Inside a seedy-looking motel room, a dancer sashays, twirls and vogues alone to the pulsating bass line and sultry lyrics of Jessie Ware’s “What’s Your Pleasure?” Within the almost five-minute video, dancer Nicolas Huchard performs a recreation of seduction with the digicam whereas sporting completely different outfits of leather-based, lace, satin and fringe.
That is the COVID-era dance visible for the title monitor of Ware’s newest album, launched in June. She’s a part of a wave of pop artists like Kehlani, John Legend and Haim who’ve discovered new methods to create music movies throughout the pandemic.
Over the previous few months, the British singer-songwriter has launched a gentle stream of intimate, dance-centered movies to accompany the disco-inspired album she describes as “female and dramatic and verging on camp and fabulous and direct.”
Earlier than world shelter-in-place orders, Ware started working with Parisian choreography and artwork path duo I Might By no means Be a Dancer, composed of Carine Charaire and Olivier Casamayou. They have been hoping to solidify a by line of dance in her music movies that had a sense of “camp-ness and swag,” impressed by Ware’s love for the FX present “Fosse/Verdon.”
In January they shot her first video “Highlight” with a solid of dancers in a slender prepare automobile in Serbia.
“We have been going to maintain on doing choreography stuff that is not too laborious as a result of I’m not an expert dancer,” Ware mentioned. “I wished that feeling of individuals may study the dance and produce it to my reveals in order that we may do it collectively.”
However there could be no conventional rollout of the album.
And when it turned clear the pandemic would completely upend typical album promotion, Ware satisfied her label to launch visuals for songs on the album, buying and selling glossy music movies for one thing extra possible inside the confines of quarantine and social distancing.
In “Save a Kiss,” the primary video launched in Could throughout worldwide shutdowns, Charaire and Casamayou taught their choreography to Ware and solid of a couple of dozen dancers through a video tutorial. The dancers, based mostly in cities together with L.A., Milan and Oslo, then recorded themselves at house and have been edited collectively right into a cheery video.
As a substitute of making extra quarantine-style, self-taped visuals although, Ware, Charaire and Casamayou determined to shoot dancer portraits, targeted on one thought in a single location. They drastically pared down the variety of people who find themselves usually wanted on a music video set, often between 40 and 60, to fewer than 5 — the performer, the director and typically the inventive administrators.
The inspiration was “like a characteristic movie, to have one thing extra to inform the story, as a result of we do not wish to go an excessive amount of within the aesthetic of lockdown movies” mentioned Charaire.
Ware wished to showcase the dancers, whom she had by no means met, greater than herself in “Save a Kiss.” “It made sense to offer the stage to those phenomenal dancers,” she mentioned. “I wished to only have fun the fantastic thing about dance and the way sensible these characters might be.”
The choreographers scoured Paris to discover a lodge room that felt like a Las Vegas motel, the place they may shoot “What’s Your Pleasure?” Huchard, a dancer who beforehand toured with Madonna, improvised your complete video and introduced his personal garments.
“We did not really feel like choreographing him, he is an incredible freestyler,” mentioned Casamayou, who additionally ran lighting throughout the shoot.
The choreographers labored nearly with dancer Eric Schloesser, who was quarantining at house together with his dad and mom in Colorado for “Step Into My Life.” They let Schloesser create his personal strikes however gave him just a few references: combine choreography from “Save a Kiss” plus, “Fosse meets Christopher Walken meets disco meets Huge Lebowski,” Casamayou mentioned.
Shot in a Wyoming bowling alley, the video looks like a 1970s throwback with Schloesser strutting amongst lanes in a swimsuit jacket and white loafers.
“Soul Management,” a video by which Hajiba Fahmy dances like Janet Jackson on a checkered dance flooring drenched in neon lights, was choreographed by Charaire and Casamayou. They shot the video with a consumer-friendly Canon digicam as a substitute of the high-end, skilled RED Digital Cinema or Arri Alexa digicam.
Casamayou referred to as engaged on the movies “a lifesaving venture.”
The pandemic “isn’t going to kill creativity, it will change it,” he mentioned. “It was fascinating to see the way it works.”
The movies weren’t alleged to be shiny, Ware mentioned. It was in regards to the problem of being inventive underneath restrictions.
Ware recorded “In Your Eyes,” a video directed and animated by Francesca de Bassa, the place her face morphs and melts like a hypnotic lava lamp, on her telephone whereas her daughter watched a Disney film within the background. She enlisted her husband’s assist for “The Kill,” directed by Najeeb Tarazi, which mixes lo-fi video of L.A. with movie noir.
Her husband used his digicam’s flashlight to create a rotating highlight impact.
With shelter-in-place orders stress-free in Britain, Ware not too long ago shot one other video for “What’s Your Pleasure?” — what her staff is looking the official video for the track — with a small solid of dancers.
Engaged on that video — a glossy nod to ’90s glamour — was a enjoyable, post-shutdown expertise, she mentioned.
“I really like the truth that these movies are a documentation of a time in historical past in our lives that was a really weird time, however we nonetheless bought inventive.”