CONTEMPORARY SWING

Directed by
Mary John Frank

Transforming traditional space into whimsical playroom

For her final graduation project at NYU, the choreographer-cum-director Mary John Frank decided to make a film inspired by artist and engineer Paolo Salvagione.

'I saw a photograph of an installation he made with 10 swings in a gymnasium on an old military base. I loved how simple and symmetrical the swings were and how they transformed the traditional space into something whimsical. I started thinking on how dance could be incorporated and how movement could compliment the swings...this was the initial spark.'

Another idea behind the sportswear friendly short was to potentially pitch it to a shoe company Converse. They didn't end up buying the concept but Mary secured a lot of choreography and directing gigs from it and she also met her inspiration Paolo Salvagione in person.

'I got to meet Paolo a few months after the shoot when I was visiting San Francisco. We had lunch and toured his studio and there was a conference room with a large swinging table and chairs in it. We sat, did some swinging, and talked. It was a good day!'

The dancers Catherine Kirk, Hiroki Ichinose, Frankie Fernandes, Scottie Stampone, Rachael Hoppock, and Ross Katen didn't have it easy - the film was made in New York City in winter during blizzard and there was no heating in the gym, says Mary:

'Note to self, ask about the heat when location scouting in the winter! This was an embarrassing (and a very cold) mistake.'

BTS from 'Contemporary Swing' - MJ Frank & dancers

MORE IN

EXPERIMENTAL