Therapy (Short Film) 2021:
Mental health is key. In this film, we follow three separate individuals in their therapy sessions as they each deal with their unique circumstances. This film revolves around the dialogues happening in the minds of patients during their therapy sessions. In these therapy sessions, we are enlightened by on-going conversations and unclear dialogues that reveal highly charged emotional feelings and struggles.
Fine print: This is a dance film conceptualized, created, and directed by Assistant Professor Sinclair Emoghene in collaboration with his students – Nelson Mejia, Keola Jones, and Megan Siepka (VCU Alum) – at the Virginia Commonwealth University, Department of Dance + Choreography.
This film was made by a team of co-creators whose intellectual inputs were invaluable contributions to the dance film creative process. As such, each cast member was selected through a closed audition process. The audition process and decisions were made through close observation of the individual actor-dancers’ work and integrity to the art of dance making. The cast of co-creators were selected from the VCU Department of Dance + Choreography as a sole entity. An outside videographer was brought in through VCU Department funding to be the paid DOP and editor for the film production.
We give all our gratitude to the Department of Dance + Choreography. This film was made for the VCU Dance Now performance of Spring 2021. Should any additional screening venue be introduced in the future, after the initial performance, all cast members will be notified accordingly.
Intellectual rights reserved and in the care of the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and VCU’s Department of Dance + Choreography.
The Process (View the Entire Making of the film here): Seen here are Megan Siepka, Keola Jones and Nelson Mejia. working separately.
Videographer JHSU Media and assisted by Jillian Sanders.
Therapy (short film), was rehearsed for about two weeks during the pandemic. I work with each dancer separately to avoid sustained contact and possible exposure to COVID-19.
First Clip; Megan Siepka ending scene and process of making the site with the fog. Fun fact - it was too cold outside, we were all shivering and late at night.
Each day at rehearsals we worked as if we were not "making dance," I reduced the seriousness of being at "rehearsals" to just chat, talk and move. We talked about personal stuff a lot of the time, while working on smaller parts of the ideas we had.
Shown here is Nelson Mejia in his creative process, exploring at the barre with the bed:
Each character was at therapy and we worked on telling the story around what was happening in their minds. As a team (the videography; JHSU Media assisted by Jillian Sanders, the dancers and myself) threw in our creative inputs in the hat and came up with some pretty incredible and moving images, motions, and cinematic effects. A great example is Megan Siepka running through town (as you will see in a clip below, we showed how she was essentially running away from the tough questions and thoughts being laid out by her therapist, she was evading. In the film, we chose to go very eccentric with the narrative, in that, we showed Megan rambling away while we see her running away from tackling the real issues that are happening in her life.
Clip of Megan Siepka playing WAR DEFLECTOR in the running scene:
In the very third encounter (played by Keola Jones), we see a newly pregnant young lady, who has been abandoned by the father, and as such she is dealing with a lot of confusing and mental issues. We tried to create a sadness that isn't in the dark but in a clear afternoon time, kind of rendering the sad situation more relatable and more vulnerable. In this scene, I wanted us not to focus on the cinematic but rather a raw and real encounter during the dance (movement, or so).
Clip of Keola Jones playing WAR EMOTIONAL - dancing in the stairs (rehearsals and performance clips):
The end scene of this dance film was very dramatic and deliberate. We wanted to show in narration format, how these characters lay out their feelings and how they rest after each day of dealing with a situation, some of which will last a lifetime.
The bed scene to end was the perfect closing, a great mixture of non-virtuosic movements, cinematic editing, lighting (with nighttime helping simulate emotions, fog for mood, and colors for a dramatic close. I think we relied more on the details of the film which helped us produce a very unique film that saw the balance between dance, film, music and drama.
Clip from the last scenes; Nelson Mejia playing WAR NARRATOR - ending scene in the bed):
Music Composed by Brian Bryson:
Working with Brian Bryson once again was a marvelous addition. He had composed the pieces for my last two dances and this was particularly magical. He created the film score and scored each scene with seamless transitions. One of the most intriguing points of these transactions was the scene with Keola in the stairs into Nelson's bed scene. The music had a bit of an under the water dive sound. Very compelling but not simulating the emotions of sadness, eeriness, or hopelessness. This was very effective. You can listen to the entire composition on Brian's SoundCloud.