Choreographers!!!! Choreographers!!!!

Choreographers!!!! Choreographers!!!!

One of the biggest pleasures of making this project a reality was working with choreographers. Getting in sync to communicate what I needed to express through their own vocabulary of movement was amazing.
The human body as the instrument– and the music as the excuse to create beautiful images.

I got extremely lucky with the amazing pool of choreographers we gathered. They are incredibly different and the contrast they brought to the table was the perfect fit for the experimental approach we decided this project should have from the very beginning.

Let me start by the most recognizable of the team, el seƱor Jordi Caballero. To be totally honest, Jordi wasn’t in the original list of choreographers for the movie. His long list of credits (let’s just name two people he has worked with to give you an idea: The Spice Girls Reunion World Tour and Cher) made him seem too unattainable. But the image of the gorgeous tango he choreographed for a commercial of our star Maureen Palacios kept coming to my mind. And the idea of converting a fight between two brothers into a tango was too demanding to settle for anybody with less experience. So I collected all my courage and gave him a call. His answer (obviously he said yes) was just the beginning of an endless list of acts that proved that Jordi is one of the most generous artists I have ever had the pleasure to work with. The piece he choreographed for Maureen, Colin and Thomas is incredibly gorgeous and very poetic. I can’t wait to see the reaction of the audience when they see the scene on the big screen!

The next two choreographers I will mention are the fabulous Betsy Uhler and Elizabeth Tramontozzi. Both are the founders of L.A. Unbound, a dance company that shares with Sunset Junction many of its attributes: open, experimental, organic, playful and very committed. Betsy was involved in 3 pieces. The first one she wasn’t even aware of! The day we shot the camera test (first ever shoot for the whole project) Maritza Navarro and I soon realized that we should have a sequence to be able to dance multiple times, so we used parts of Betsy’s piece from a previous show and pieces of our own choreography. The result was so stunning that we decided to make it an official part of the movie as soon as we saw it edited. Another piece Betsy was responsible for was the ballet class. With her natural talent and experience as a teacher, it was very easy for her to create a sequence of very cool movements to the great song Congratulate Our Thievery by Lemon Sun. It just not only felt like a real class to all of us in the scene, but her sense of musicality made it fun and beautiful. Her third collaboration was with her partner in crime Elizabeth Tramontozzi. They created the choreography for the last musical number of the movie. The idea was to move more into a classical approach of Broadway musicals and the result was a blast!

Alexa Roman was always my first option for the opening number. I wanted a piece full of drama and technical difficulty that would express the anger our protagonist feels at the beginning of the film. Alexa delivered exactly that! Her piece is incredibly strong and visually stunning. The use of the oversized wind machines was perfect and the result is hard not to fall in love with.

The crazy talented Brandi Krieger was a no brainer for the strong new-feminist piece to the incredible music of Useless Keys (White Noise). Every time I see a piece by Brandi I get surprised, entertained and wowed. Her sense of flow is impeccable and the way her moves evolve is pretty magical. He collaboration in the movie is equally stunning.

Another choreographer I knew I wanted to invite to this project from the very beginning was Mary John Frank. All of her pieces are incredibly unique, with a deep sense of commitment and a visual style that is very compelling. She used the song Me Voy by Maleco Collective and the result is incredible sexy, stunning and very entertaining. Having Mary John, Maritza and the incredibly talented Bekah (Spurgeon) dancing in high heels is one of my favorite memories of the whole production. Mary John delivered, exceeding all my expectations (and they were really high!)

One of the happiest accidents during the production was having the fabulous Juan Toledo working on a choreography with Maritza Navarro. They jumped in last minute when the original plan fell through and came up with one of the most fun, musical and visually engaging pieces of the entire movie. Their sense of fun and the way they used the concept of “a party” was right on the money. Juan is an amazingly gifted young artist and I have the feeling we will be seeing so much from him in the future!

Last but not least is my muse Maritza Navarro. She is simply fearless. Or even better: she is great at taming her fears and making them work for her. Her sense of responsibility towards the creative process is flawless and her approach to the lines of the body is very sophisticated. We worked together in the “Many Lovers” piece, also experimenting and using a non-linear structure, working with guys that never danced before. The result was awe inspiring! She was a star on the dance floor and behind the scenes.

Sunset Junction: A Personal Musical proved to be an incredible blessed project through the amazing pool of choreographers and dancers it put together. And their pieces will live on in digital images for ever!

Thank you guys!!!

Jesus M. Rodriguez

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