As I would consider myself and amateur videographer, I am always impressed to view pieces such as “Gravity of Center.” I find myself not only drawn into the movement and artistry of the dancers, but also focused on the camera angles and the “magic” which they create.
Specifically speaking to this film, I think the videographer was able to draw the viewer into the film through the use of close-ups. Often, these close-up shots would result in a change of either dancer or setting. Through zooming in on one particular area, a seamless transition was made, almost as if some sort of “trick” had been performed. In doing this, the zoom became a theme and, as a viewer, I was able to pick up on this. I knew to pay close attention when the camera was zoomed because I was eager to see whether or not another interesting change such as this would occur.
Conversely, the videographer would zoom out when shooting the entire group of performers. This shot was often from a far distance, allowing the viewer to not only see each dancer, but also a large portion of the setting which they were dancing in (particularly speaking about the portion which is danced outside in a field). Where the zoomed close-ups caused the viewer to feel more connected to the ongoing choreography, these zoomed-out shots distanced the viewer from the piece. The camera was angled at eye-level, so that the viewer could observe the movement almost as if they were doing so in person. As the camera panned around the group of dancers, different angles of the movement were visible. This added dynamic to the choreography and also connected to the circular pattern of movement that the dancers were performing – as the dancers moved throughout each other, the camera moved throughout the scene.
Although the camera does not interact with the dancers, it provides an insight into the purpose of their movement. The camera consistently moved slowly, as if on a dolly. Its movements were slow and controlled, often mirroring the motions of the dancers. However, even as the dancers’ dynamics changed and tempos increased, the camera movement remained constant creating a strong contrast. In regards to mental state of the dancers, this generated a theme of confusion. This confusion can be paralleled to the choreography in the way which the dancers moved in and out of each other, dragged each other to new settings, and the way in which the camera was able to “confuse” the viewers with close-up shots.
Titled “Gravity of Center,” I like to think that the purpose of this film was to emphasize this parallel relationship. The camera, to me, represented a strong center: always constant and always stable. On the other hand, the dancers’ constant movement and the constant shift of both dancer and setting is what played with the idea of gravity – a constant force which governs our every day life. I feel that the dancers both worked with and against this force, while the camera simply followed the force in a calm fashion.
Overall, I remain intrigued by the videographer’s ability to use camera angles and distances to change the viewer’s perspective so seamlessly and so often.