Madeleine Graham staring into Antarctica (2017) by Jacob BryantThe Space
Commissioned by Random Acts for Channel 4 and The Space, and supported by Antarctica New Zealand, award-winning choreographer Corey Baker creates and directs the first ever dance film on the world’s last great wilderness, Antarctica.
Celebrating the awe-inspiring landscape, while we still have it; Antarctica: The First Dance is inspired by the austere beauty and fragility of the ice and snow structures. Featuring Madeleine Graham of Royal New Zealand Ballet, this startlingly beautiful short film was released on Earth Day, 22 April 2018.
Madeleine Graham and Corey Baker in Antarctica (2017) by Jacob BryantThe Space
Corey Baker: “It’s an immense privilege and mind-blowing experience to create and film a dance on Antarctica that I hope will bring people a little closer to understanding this unfathomable place."
Corey smiling in Antarctica (2017) by Jacob BryantThe Space
"As an individual, I aim to take conscious steps to help mitigate climate change, and wanted to inspire others to do the same."
"By showing up-close the beauty of this incredible place, people can feel closer to something that may otherwise seem abstract and unconnected."
Antarctica from the air (2017) by Jacob BryantThe Space
"I wanted to highlight Antarctica’s epic landscape and vast beauty, but at the same time show that it is under threat – climate change impact is real and immediate."
Corey Baker chooses Madeleine Graham to dance in Antarctica (2017) by Corey BakerThe Space
An important day: Corey auditions several dancers from Royal New Zealand Ballet ahead of the shoot and chooses Madeleine Graham.
Corey and Madeleine in a military plane heading to Antarctica (2017) by Jacob BryantThe Space
Corey and Madeleine flew to Antarctica in February, one of its warmest months, to spend about two weeks with scientists and researchers at the 86-bed Scott Base.
Photograph of the military that took Corey Baker Dance team to Antarctica (2017) by Jacob BryantThe Space
Madeleine Graham and Corey Baker in front of USAF plane in Antarctica (2017) by Jacob BryantThe Space
On the ground in Antarctica (2017) by Jacob BryantThe Space
The project was part of Antarctica NZ's Community Engagement Programme designed to catch the public imagination and get us learning and understanding more about Antarctica and the Southern Ocean.
Station in Antarctica with clouded Sun (2017) by Jacob BryantThe Space
Since the late 1950s, a number of journalists, photographers, film-makers and artists have travelled to the ice on what is known as the Media, Artists and Writers Programme.
Corey and Madeleine on the ground in Antarctica (2017) by Jacob BryantThe Space
Madeleine Graham: "It's one of those things that you never imagine you'll do, to make the first dance there will be pretty special. It will be an awesome experience like no other."
Madeleine Graham in Antarctica with moving hair (2017) by Jacob BryantThe Space
Conditions would push the duo to their limits. Outdoor clothing manufacturers Earth Sea Sky made thermal activewear for Madeline to dance in – flexible but warm.
Madeleine Graham with sun on Antarctica (2017) by Jacob BryantThe Space
"Dancing in the snow was difficult, unpredictable – we sometimes suddenly found ourselves in a metre of snow! The cold was a challenge on an hourly basis."
Tents in Antarctica (2017) by Jacob BryantThe Space
Corey: "It was very hard and strenuous on Maddy, as she wasn’t able to rehearse and refine. Everything was going against us – Maddy had never been in snow, camping, in a film, or in a dorm room."
Digging into the ice in Antarctica (2017) by Jacob BryantThe Space
"It’s the opposite of what a dancer needs to thrive: no sleep, 24-hour light, unstable ground and it was obviously very cold outside."
Corey in Antarctica all wrapped up (2017) by Jacob BryantThe Space
"Antarctica was the director: it would tell you it’s too windy, too bright, or too cold. We had to listen and respond to that."
Antarctica: The First Dance (2017) by Corey Baker DanceThe Space
Antarctica: The First Dance was commissioned by Random Acts for Channel 4, and The Space, a digital development agency supported by the BBC and Arts Council, England With support of, Corey Baker Dance, Antarctica New Zealand, Royal New Zealand Ballet, ChristchurchNZ, Dance Hub Birmingham, New Zealand High Commission, Earth Sea Sky.
Choreographer / Director: Corey Baker
Producer: Anne Beresford
Dancer: Madeleine Graham, Royal New Zealand Ballet
Director of Photography: Jacob Bryant
Production location: Antarctica
Soundtrack: “Wild Eyed” by London Grammar
Commissioned by Random Acts for Channel 4, and digital development organisation The Space
supported by the BBC and Arts Council, England