back to news June 17, 2016

One Ohio State Dance Professor and 42 Choreographers Partner to Create an Ode to Dance, Exquisite Corps

Mitchell Rose, associate professor of dance-filmmaking, recently created a dance-film, Exquisite Corps, which has already gone viral in the dance world, with more than 700,000 views online.

Exquisite corpse is a literary form where a story is passed from writer to writer, each picking up where the previous left off. Rose was inspired by this idea and created a dance version of it. Exquisite Corps is the fourth and final in Rose’s film series all employing the editing technique hyper-matchcutting. Every adjacent edit is aligned perfectly in position and continuity when using this technique.

 “Hyper-matchcutting has a powerful visual effect of creating equalization,” he said.

Rose explained that when a new image takes place of an old image with the same continuity of action, it’s saying these things are equal. He used this idea several years ago in his film Globe Trot, which represented a statement of unity across people of the world.

The 5:49-minute Exquisite Corps, available on YouTube, includes the involvement of 42 well-known American contemporary choreographers. Robert Een composed the upbeat score accompanying the film. Rose hoped to create an ode to the connectedness within a broad community of artists who share a common goal. Each choreographer participated in Rose’s process that honored differences and eccentricities.

The film took two years to make because as Rose relied on each choreographer to do his or her part, he had to wait for them to deliver the footage. By February of this year, Rose was anxious to keep the project moving, so he went to New York and filmed six people within two days.

“That really brought a much needed momentum about the project,” he added.

Rose sent the accumulated video to each choreographer and they were told to video two to 10 seconds of dancing based off the previous participant. Rose sent a manual out to every participant with a grid pointing out details needed for exact alignment from one person to the next. While editing Rose had to find a good spot for each section to connect to the next.

Is Rose pleased with the results?

“In Exquisite Corps, I again wanted to portray a unity, but this time amongst the community of choreographers,” he said. “Choreographers are members of a great family, a family bound together by an indomitable passion for dance, and the shared experience of trial by sweat.” 

Image: Meredith Monk

By Samantha Ruwe, ASC Communication Student