If you're a ballet fan, you've probably already noticed the dance films created by fomer Miami City Ballet dancer Ezra Hurwitz. His thoughtful mini-documentary on New York City Ballet principal Sara Mearns and his beautiful dance-on-camera short—featuring New York City Ballet principal Gonzalo Garcia and Pennsylvania Ballet soloist Evelyn Kocak—have turned heads. Since we first caught sight of him, Hurwitz has been remarkably productive and he's just finished his latest project with New York City Ballet soloist and resident choreographer Justin Peck.
Peck and Hurwitz teamed up to create a dance film based on Peck's piece HEATSCAPE, choreographed for Miami City Ballet and inspired by the colorful murals in Miami's Wynwood neighborhood. "My approach to filmmaking is extremely informed by my experience as a dancer," says Hurwitz. "When you’re unfamiliar with movement, following the dancer and keeping their limbs in the frame can be anxiety provoking. Understanding the movement before I shoot it allows me to anticipate which movements I want to focus on and how I want to compose my shots."
Hurwitz's dance training influences how he approaches the post-production aspect of his films, too. "With dance on film it’s often essential to have fluidity between shots, even if the moments aren’t supposed to actually be continuous. Even when we inevitably forget to shoot a necessary movement or transition, figuring out the best way to cut between shots based on the movements we did capture is a skill that comes from having been a dancer."
Hurwitz plans to continue experimenting with dance on film, and we're very excited to see where that takes him next.