Happy New Year – a Sparks Collaborative Film

September 8, 2020


a Sparks Collaborative Film


. . .

Dancer Helen Hansen French with visual art by Tony Wong Palms

Well, our interdisciplinary project has Sparked a wild, loop-the-loop ride through time and space and with the creative energy of 15 artists, we have transformed an intended live performance into a complex short film, created through online collaboration and social distancing. All of our artists were operating at the very top of their game as we all rolled along unexpected pathways. The overall theme of separation, loneliness and reconnection is pungent in these times and readily gave jump starts to our creative processes.

As this was a totally collaborative project, knowing how unique our process was, perhaps it will inspire you to take a chance and a leap artistically into new territory.  Below is an introduction to our artistic team.  You may know some of them,  but perhaps you will discover an artist new to you, one you may wish to follow in the future.

We began with a script by Sheila Cowley, which got richer and richer, draft by draft, and as always, pointed us to new ways of thinking about the power of words. Visual artists Carrie Jadus, Ana Maria Vasquez and Tony Palms took to heart Sheila’s images and masterfully created their own artistically incisive and beautiful responses.  Dancers Helen Hansen French, Jessica Obiedzinski and Fernando Chon-Qui reflected these images by creating striking solos, each very different but joined in aesthetic, technical and dramatic excellence.

Director, Jim Rayfield, thankfully, kept us on task, even through socially distant constraints.  Our filmmakers Eugenie Bondurant and Mary Rachel Quinn along with assistant Stefanie Davis and photographer Tom Kramer are bringing us on home thanks to their artistry and welcome good humor. Tom Sivak’s score and script voiceovers will be added soon.

Visual artist Ana Maria Vasquez

All of the artists submitted work in progress videos from their studios which gave us extraordinary ideas for moving forward. Insanely numerous phone calls and emails as well as Zoom meetings and affection and respect for each other kept us together.

A one day, socially distanced and masked video shoot, with artists arriving only as needed, took place at Soft Water Studios in St. Petersburg.  Editing is in progress and a showing of the video will take place at The Studio@620 along with an exhibit of works by our visual artists this fall.

As a dancer/choreographer I am used to hands-on and in studio work with artists where I can profit from the nuances of personal contact. This project was terrifically challenging, but successful in that I was pushed to stretch my thinking, artistically if not physically. It also fomented ideas for a new project that centers on dance and poetry, created by dancers and writers. 

Here are images from Happy New Year – a Sparks Collaborative Film. Enjoy!


Dancer Fernando Chon-Qui with visual art by Carrie Jadus


Visual artist Tony Wong Palms sets up for the film shoot at Soft Water Studios


Visual artist Carrie Jadus with work in progress
Dancer Jessica Obiedzinski with visual art by Ana Maria Vasquez

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