Kailee McMurran – Trussed, an excerpt of Living the Room

[Entrevista traducida al español]

March 2017

The dance stage piece “Living the Room” becoming a dance film. Kailee talks about an excerpt of this piece: Trussed.

Kailee during the shooting

Hello Kailee, thanks for giving me some of your time. Tell me a bit about yourself, something quick that you think could interest the reader.

Quick Facts: I grew up in Alaska, USA. I danced and did gymnastics most all of my life.

I was involved in this film in every aspect possible. I co-founded SubRosa Dance Collective who choreographed and danced in this film. I am part owner of Design By Goats who produced this film. Specifically for Trussed, I choreographed and danced the bathtub scene and co-choreographed the hair braiding scene. This film has been an amazing experience for me!

Because of it I also recently started Portland Dance Film Fest!

First of all, I want congratulate you because your “Trussed, an excerpt of Living the Room” was selected in the festival [C]Screen. What is for you to “be trussed”?

Yay! Thanks! – Trussed is about feeling alone and always connected. Physically, Trussed represents the support or lack of support by those close to you. It is also a play on the English word trust. The trusses of a bridge or building hold it up and support it and in this case with our hair – we’re physically tied together and being supported by one another. On the flipside, a building or bridge cannot go anywhere or grow because the trusses are keeping them in place. Neither one of the dancers could go anywhere without the other one holding them back and restricting their movement. There is also the unknown of not being connected. You see the dancer leave and come back, but her freedom was a struggle.

Still from the short film

Reading the title, I can guess this shortfilm is just a part of a longer film: LIVING THE ROOM. Can you tell me about it? A synopsis?

Living the Room is a collection of personal and inherently human stories. It begins with an empty 103-year-old house. Six tidy rooms are distinctly empty except for their echoes of life. When the camera settles in the living room the first chapter unfolds; a sextet, a quartet, a trio, two duets, and two solos take place in the living room, bedroom, kitchen, dining room, bathroom, and foyer to bestir -some stories of this house and its people.

Humans as individuals often get stuck in routine without realization – just as each of the women in this film continue on with their cyclical processes. Sometimes outside forces and relationships can push / pull a person to new places and experiences, but the home, as a place of comfort, ownership, and things, often perpetuates routine. As such, during the film all sense of chronology takes a surreal effect: day and night are switched and order-less, dances will often happen in the background of other pieces, dancers to be in two places at once, and phrases and props are often recurring causing a disconnect to time. Perhaps all of the dances are occurring simultaneously. Perhaps the story is an endless loop.

Dylan Wilbur

Dylan Wilbur is amazing catching the moments, can you present him a bit? How is working with him?

Dylan is great! When he started working with SubRosa Dance Collective, it was near the beginning of his dance for camera works. He was really great at listening to all ideas for shots or overarching themes and finding the balance between what the dancers, producers, and choreographers expected, and what looked great on the screen.

This piece is very intimate and the choreography is very well fitted with the house. What was first, the place or the choreography idea?

Living the Room ended up being a choreographic cyclical process! SubRosa Dance Collective was gearing up to produce our second evening length dance performance but were hitting several hitches. The major one being the lack of affordable rehearsal space in Portland, OR. Portland was (and still is) going through a crises of an influx of people with limited living and working spaces. So several established rehearsal spaces were being torn down to build new apartment complexes creating a void for affordable rehearsal rentals. As a push back SubRosa decided to choreograph with what we had – our living spaces. We started creating movement using chairs, bathtubs, dining room tables, etc, because it was the space that was available for us. Living the Room was performed in the round for one weekend with our own furniture placed within a large warehouse space. After feeling a little dissatisfied with 2 years of work fading away quickly after one weekend, we felt the excitement of bringing the choreography back to its roots – back to the living spaces. We wanted to immortalize it! So for the most part a lot of the choreography was the same, because we used the same furniture and tight quarters when originally choreographing. Minor changes came when translating it to film with the options of cutting and focusing on details.

And the last question, what is for you to make a dancefilm?

I never really imagined myself creating dance for films before. Maybe it’s because I didn’t quite know how, or because they felt beyond my reach. After taking the leap of faith and finding the people to help create the film, I want to keep making them. I love the magic of film through editing, or coloring, or facial expressions, or tiny finger movements, or setting, or costume changes that you can’t get in a live performance. After this first film, I have started to collaborate on a second film and I have started Portland Dance Film Fest in hopes to bring this amazing art to Portland and host events to help people take that initial leap of faith and start creating dance films!

Thank you, Kailee, for being so nice and answering these questions!

Here you can watch the whole excerpt:



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