Help us film a ballet inspired by tales of the ancient Celts. Twenty minutes of beautiful, mythic splendor.
We are trying to make a ballet film that is contemporary, true to its roots, and accessible to everyone.
Most ballets tell a story. Often, a love story. And while we adore those ballets, we want to do something a bit different. We want to tell you a story about social roles; about their fundamental structures and trade-offs; about the self-defining path we all must walk. We want to ask: will you march to the beat you've been given? Or---will you make your own way into the future?
The story we chose is from Celtic mythology. We chose a mythic story because myths are an old and simple form of storytelling designed to reach and inspire everyone. Myths have this unique ability to echo across generations---to say something true about people in all times.
The film will adapt a new ballet by Nomad's Artistic Director Kristen McGrew. Kristen's family origins trace back to the Scottish Highlands, and it is this heritage that set her on the path to composing the piece. The story Kristen drew from is an ancient Celtic one (think: druids telling tales around a bonfire) about lost souls trapped in a place between life and death. In the story, the lost souls establish an uneasy order and a new way of life. They continue in this middle-ground until one of them sees a path to ascension, takes it, and regretfully leaves the others behind.
I know that sounds complicated (hopefully beautifully so!), but the ballet's emotional center is, I believe, totally understandable for everyone. You can't help but be swept away by the mood of it. The dancers' limbs move with such pathos to Kristen's steps; it is really heartbreaking, but also inspiring. It is a ballet about ascending to another level, mixed with the inevitable sense of loss that comes with leaving something behind. Yes, it is bittersweet, but it's no bummer. Every time I leave rehearsal I am filled with awe and appreciation for the beauty around me. It's precisely that sense of wonder that I want to impart with this film.
WHAT WE STAND FOR
Nomad Contemporary Ballet
Nomad's mission is simple: to foster dance. This means encouraging young choreographers (who often find it difficult to put on performances on their own), as well as dancers, costume designers, filmmakers, photographers and other artists that make dance go round. To give fledgling choreographers their opportunity to shine, Nomad regularly pairs multiple choreographers together for a single night of dance. Nomad also plans to expand to regions not normally served by premiere ballet. This film will be a HUGE part of their expansion efforts, and will serve as the anchor point of their future fundraising and recruitment efforts. For Nomad, this is not intended just to be a dance film; it's meant to be a big push into the future.
Vesper was founded in the belief that artists are everywhere, and that they need fostering, support, encouragement and a vibrant channel in which to place their work. We are not about being cool or exclusive. We are about being open, honest and emotionally present. We're about telling new artists "Yes" and pressing established artists to continue in their most deeply held beliefs and passions. We offer partnership, mentoring, and help with marketing and distribution. We foster art and artists with a "public" focus: work that can inspire and make a difference to anyone.
This film will be Vesper's most ambitious project to date and will be our anchor-point moving forward. For us, just like for Nomad, this will be a huge part of what keeps us pushing into the future.
We are four extremely lucky artists from small towns who happened to make a splash in the Big Apple.
Kristen McGrew is Nomad's Founder and Artistic Director. She was the Ballet Mistress at The Eglevsky Ballet for ten years under the direction of Ali Pourfarrokh, where she also performed for thirteen years. She is currently teaching at The American Theater Dance Workshop and as a member of the ballet faculty for Junior Division and Professional Performing Arts School at The Ailey School.
Lalique Martinez is Vesper's Art Director. She is a Catholic Artist, dedicating her craft as a means and vehicle to spiritual exploration. A Native of San Antonio, Texas, Lalique Martinez received her Art education starting in Milan, at Istituto Marangoni, and finalized her BA Honors of Fine Art in London. Although Texas remains a major fount and inspiration for her work, as well as home hub for her studio. She now resides in New York where she continues to work for Vesper, as well as the Art Production and Conception of this hopeful to be film!
Melissa Bartucci is Nomad's Assistant Director and Photographer. Melissa trained at the Joffrey Ballet School in NYC. She guested with various dance companies, including Ballet West before settling with the Eglevsky Ballet as a Principal dancer. She retired from dance to raise a family, picked up a camera and became the wonderful dance photographer she is today.
And I am Joshua MacLeod, Vesper's Founder and Director. I am a filmmaker, photographer, writer and lawyer. My photography has been featured in Vogue Italia and at the Slideluck Potshow. My filmmaking work with Vesper is both documentary and art-focused, with an emphasis in music and fashion. I run my studio out of NYC, but keep close to ties to Austin, TX, where Vesper began.
WHAT YOUR DONATION WILL GO TOWARD
Gear, crew, locations, rehearsal, food, distribution, and postproduction! We need support for every aspect of this project. The budget we have set out is really modest, and we may indeed end up going out of pocket on some expenses that the Kickstarter won't cover. We really want to make this film and share the infinite sense of wonder that ballet gives us. We think the audience for ballet is bigger and younger than it's been over the last decade, and we'd very much like to try to find these new fans. So we're keeping our expectations as tame as possible while hoping for the best. Making a short film is an expensive proposition, and we could really use your support!
AND FINALLY, HERE ARE OUR DANCERS
To whom we owe great thanks for their incredible efforts and dedication!
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
One major risk with this project is delay. We are working on a tight schedule with performance season looming (late fall). We want to beat the season, but we want to have a perfect film too. In the event of a delay, we will notify our contributors promptly.
Another challenge is the fact, as mentioned above, that this will be our largest production to date. Productions are incredibly complicated, and as the scale increases so, of course, does the complexity. We intend to consult experts within our creative community as issues arise so that we can find the best solutions within our budget.
Thank you so much for your support!!
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
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As a reward for being awesome and contributing to the film you'll get a thank you email from the Nomad and Vesper teams!Estimated delivery:
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You'll get the Official Vesper/Nomad Promo Kit, with behind-the-scenes photos and a guide to contemporary ballet in New York City (PDF). We will publicly recognize your contribution on our Facebook pages and on Vesper Magazine (vespermagazine.com), plus a thank you email from our team.Estimated delivery:
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Invitation to an exclusive online screening of the completed film, prior to its wide release, plus a one-of-a-kind photograph shot as part of our study of New York City’s dancers and choreography. These photographs were shot during rehearsals on director Joshua MacLeod’s vintage Nikon FM2. And everything above!Estimated delivery:Add $10 USD to ship outside the US
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An exclusive behind-the-scenes clip from the set, delivered digitally before the release of the film, and everything above.Estimated delivery:Add $10 USD to ship outside the US
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Be named as a donor in the credits on our film! Plus everything above.Estimated delivery:Add $10 USD to ship outside the US
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Be a guest at a Nomad rehearsal, and get a personal letter from artistic director Kristen McGrew! And everything above.Estimated delivery:Add $10 USD to ship outside the US
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A photographic portrait session with Lalique Martinez. She’ll shoot your portrait old school with a beautiful medium format camera on film, and print and frame your favorite from the session. (Must be in NYC, San Antonio or Austin.)Estimated delivery:Add $10 USD to ship outside the US
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A personal 60 minute ballet lesson from choreographer Kristen McGrew (must be in NYC), and we will digitally publish an interview feature of you on VesperMagazine.com under the heading “WORLD’S MOST AWESOME PERSON.” And everything above!Estimated delivery:Add $10 USD to ship outside the US
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(Limited to 5) Come to the wrap party.* Meet the team and get an exclusive behind-the-scenes experience. And everything above! *transportation to and from event not includedEstimated delivery:Add $10 USD to ship outside the US
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An invitation to the first private screening!* Be in the room when cast and crew sees the finished product for the first time. Plus, Joshua MacLeod will write you a poem and Kristen McGrew will dedicate an original phrase of dance to you (we’ll film it in slow motion and send it to you). And everything above! *transportation to and from event not includedEstimated delivery:Add $10 USD to ship outside the US
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Dinner with Joshua MacLeod, Lalique Martinez, Kristen McGrew and Melissa Bartucci at the Russian Tea Room in NYC.* Dinner’s on us. Plus, Kristen McGrew will create an original 30-second dance piece (we’ll film it for you and put it online) and Joshua MacLeod will write an essay, on the theme(s) of your choosing. And everything above.Estimated delivery:
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Joshua MacLeod will write you a full-length book on the artistic topic of your choosing, and Kristen McGrew will compose a full-length ballet on the theme of your choosing. Plus everything above.Estimated delivery:
- (28 days)