A number of choreographers have been inspired by the movement of birds.
Sadek Waff, creator of excitingly precise “murmurations” like the one mentioned above, is also inspired by street dance – especially the poppy hip-hop moves known as Tutting and ToyMan.
The nature lover and founder of the dance group Géométrie Variable makes excellent use of both and channels the swarm spirit of a star swarm with human dancers, whose lower halves remain firmly rooted. It’s all about hands and arms, punctuated by the occasional hunchback.
As he notes on his Instagram profile:
There is magic everywhere, the key is being able to look and listen in silence. Like a cloud of birds that forms waves in the sky, each individual has their own identity, but also an irreplaceable place in the whole.
To achieve this kaleidoscopic murmur, Waff’s dancers drill for hours, count aloud in unison, and refine their gestures to the point where the individual is picked up by the group.
Using mirrors can enhance the illusion:
The reflection brings a symmetrical dimension, like a calm body of water that looks at the spectacle from a different angle and adds an additional dimension, an extension of the picture.
The larger the group, the more dazzling the effect, although a video with a smaller-than-usual group of dancers – 20 total – helps isolate the components Waff brings to bear in his bird-inspired work.
We are particularly excited about the murmur that Waff created for the closing ceremony of the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo, where both professionals and amateurs in matching black COVID caution masks are used to talk about the event’s themes of “Harmonic Cacophony” and “Moving Forward.” “To embody. (Note that the first row of dancers are wheelchair users.)
See more of Sadek Waff’s murmur on his YouTube channel and Instagram.
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Ayun Halliday is the chief primologist of the East Village Inky Zine and author, most recently by Creative, not famous: the little potato manifesto. follow her @AyunHalliday.