Part abstract dance, part music video, part environmental activism, this film tackles the issue of plastic pollution in our oceans through the medium of dance. 14 young dancers, all under the age of 10 perform a blend of modern and interpretive choreography, their movements mimic a school of fish trapped and struggling to survive in a sea of microplastics. The narrative arc of the dance, created by London choreographer Lori Silmon-Neilson, evolves from isolation to unity; apathy to empathy; and hopelessness to optimism.
At the climate protests of 2019, choreographer Lori Silmon-Neilson observed the fierce enthusiasm of the children marching (including many of her dance students) and was compelled to choreograph a piece where these young dancers could express their earnest determination in stopping the plight of the planet. The Ray Sisters directing duo, teamed up with this project in the early stages and Austin Ray actually composed the film’s instrumental music “Tides of Change” in the month leading up to rehearsals. By pairing atmospheric sounds of waves with a pulsing beat and cinematic swells, the music evokes the urgency and emotion of our oceans’ plastics crisis. Additionally, the costumes were all made from recycled plastic, incorporating fish nets and natural plant dyes.
-- Austin Ray
“Typically when I’m composing the score for a film, it’s always with a finished picture lock. But for ‘Tides of Change’, I had to write and record the music beforehand so that our choreographer could create the dance and rehearse with the kids. Watching the abstract dance movements come to life felt magical--and a rare treat for a composer.”
-- Westin Ray
“This film meant so much to those involved--not only because plastic pollution in the oceans is an issue close to our hearts, but also because the shoot happened (unknowingly) the weekend before COVID-19 lockdown in London. For many of us, it was our final hurrah before months of isolation. For the young dancers, it was an incredible release and the last time they all got to see each other before the film’s Zoom pre-screening.”
-- The Ray Sisters
"We hope the majestic setting of “Tides of Change” will leave viewers in awe of our natural world and inspire them to think consciously about the lasting environmental impact of plastic, and seek solutions for the future."