A colorful scenario, planned costumes and even storyline entitled to storyboard (those sketches that show the sequence in which the scenes are filmed): all that is part of the video “We the People,” launched three months ago by Susana Ruiz. At the time she didn’t even know the Lindy Hop and she had the inspiration for this project.
“I used to dance classical and contemporary ballet. Those styles have a few rules: you cannot invent and do whatever you want. To meet Lindy Hop was a liberation: to be able to get every thing that exists inside each one of us, but do it the way you feel like it.”
In the video below, Suzana talks about her experience.
For Suzana, it’s more practical to film alone. When other people are involved, it is normal that other ideas come up, which can lead to arguments that can potentially delay the filming. “We test both things: my idea and yours, and we take the one that turns out to be better.”
The way the ballerina/dancer films can be a reference to those who also want to venture themselves in the recordings of choreographies in video. She says she likes to record the whole choreography at every place she chooses as background. This way, there are more options to select from during post editing. And to make sure shots with a good performance, she has a hack to rest when the body asks for it. And to make adaptations when necessary.
“In some places, the floor does not allow some moves. Moves of rolling are not possible on asphalt, for example. In those cases, I simply simulate the move and keep going with the choreography. Afterwards I do only that move on grass, for example.”
When it’s time to edit, it’s necessary to watch the dance in slow motion and match the cut between one move and the other, in addition to try options to select the best one — which can be stressful for another person to do.That’s why Suzana would rather edit her videos herself.
If dance is the body, music is the soul. To choose the ideal music is to be aware of what one’s hearing. Suzana says that the “music chooses”: She listens to a playlist in random order and, when a song calls her attention, she analyzes the intro and then the whole song, to make sure there is no long drums solo, for example, which would make the song hard to choreograph.
“The choreography videos are authentic. You can play around a lot and use only what turned out good. That’s why I try to make it with as much enthusiasm as possible at the moment, in order to touch even more whoever’s watching.”
The first time Suzana Ruiz recorded a dancing video was back in 2012, when she lived in Berlin and still did not know the Lindy Hop; she used to dance classical and contemporary ballet. The idea came from a friend’s sister, who suggested they filmed it the next day. Since the weather was rainy and gray, they had to film during the brief moments the rain held off. Without having had time to prepare, she moved her body the way she wanted while the camera captured the dance.
“I thought we didn’t even have enough material to do a full song video. I ended up using snippets of moments I didn’t even know were being filmed and I took the chance to put that into the editing. It was something kind of magic.”
The first authentic jazz video done by Suzana was in 2015, along with a friend who has a strong connection with nature — which made it easy to select a place. The recording lasted a whole afternoon at the Botanical Garden in São Paulo, but the ballerina states that she could have applied herself more: “I recorded as if I were dancing in my living room, sortof without energy. I lacked an outward intention, the projection of the movement.
Early last year, Suzana and two friends were training to participate in the All Skate, a Lindy Hop competition in São Paulo. The category was the “Trio Battle Jazz”, in which the groups battle against each other. One of her teammates was from Taiwan and had spent one year in Brazil. During the rehearsals, Suzana had an idea:
“We had done a lot of sequences to participate in the competition. I looked and noticed that we almost had a choreography. Tommy was leaving next week to Taiwan and I thought we could use the opportunity.”
The dancer likes very much to see videos of strangers and discover interesting techniques. But she does not leave Ksenia Parkhatskaya out: “She does some absurd things.” Ksenia’s great motivation is to hear that her videos make whoever’s watching them feel like getting up and starting dancing. Which, besides presenting the dance, the records can serve as inspiration and even change the life of these people; just like it changed Suzana’s.
“The most precious thing in an authentic jazz video is precisely the authenticity: you can feel the person is enjoying it, that they are not doing something mechanical to draw attention. What usually attracts me when I see someone dancing is to see that they are really having fun.
Colaboração/revisão: Sarah Quines