Interview with NACHMO Alum Laura Lamp

Choreographer and NACHMO Alum Laura Lamp dancing a work by Alaine Handa for A.H. Dance Company.

Choreographer and NACHMO Alum Laura Lamp dancing a work by Alaine Handa for A.H. Dance Company.

What made you decide to participate in NACHMO Film? What inspired your short film "Snow"?

I had choreographed a dance piece for NACHMO before, but I wanted to challenge myself and create a dance film in a month. "Snow" was inspired by the beauty of Park City, Utah.

Laura Lamp and another dancer Parallax choreographed by Laura for NACHMO 2015

Laura Lamp and another dancer Parallax choreographed by Laura for NACHMO 2015

How did you feel about the relatively short work time? (NACHMO is generally dedicated to a one-month creative process in January, allowing for some post-production in February.)

I loved having a short work time. I like to work on things slowly and take time to reflect on the process, but instead I had to focus on the task at hand and make clear decisions quicker than I usually do. That forced me to move forward confidently with my decisions. It only took one day to shoot everything I needed. The editing afterwards is what took the most time. 

What was an initial struggle and how did you help overcome it?
Dancing in several feet of snow in freezing temperatures was the biggest struggle in making this short. The environment changed the way I was able to move, and my approach was to surrender to the cold which ended up becoming part of the story.

CHETEK

CHETEK

How did you first get interested in working with a camera?
My boyfriend, Kevin Tadge is a filmmaker and suggested that I try making a dance film. The first one I made was well received and won a couple of awards, and so I've been experimenting ever since.

What do you think is a unique feature of being able to work with a camera vs. working for the stage?
Working with the camera lets me have more control over exactly what the audience focuses on. I love that I'm able to shoot in various locations and tie them together through editing.  

Still from the documentary Dreaming to Escape

Still from the documentary Dreaming to Escape

What do you miss in live performance that you would like to see captured more on film?
I don't think the ephemeral quality of live performance can't be replicated in film. There is a certain sort of magic that happens when people come together to watch a dancer or a group of dancers performing. Although that can't quite be captured on film, I love when I'm able to watch a film and then come back to it again after a period of time and notice how my reaction to it is different because I have changed and grown.

Who are the film creators you enjoy watching, be it with or without movement?
Elizabeth Wood really inspires me. I love what Celia Rowlson-Hall creates, Wim Wenders' Pina, Ron Fricke's Baraka, and of course anything by Wes Anderson and Paul Thomas Anderson

A current work in progress by Laura Lamp

A current work in progress by Laura Lamp

Any advice for budding choreographers/cinematographers?

The important thing is to keep creating. I've learned so much just by trying again and again to make dance films. That goes for life, too!

Check out more of Laura's work on instagram @lauralamp, on her website: lauramlamp.com, and of course on vimeo.