IN DANIEL’S WORDS
In 2013 I was awarded a fellowship from the Instituto Sacatar. The Sacatar Foundation, a California 501 (c)3 nonprofit corporation, made it possible. The Foundation provides the primary funding for its residency programs in Brazil.
The nature of their fellowships are to allow “working artists a substantial period of uninterrupted time to concentrate on their work; to reflect and exchange ideas with the other resident Fellows: and if so desired, to collaborate with, share skills with, or present work to members of the local communities.”
All of which I had the rare and awesome opportunity to do.
The films that you’ve seen are reflective of some of the work I produced during the residency. I kept a blog/journal which you can access HERE on the site. It is not easy to articulate the rich, layered experience which Sacatar provides, however the journal captures it vividly–written from Bahia, during the rainy season–as it was happening, so I encourage you to read this.
The film-making was a part of the experience, which included wonderful opportunities to work: with the legendary Balé Folclórico da Bahia and the Escola de Dança of the Cultural Foundation of Bahia, both in Salvador; with various schools on the island of Itaparica, with students ranging from elementary-school age through high school; with the other artists at Sacatar and in the community; with people living on the island and on the mainland.
I have had the great fortune to be selected for a second residency, the first time was in 2003. The program is unique world-wide and is one of the handful of US-based international artist residency programs devoted to intercultural exchange and cultural outreach. The richness of the experience speaks though the films and photos.
As a choreographer and dancer the gorgeous studio I lived and worked in for two months is as good as it gets–sliding doors open directly onto the Bay of the Atlantic Ocean. Living but feet away from the beach and the water shapes the time there daily, if not hourly. The pull of this wondrous ecosystem, of life changing in all directions without pause: the tides, the crabs, the boats, the people.
The Bay here, specifically The Bay of All Saints (Baía de Todos os Santos), is an actively churning body. The drama between high and low tide never diminishes. When high the water laps up against Sacatar’s pier (where I danced Pier, filmed by Rafael Silva de Carvalho), when low, the sea floor is exposed with its infinite marvels and curiosities. The discoveries are endless. Hours went by simply studying hermit crabs vying to take over another crab’s homestead. Low tide, so low that sometimes we would joke that one needed a taxi just to get to the water, also lays bare the fishermen’s lanchas, small wooden boats.
Over several mornings I walked onto the beach, camera and tripod in hand, sunscreen plastered, and improvised in the boats without music. No boats were harmed in the making of this film! I shot this footage myself. With one exception. You will notice a few shots where the water is high around the boat. Fellow artist, fellow Magnolia Sugar Wilson, provided a pair of helping hands. Thanks Mags!
To read about the full Sacatar experience, please visit the Brazil Blog page.
Watch the full Brazil Series, all five films made in Bahia including Rock The Boat, HERE on YouTube.