JESSICA SANDERS Dives In, Blending Dance & Swim in New Short Film

February 23rd, 2017

Filmmaker Jessica Sanders continues to show off her ambition and artistic chops with a new dance-driven film set to Bebe Rexha’s hit “I Got You.” The short film, produced by Sanders for DanceOn, stars rising actor Ethan Peck and the Aqualillies, the professional synchronized swimming group recently seen in Hail, Caesar! The three-minute piece is an examination of the various emotional stages of love, as Peck and the Aqualillies dance through a midcentury mountainside residence designed by legendary architects Buff & Hensman.

“I’ve always wanted to work with synchronized swimmers and make a dance film,” says Sanders. Working with the Aqualillies choreographer May Jeanette, and friend/collaborator Katie Malia, who choreographed Ethan Peck’s moves, the all-female creative production team (including DP Ava Berkofsky) created the film completely on the spot, “All dances were created on the day of the shoot, with no advance rehearsals it was creatively liberating and spontaneous.”

The film lets the dramatic setting shine. The dancers transfer the clean, symmetrical lines of synchronized swimming on land while giving the house the room to stand out as a character of its own, complementing the cabin-like exterior with colorful, vibrant movement. Katie Malia describes the dance as “unraveling from contained simplicity to repetitive chaotic movements as Ethan’s inner turmoil crescendos, escalating into a fight where we reveal him battling his greatest foe yet: his own self.”

Photo by Myles Pettengil