About 5 SOLDIERS
5 SOLDIERS was originally created in 2010 as a full-length dance production based on in depth research with the British military, and was co-commissioned by International Dance Festival Birmingham and Warwick Arts Centre.
Highly praised by current and former members of the British Military 5 SOLDIERS is a timely, controversial and thought-provoking exploration of war in modern times. Featuring Rosie Kay’s trademark intense physicality and athleticism, 5 SOLDIERS weaves a journey of physical transformation helping us understand how soldiers are made and how war affects them and the injury caused.
5 SOLDIERS the film is a unique collaboration between Rosie Kay Dance Company, Aquila TV and Meshed Media. Following on from the success of the UK tour, Rosie Kay decided to create a film work with Aquila TV and Meshed Media that would appeal to a wide audience.
Instead of just creating a short film, the team wanted the web user to get a truly interactive way to watch dance, and actually feel that they can go inside the minds and the body of the work. The 80-minute work was cut to just 10 minutes long, and the company spent one week filming in a huge aircraft hangar at Coventry Airport, thanks to supporter Sir Peter Rigby.
Using a variety of cutting edge filming techniques, the collaborative team have created a 13 angle edit that takes you into the heart of the work, follows each of the dancers, and zooms out so that the performers appear to be like ants in a huge empty landscape.
As a dance piece, key collaborators Aquila have been following the process from the creation until its present point, documenting along the way. The new concept of this piece gave Aquila new challenges in both production and post-production. Working closely with Rosie Kay, they formulated a unique way to shoot dance, allowing them to capture the whole story over 13 different angles.
The work has an open end- in the stage version there are the final scenes, which are extremely powerful. Rosie Kay felt that she didn’t want to give the full story away, and so it literally stops- suspended after the event portrayed, a second in time stretched out before the next actions. You will need to see the theatre touring work to know what happens next.
Rosie Kay feels this adds a new and totally unique dimension to the work and a unique way to watch the same work:
“What I love about this version is that you really get to know each performer- by following each of the soldiers you see their unique journey and by going inside their head to see from their viewpoint, you almost get to feel how they feel! A fellow soldier can give you a grin, a look or even a big push, yet as soon as you step away, you see how small and insignificant they are in this big landscape. I felt it had parallels to us all and to the soldiers’ experience- how intensely everything is felt close up, but ultimately how small you are in the big picture of a war.”
Julia Higginbottom of Aquila said:
"We are thrilled to be part of such an exciting and visionary project, right from the very start. After following the piece and documenting it since the end of 2009 we are eager to be a part of this stage in the project. As collaborators, we have been able to bring to life an interesting creation, giving the audience a fresh and captivating film. There have been challenges throughout the process, such as developing a unique way of filming in new ways, however the end result is a fantastic representation of the dedication put in by the whole team and the highlight has been working with Louis, Rosie and the Company"
The company found it very demanding, dancing for the camera for the first time- and learning to act while performing in a new way. Dancer Chris Linda on the experience:
"I thoroughly enjoyed this experience of filming 5 SOLDIERS. The process was something quite unique. The best part was doing the head cams. At the beginning of the filming it was quite weird with a camera in your face, the others called me '10 take Chris' because I didn't get the hang of it straight away. But with a few days past, it got easier. With a few practices we mastered it and loved the footage. This was an amazing experience overall and I have taken so much from it. So pleased to have taken part in such an amazing project."
5 SOLDIERS was created with incredible support from the British Military. This research included:
- Rosie Kay donning boots and joining the 4th Battalion The Rifles for 2 weeks on Dartmoor and in barracks to learn battle training
- Rosie Kay shadowing Rehabilitation Instructors, Physiotherapists and consultants at Headley Court and Selly Oak Hospital
- An injured soldier from 26 Engineers joining the company during the rehearsal process to act as an advisor
- The dancers going through a vigorous training, with 4am starts, weapons training and military expert training
- Dancers joining the TA for a weekend of exercises
- Company members joining the Combined Armed Forced Disabled Ski Team for a day
- Key collaborator David Cotterrell joined Joint Forces Medical team in Helmand Province, Afghanistan as an official war artist
- 5 SOLDIERS at the Rifles Club, London raised £5000 for Care for Casualties charity
Thanks to The Rifles and Care for Casualties.