It's the most wonderful time of year for fashion and fierce fall fashion/dance collabs are all over the place. But we had to pick our jaws up off of the floor after watching the new dancetastic Marc Fisher LTD footwear commercials. The shoe brand created one of the most compelling ads we've seen thanks to the fancy footwork of six dancers and the choreography of "So You Think You Can Dance" alum Ellenore Scott. We talked with the multi-talented artist to find out how choreographing for a fashion commercial compares to creating routines for live shows on Broadway, like King Kong (which opens Nov. 8th). Check out our interview where Scott shares tips on what you can do to also become a choreographer in the biz one day.
How did choreographing for this footwear fashion line differ from your typical choreo projects on Broadway?
Choreographing for the Marc Fisher LTD commercial was very different than working on Broadway. I always emphasize performance quality to my dancers and make sure they're very aware of their faces while dancing. What was unique about this project was the fact that their faces weren't part of the campaign. In order to emphasize the footwear and make the shoes stand out, I had to get the same energy and performance quality in just their feet and legs. I made sure the movements were dynamic and energized so that you can feel their performances
What are some challenges that come with choreographing for a fashion campaign like this one?
When I started doing pre-production for this commercial, I realized I love to choreograph arm movements in tandem with leg movements. Because of how we shot the feet, the arms had to be wrapped around each dancer so they weren't in the shot. The movements became a little more difficult when the arms were out of the picture, so finding moves that still looked cool but were easy to do was a bit challenging.
What was your favorite part of this project?
My favorite thing about this project was watching the dancers work with the director of photography. Seeing the images that were being captured was so much fun. I love being behind the scenes and on the other side of the camera to see what it's capturing. The movements looked so different from one shot to the next and it was awesome to see how vibrant the shoes became on film.
What inspired your choreography for this project?
When I began choreographing for this project I wanted to make sure that each shoe style had its own specific style of movement. I had to find a balance of individuality for each style as well as a cohesive theme for the line. The shoes are beautiful, but strong so that was one of my main inspirations for the movement. For the combat boot series I wanted it to be slightly militaristic and was very inspired by the theme "line up." Finding the rhythm of the shoe styles was very important for me. I was also inspired by the look of the shoes and the type of people that would wear those specific shoes, and geared the choreography towards those people.
Why do you think fashion designers have such a fondness for dancers to show off their designs?
Fashion designers love dancers because of their body awareness and the beautiful lines they create. Dancers have a way of being smooth and sharp, and that gives a dynamic texture to any accessory or garment. Seeing a piece of clothing or accessory move through space is exhilarating. I think it's a unique way to market fashion and will always draw attention to the garment or accessory.
Choreographer Ellenore Scott (center) with dancers and staff for the new Marc Fisher fashion campaign (courtesy Marc Fisher LTD)
What advice do you have for young dancers who want to choreograph one day?
My biggest piece of advice for any aspiring choreographer is to see as much art as possible. I'm inspired by so many different things including paintings, singers, designers, and even orchestras! Art is a beautiful expression and being able to see how other people create can influence how you approach movement. My other piece of advice is to continue to challenge yourself. Never pigeonhole or put yourself in a box. The minute you tell yourself I can only choreograph this "style", you're limiting yourself from so many other opportunities to choreograph. When I first began choreographing I thought I could only choreograph for modern dance companies. But because I opened myself up to other styles and took some risks, I'm now working as an associate choreographer on Broadway and choreographing fashion commercials! I'm lucky to have these opportunities, but I wouldn't have gotten them without having the courage to push myself beyond what I originally thought I could do.