New York, NY — For Nathalie de la Gorce, Creative Director of the design/animation boutique One Fine Day, her experience with ballet and dance guided the graceful show open/package she directed and designed for the ABC Family hit Bunheads.
“The fact that I am a dancer myself meant I had an intimate understand of ballet terms like pirouette, jeté, saut-de-chat, arabesque and could easily visualize the choreography,” de la Gorce says. “It basically made the communication between us and the client that much faster and smoother.
Created by Executive Producer Amy Sherman-Palladin (creator of the popular series Gilmore Girls), Bunheads tells the story of Michelle, a Las Vegas showgirl who on a whim marries a man and moves to his sleepy coastal town where she winds up working alongside her new mother-in-law at her dance school.
Directed by de la Gorce and Sherman-Palladino, the Bunheads show open begins with a foot-level shot of a shot of four dancers entering a dance studio about to begin a practice. Set to a modernized version of the ballet classic Dance of the Sugar Plum Fair” and shot in black and white with warm light entering from huge windows in the background of the dance studio, the dancers go through their intricate routine. As they move, animated ribbons of red and orange flow around the dancer’s movements. All of which leads to a color shot of the show’s star Sutton Foster looking wowed by the performance.
Although de la Gorce and the One Fine Day creative team were given well-defined concept, they were able to push it further by building a sense anticipation by cropping the camera shots and adding the animated ribbons, all of which lead to the logo resolve.
“The most challenging aspect for me was figuring the pace of the sequence,” de la Gorce adds. “We had to show the four dancers on the screen in a very short time. We actually did a number of test shoots to better understand the changes in direction, crossing of paths, how much to widen the camera. Because of that, the open conveys a lot about the show’s storyline and characters in about 20 seconds.”