15 Days of Dance:
The Making of "Ghost Light"
the dance-making process documented by Elliot Caplan
Commissioned by Center for the Moving Image, University at Buffalo, Brian Reeder’s new work for the ABT Studio Company is a ballet for six dancers set to Music for the Theater by Aaron Copland and featuring costumes designed by Reeder.
Dance critic and Professor Ann Murphy writes, "Ghost light, as most theatergoers know, is the light left on in the theater. In Shakespeare's day theaters ritually kept a candle lit. Later it was a gas lamp, and today an electric light stays illuminated through the night to ward off the ghosts of past performances. Reeder's ballet honors the theater, the ghosts, ... And Caplan is the medium, filming the seen to capture the unseen, bringing us a little closer to the beautiful patterns hidden in front of our eyes."
"Caplan and [his] fellow cameraman [Donald DuBois] ... caught the choreographic process at different angles, in varying light, in close up and in long shot. New York City peered through the room's large windows as they filmed, and inside a powerful intimacy reigned over the action."
"[Caplan's] idea was to establish with 15 Days of Dance a new standard of filmed dance preservation and at the same time to capture the choreographic process from the first step to its staged showing. Sixty-eight hours of film have been edited down not to 1.5 or even 3 hours, or even 6, as documentaries at the outer reaches of the form might run, but to 18. While 15 Days of Dance is a document it is far more than that: it is an extended cinematic rumination on the making of art. Graciously, Reeder and the dancers allow us in to view their artistic process, a process closely guarded by most dance makers due, in part, to its intimacy but also due to its often discursive, improvisational nature."