When dance is used as a device in drama, something more than just well- executed choreography is required. In ‘Victoria’, for example, we needed to film a complex sequence, consisting of five separate dances, featuring seven principal artistes, some of whom had never danced a single step. Rigorous rehearsal and precision timing was essential, particularly for the quadrilles, where the dialogue and the various flirtatious or jealous looks of the cast members needed to be synchronised with their requisite moves. I was fortunate to have Sammy Murray to help navigate through this potential minefield.
Sammy asked for a couple of hours with the cast and dancers before I arrived at the first rehearsal. On so doing I was astonished to find that she had not only set the exquisite choreography but had also ensured that each actor’s lines and/ or looks had been woven seamlessly into the fabric of the dances. They were also dancing like pros. Thus, when we came to shoot the sequences, my life and that of the crew was made a whole lot easier.
Sammy was wonderfully calm and organised on set and her instructions to her dancers and suggestions to cast members on how to improve their posture and polish their technique were always clear, concise and encouraging. Just as importantly she was willing to adapt her choreography instantly if it helped to make a shot better. She made it all look effortless. I’m sure it wasn’t.
Sammy is a true collaborator, great fun and would be an enormous asset to any production. She is, by some margin, the finest choreographer I have had the pleasure to work with and am looking forward to the next time.
Director ‘Victoria, Series 2.