An enthusiastic full house audience gathered, last week, at the Harkness Dance Center in the 92nd St “Y” for a moderated evening of films entitled “DANCE & WATER.”

Bringing attention to issues of global warming, resource management, group dynamics and women’s leadership, is the challenge Commercial Director/Cinematographer/Choreographer Ben Dolphin faced in his ARISING Trilogy of liquid inspired dance films, which he’s been working on for 6 years.

Ed Henkel, Associate Director of the Center, interviewed Ben Dolphin for his Movement Talk Series, dedicated to exploring dance and social issues. Ed, a choreographer himself, formerly danced with Eliot Feld’s American Ballet, Merce Cunningham Company, Erick Hawkins Dance Company and the New York Theatre Ballet.

Ben Dolphin, formerly a dancer with the Alvin Ailey and Twyla Tharp Dance Companies, formed his own multi-generational dance company, Mutual Respect and danced with Buglisi Dance Theatre at Lincoln Center 2013-2014. He attended NYU School of the Arts and taught a course there called Choreography for Camera, which he created. Dolphin, renowned for his liquid commercial work, brought this sensibility to his live action liquid dance films.

Ed Henkel correlated Dolphin’s choreography for camera with his techniques for shooting liquids at high speed in his commercial work with Budweiser, Heineken, Tropicana, L’Oreal, Dove, Coca Cola, etc., and presented his Dolphin LIQUID HIGHLIGHTS REEL, demonstrating a unified approach to Dolphin’s commercials and liquid inspired dance films.

Ben Dolphin’s ARISING Trilogy optimistically explores the dissemination of information and insight at the root of social interaction. Confronted with climate change, water and natural resource depletion, change is presented on a human scale, hailing individual choice and cooperation as effective means for change. Focusing on our complex relationship to water will become a major concern of the 21st Century.

In each of Ben’s films a single “Silver Woman” is featured as the harbinger and catalyst of change, engendering and supporting the notion that women play leading roles in creating the future success of the species and our planet.

Ben’s first film, ARISING, premiered at the Dance on Camera Festival at Lincoln Center featuring 9 dancers and a 10-foot wide waterfall symbolically confronting the individual’s challenge to environmental factors and group dynamics. The film, supported and commissioned by Vision Research, was shot with 2K and 4K Phantom cameras. Ben Dolphin and Digital Kitchen, NY shared editorial.

To view a photo gallery of ARISING CLICK HERE — To view the “Making of ARISING” CLICK HERE

Ben’s second film, ON ARISING, premiered that night. It developed from a live dance performance, the New Museum of Contemporary Art, NYC commissioned him to direct and choreograph for their screening of his first film ARISING. A response to global warming, employing atmospheric effects, eighteen dancers create a prehistoric community exploring the dynamics and similarities of water and human interaction as they strive to grow. Recreating the patterns of waves, weathering and environmental factors on the seascapes and coast of the Pacific Northwest, it brings focus to the ocean’s impact upon our fragile shoreline. Featuring original music by Doug Hall, Ben collaborated with Wild Child Post’s Geraldine Garcia-Esquivel on the editorial and crowd sourced the VO talent for his libretto.

To view a photo gallery of ON ARISING CLICK HERE

Ed Henkel posited the fundamental dilemma to effect the necessary changes to protect the planet and what role art and dance in particular might play. Without hesitation Ben suggested dance serves as a means of inspiration towards these efforts.

Ben’s third film, ARISEN, shot underwater in 3D and premiered in 2D, was sponsored by Panasonic and features original music by Barbara de Biasi. Seven dancers experience a symbolic metanoia in their underwater environment leading to liberation through cooperation — signifying the efforts necessary to effect positive change with our climate, natural resources and environment in the 21st Century. Ben and his associate editor Alex Noble from Absolute Post handled editorial.

Ben commented upon the safety concerns addressed in the production of his work. One of Ben’s dancers, Jessamine Joy, CPR certified, Life Guard and Dive Master, provided safety on Ben’s set. He developed a complex cuing system during dry and wet rehearsals to coordinate the dancers breathing and dancing.

To view a photo gallery of ARISEN CLICK HERE

Audience members participated in a lively Q & A at the conclusion of this most exciting, inspiring and entertaining evening.

About ARISING film & digital 
Ben Dolphin’s full service production company serves the US and world advertising industry with exhilarating media and artworks. In addition to TVCs and web content, it produced each of his films.

Directing industry-leading media since 1991, Ben’s work combines art, science and advertising. Cutting edge techniques spark curiosity, drive awareness and intimately establish a better understanding of ourselves our communities and our planet. “Working together closely demystifies the process; everything is teamwork. Transforming the worlds of advertising, live events, film and television on screens of all sizes, we raise awareness, create excellence and have fun doing it! The world continues to shrink, we’re all in it together and nobody gets out alive! What do you want to create?”