LIVE NOW! "Nulla," a dance film by Jean Claude Billmaier with dance direction by Loni Landon
Jean Claude Billmaier
Nulla is the latest film by New York-based motion picture director Jean Claude Billmaier. The film represents a carefully constructed study of movement, with a crescendo of tension and energy being unleashed to an original score by long-standing collaborator, R&B singer and producer Toulouse.
Developed as a response to our work-driven lifestyles, Nulla visually expresses the daily struggle of the everyday person in winding down and resetting one’s energy levels back to zero. Tension is portrayed as having a life of its own; it slowly makes itself known, settles and then returns as a disruptive force seeking to be released.
This level of tension is achieved through Loni Landon’s dance direction and Evan Copeland’s powerful performance. Working within the confined space of a hotel room, Landon translated the director’s vision into frantic shapes and quick bursts of movement. In particular, she highlighted the performer’s physical confinement by focusing on specific body parts, such as the neck, hands and feet. The film was choreographed with no music and shot with a handheld camera, allowing Copeland to spontaneously experiment with movements, textures and rhythm and work on a fast and constant buildup and release of energy.
Toulouse’s original score complemented the action, crafting an emotionally eerie and surreal soundscape. This film was an opportunity for the musician to compose to dance for the first time. He elaborated on Billmaier’s theme of tension and release by portraying the initial body movements through a tense sonic design, while gradually building momentum with a constant pulsing rhythmic element. He then interpreted the dancer’s final energy release with a series of percussive, soaring beats.
The addition of the over one hundred VFX shots amplifies the ecstatic, yet strenuous process of energy being discharged. By playing with the idea of invisible shards imprisoning us, Billmaier reflects on how our self-imposed restraints only become visible once we acknowledge them and are able to break away from them.
Jean Claude Billmaier:
“Emotions such as anxiety, stress and anger are often portrayed as negative forces trapped within ourselves. With Nulla I wanted to create a place in which all our tensions are released, with the process itself being something ecstatic and gratifying. It’s the release, and finally being able to breathe, that we should be focusing on.”
“Nulla focuses on a theme that many people can relate to. Expressing it meant showing the feeling of confinement using a small space, which made the creative process even more exciting. Finding possibility within limitation is always interesting.”
“My background in dance generally looks at natural forces, flow and relationships. Loni and Jean Claude pushed me in a more natural pedestrian direction, tension-wise. We didn't focus on music at all. Nulla feels more like physical theater to me than a dance to music piece.”
"From the brilliant mind of Billmaier, Nulla is a case study on layers of tension and artful composition in movement. Working a locked edit was great because I like bespoke tailoring to the contours of a story- which means nothing was superfluous. I am excited to have the music be rolled in the folds of something that looks, moves and feels momentous.”
Director: Jean Claude Billmaier (@jcb.haus)
Original score by Toulouse (@musicbytoulouse)
Featuring Evan Copeland (@evanmcopeland)
Produced at JCB Haus
Producer: Joshua Bennet
Choreographer: Loni Landon (@lonifaye)
Director of Photography: Sam Cutler-Kreutz (@samcutlerkreutz)
Gaffer: Josh Herzog (@josherzog)
Editor: Sascha Taylor Larsen (@satisfiedsascha)
Visual Effects and Color: Justin Levine (@j.r.levine)
Sound Design: Bobb Barito (@baritobobb)
About Jean Claude Billmaier
Jean Claude Billmaier is a motion picture director based in New York. His German and Venezuelan roots and diverse upbringing give him a multicultural palette when crafting the worlds he works with. His style combines architectural elements, composed movement and color studies to lift the viewer into a magical realism state of surreality. This has translated his filmmaking efforts into multiple industries including Music, Commercial, Fashion and Narrative work.
His brand collaborations include: Vera Wang, Speck, MasterCard, Cole Haan, Nestle, McDonalds, Nine West, AOL, Tidal, Bordeaux Wines, Apple, BBC, Gothamist, Vevo, US Embassy to France, QKR, Playbill, Jefferson Awards, JWT, Roc Nation.
Some of the artists he has worked with include: Cibo Matto, Ben Sollee, Kiah Victoria, Toulouse, One Republic, Kevin Garrett, Stevie B Wolf, Marshall Ruffin, Ricky Martin, Jennifer Lopez, Wisin, Passion Pit, Lonnie Holley, Ryan Vona, Valentina Ferrer, Big Hearted Robot, Rioux, Stephon Alexander, Parches.
As a producer he has been involved in projects with: American Authors, Bleachers, Comcast, Coca Cola, Ford Motors, Imagine Dragons, Demi Lovato, Juanes, Julieta Venegas, La Santa Cecilia, Maluma, Oprah, P&G, The Script, Toyota, Verizon, Yoko Ono.
About Loni Landon
Loni Landon Loni Landon is a Dancer, Choreographer, and Movement Consultant based in New York City. In addition to creating dances for her own collective Loni Landon Dance Project, her work is commissioned by Dance Companies and Film Director’s across the country.
Landon is the 2013 Princess Grace Choreography Fellowship winner awarded with BODYTRAFFIC. As a sought after choreographer, her work has been commissioned by The Joyce Theater, Keigwin and Company, James Sewell Ballet, Whim Whim, LEVY DANCE, The Juilliard School, BODYTRAFFIC, American Dance Institute, Northwest Dance Project, Hubbard Street II, Ballet X, Ballet Austin, SUNY Purchase, NYU, and Marymount Manhattan College.
Landon choreographed the feature film Saturday Church, directed by Damon Cardasis, which premiered at The Tribeca Film Festival in 2017.
Alongside Gregory Dolbashian, Landon co-founded THE PLAYGROUND, an initiative designed to give emerging choreographers a place to experiment, while allowing professional dancers to participate affordably. The Playground was recognized by Dance Magazine as a 25 To Watch for 2013.
About Evan Copeland
Evan Copeland hails from central PA and currently resides in Brooklyn. He received his BFA in Dance from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts where he is now a substitute teacher. He also teaches at the Dalton School in NYC.
He has danced with the Sean Curran Company (2006-2009) and was a member of Shen Wei Dance Arts(2008-2014). He was part of Punchdrunk's production of Sleep No More in NYC (2015-2016) and has recently performed with the Sante Fe Opera and Houston Grand Opera. Evan is currently working with Martha Clarke and Bobbi Jene Smith.
Nigerian-born Toulouse is an artist, writer, producer and composer who regards genre-defiance as his life's work and exceeding expectations as merely a by-product. Upon releasing his first single So I Know You Care in August of 2016, Elton John and Zane Lowe both endorsed his sound, with that becoming the first sign post of just what path is possible as an independent artist.
He soon graced the #1 spot on Spotify's Global Viral charts with the same song, followed by I Will Follow You, featured in Apple’s Balloons commercial, which debuted at #2 on THR's Top TV Commercials chart. Most recently he contributed yet another song to the soundtrack of the movie and Billboard #1 album Fifty Shades Darker. He has also featured music with Nike, ABC, Netflix, Ford, Comedy Central and many others.
Share Your Audience Review. Your Words Are Valuable to Dance.
Are you going to see this show, or have you seen it? Share "your" review here on The Dance Enthusiast. Your words are valuable. They help artists, educate audiences, and support the dance field in general. There is no need to be a professional critic. Just click through to our Audience Review Section and you will have the option to write free-form, or answer our helpful Enthusiast Review Questionnaire, or if you feel creative, even write a haiku review. So join the conversation.