Town danceboutique closed its doors after 10 years as a hub for the Washington DC LGBT community. More than a place to dance, it was a social and event space for expansive community interests, a refuge where gay people embraced and developed their identities and a laboratory for creative expression. It is where we came out, had our first kiss, lamented our heartbreaks, celebrated our successes, and felt less alone, all under the disco ball.
I wanted to pay tribute to the space, so I contacted modern dancers Matthew Cumbie and Sam Horning (Dance Exchange) with the idea of making a short dance film. I wanted to replicate the experience of going to the club, meeting a cute guy and doing the dance of desire that inevitably ends in leaving the club. I also wanted to inspire my audience to reflect on their own experiences there and how those moments shaped them and leave them with a feeling of celebration as well as resonance of what has been lost, both personally and as a community that is becoming even more segmented with the loss of this large cultural space.
The amazing Ed Bailey (co-owner/DJ) gave us an evening to create an impromptu performance. I did two walkthroughs with the dancers to communicate my ideas and determine basic choreography, then shot the sequence using a handheld steadicam and a sony A7sII with a 28mm lens.
Due to these amazing dancers, we did it all in four takes. Initially, Ed was going to score the film but since gay icon Robyn dropped a single this week that works as a meditation on loss and meaning, the music fell into place effortlessly.