Monday, November 7, 2011
An Artistic Adventure: Day 4, Chickee
This post is from Barbara Parker.
There are thousands of places in this world that you don't know exist. Serene places, exotic places, spiritual places.
I'm not talking about the expensive celebrity honeymoon spots that most of us can't afford. (If you can afford those places, please contact Wolf Trap. We have a fantastic artistic adventure we'd love to invite you to support!)
I'm talking about the places that may be in your backyard, around the corner or right down the street. Places where you can escape, where all that matters is the beat in your heart, the thoughts in your head, and whatever environment surrounds you. You would want to go to these places, but, like I said, you don't know they exist.
Joe River Chickee is one of those places.
Located in Everglades National Park, this chickee is unlike anything most of us have ever seen before. A stop on the Wilderness Waterway and accessible only by boat, this chickee looks like two covered docks joined by a walkway. Someone wanting to have a waterway adventure would canoe or kayak to what seems like the middle of nowhere. They would pull up to the dock, pitch a tent in the chickee, and for a reservation fee of $10 plus $2 per person, per night, would be completely off the grid.
Those of us wanting to have an artistic adventure would go about this a bit differently.
Our location: Joe River Chickee, Everglades National Park
The dancers: Sarah Braverman, Eric Bourne
The music: A new instrumental arrangement by Tiempo Libre; Bach's Air on a G String leading into Sting's "Fields of Gold"
Here's what happens in front of the cameras: A couple explores the intimacy they could only have while escaping everything but each other. All that is meaningful in this moment in time is two people and their environment.
What happened behind the scenes: We loaded a boat with 7 crew, two cameras, a jib, and many other pieces of equipment the names of which I do not know. We power boated out from the Flamingo Visitors Center and 45 minutes to an hour later arrived on the Joe River Chickee. We unloaded, set up, and waited, all the while applying copious amounts of sunscreen.
An hour or so after our arrival, our dancers, choreographer, production assistant and, perhaps most importantly, lunch arrived. Sarah, our gorgeous lead dancer, was frantic she had left the well-packed suitcase holding all the costumes and music playback at the hotel. An incredibly generous female park ranger at the dock was kind enough to raid her own wardrobe to provide options for costuming.
The dancers marked through movement in a location they had never seen before, one where a step in the wrong direction could lead directly into water. The crew ate their lunch. Well-fed, we started shooting several long movement sequences. All the while changing camera locations and filming angles.
An hour and a half later, we had visitors. Park Superintendent Dan Kimball and Wolf Trap President and CEO Terre Jones arrive with a news crew from NBC Miami. Controlled chaos ensues.
Introductions are made. Interviews are obtained. Photos taken. Hugs exchanged. Several boats are moved several times, and we all take bets on just how many people you can fit on a chickee.
When our guests leave, we resume our schedule as the sun creeps closer and closer to the horizon. Having promised the park that we would be in before dark, we reluctantly call it a wrap in time to return to dock before sunset.
We didn't want to leave. We could have spent many more hours capturing beautiful dance in that beautiful location.
But isn't that how it always is? When you find a place you never knew existed before, you never want to leave.
All photos by Andrew Propp.