The time constraint was a challenge: We rehearsed on Saturday, shot the video on Sunday, and then edited it through the night and sent the video to Scooter on Monday. It’s also been amazing to see how well the video did without the actual artist in the video, which doesn’t really happen much and brought the dance to the forefront of the song. I think it resonated because of the simplicity of everything. The whole video is just girls dancing together and having fun. The video was shot in New Zealand, and all the girls are from ReQuest Dance Crew and my studio, the Palace Dance Studio. The outfits popped, and the video allowed everyone around the world to get up and dance.
ROBYN, "CALL YOUR GIRLFRIEND" (2011)
Maria “Decida” Wahlberg: Robyn and I had been working together for about a year and a half, and I'd been helping her out with creating a more versatile body language for the Body Talk albums and tour. My ambition from the start with her was to coach her to develop her own way of dancing, rather than pick up a perfect choreography or mimic my style. We'd been watching everyone from Tina Turner to Freddie Mercury: People who weren’t “good dancers” in the typical sense, but rather “body talkers” with their own unique, liberated styles.
Director Max Vitali had an idea to spotlight that work for the “Call Your Girlfriend” video. By then I'd had lots of time to understand Robyn’s own motion spectrum, so for the video I wanted to create something that really looked like freestyle. When I started working with the choreography, I didn't know it would become a one-take -- I think Max wasn't sure either, because he had booked two weeks of editing that never really came into use. It was just chop-chop because of Robyn's amazing performance! She just did about seven takes before nailing it, and it was a wrap.
The biggest challenge was being up all night before the shoot while Martin Phillips and Eric Belanger programmed the perfect lighting for every part of the choreography. On set, Max and I were hiding in a very, very small tent -- we didn’t want to be seen on camera since Robyn moves around in every angle of the hangar. The director of photography, Crille Forsberg, also did a brilliant deed: He was basically dancing with Robyn and the big camera while filming it, and his assistants were working just as hard to not to get the cables in the frame.
Seeing the reaction has been truly amazing. Remember, this was 2011, so the digital landscape was a bit different. Because algorithms and big data weren’t in our daily vocabulary, it felt like really authentic attention. Seeing somebody other than a trained dancer move like no one was watching seemed to strike a chord for many. A particularly fun moment was when were at SNL, where Robyn was performing, and Taran Killam suddenly said he filmed a little something that he wanted to show us.
CIARA, "PROMISE" (2006) / "RIDE" (2010)