I must admit, I’m more of a ‘boards’ person. The stage is my…stage, and not the film studio. On occasion, however, I have been known to make exceptions. A good friend of mine recently came to me with a proposition: a miniseries about a group of young adults just trying to make their way in Melbourne. Sounds trite and overdone, does it not? The twist is that it’s a musical television programme. All original songs in every episode, dealing with their lives and struggles.
The fact that the songs were original was what finally brought me on board, and I agreed to choreograph the dance sequences in the first episode. The result? I’ m enjoying my time immensely. First off was an elaborate musical sequence in an indoor play centre in Jandakot, the main setting. The character of Sandra has married and had children very young, and sings a frenetic piece about the balancing act between rearing a child, holding into her friends, maintaining a healthy relationship with her husband and dreaming of one day returning to her job as a solicitor. The whole thing is filmed inside the play centre, with Sandra’s local Mums N’ Tots group as the backup dancers.
What really intrigued me about the piece was the frantic nature, as befitting the tone of the song. Poor Sandra is feeling pulled in so many different directions, and I hope the combination of lyrics, dance moves and camera angles will instill a similar feeling in the members of the audience, even those who cannot relate. That’s how I’ve designed the choreography, anyway. The scene moves from Sandra having coffee with her friends whilst watching their children play, to her frolicking in the ball pit (to represent her energetic spirit) to her sliding down the slide (to show her lack of control over her life’s direction) to her winding her way through the climbing frame (to illustrate her struggling against misinformation and bad advice from friends and family on raising a child).
We were immensely fortunate to receive permission to film inside a Jandakot kids birthday party venue. Meanwhile…this may be some of my best work yet!