, and hope you'll be intrigued enough to attend our performances in May to see how it all turns out.


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