Elena Basford

Elena Basford (she/her)

Elena Basford is a multidisciplinary artist based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Using film history and
theatre as inspiration, her work melds the various disciplines that have shaped her – She
combines an education in modern, jazz, pole/aerial, and burlesque with the visual storytelling
cultivated in her mise-en-scene work for film.

Proposed Research

In life, radical acceptance and a submission to our restrictions can let our mind chew on different pieces of our experience instead of being distracted by trying to change and control our situation. What can we learn in dance?

My visual inspiration for this piece manifested through two different discoveries: The first, “Naï”, a photographic expanded cinema performance by Estelle Chaigne. On a projector, she used chemical treatments on film prints to cause images to shift, disappear, and reappear, exploring the story of Naïa, the last witch of Brittany, France. At one point, Naïa appears faceless, bringing an evocative focus to her white dress, appearing to float. The second was a video I discovered of a Polish dancer spinning and floating around the room, faceless, seemingly attached to a disco ball worn over her head. While cheerful, it conjured imagery of the Headless Horseman, and this eerie but powerful effect blended in my mind with Naïa. After some research, it turned out the dancer was not suspended by the disco ball or a harness, but was in fact using the ancient practice of hair hanging. 

While you could associate being tied by your hair as a restraint or impediment, it introduces novel ways of approaching movement—new problems and solutions. Suspended from the ground by your hair, what can be learned? How can I incorporate these lessons into a piece?