Scottish Ballet released the world premiere of two new dance films by company creatives Sophie Laplane and Nicholas Shoesmith, with the first being screened to celebrate International Dance Day on Thursday 29 April 2021. Dive and Odyssey are both produced in association with Forest of Black; Scottish Ballet have yet again created high production value digital film, incorporating contemporary and ballet dance pieces.

Following the success of her recent Zoom ballet Indoors and dance film Oxymore, Scottish Ballet’s Choreographer in Residence Sophie Laplane is the first to bring her work back to the screen with her experimental and exploratory piece in short film, Dive, which is directed by Oscar Sansom. Laplane partnered with James Bonas (The Crucible) to
create this new piece inspired by French artist Yves Klein and what has become the world’s most famous shade of blue. Set to music by Schubert and Walter Wanderley, it has inevitably a jarring and discordant effect on the viewer. The entire film, choreography, cinematography, mise-en-scene and music is a juxtaposition of the opposites it oft feels, which in turn leaves you feeling susceptible to incongruous and vexed feelings. The white and blue colouring create a sky-like vibe and at moments there is the soft fluffiness present of the clouds. However, the discordance renders this less fluffy for the viewer.

Odyssey also deals with themes of duality but premiered on the 4th May at 1pm, presumably as it’s Star Wars Day. Scottish Ballet Soloist Nicholas Shoesmith is the choreographer of this piece for the company after premiering his socially distanced piece Catalyst for Edinburgh International Festival’s My Light Shines On programme in 2020. The short film, directed by Ciaran Lyons, is a high-octane ride that grabs the viewers and pulls them on a journey through a game-like landscape inhabited by otherworldly beings, where the real and virtual collide. However, there are moments where despite the VR goggles we feel that the pace and jarring of Dive actually does this with more effect. With a great score from both Craven Faults and Squarepusher, we are pulled in by other means and both videos are compelling for the viewer.

Photo courtesy of Andy Ross

Dive and Odyssey are available to watch through Scottish Ballet’s free membership programme until 31 May 2021.