Join the dance on Waterloo Street…

David Stewart’s entry into the WHERE THE HEART IS competition combines beautiful images of the Singapore landscape and of city scenes, with an intriguing vignette of street dancers on Waterloo Street.

The film is one of 19 playing in a series of openair screenings at Martin Place at the Sydney Film Festival this month (details here.)

Says David of the film, Dancing on Waterloo Street:

Spaces in Singapore are always changing, shifting, urbanizing… buildings go up and come down, we travel by faster and faster vehicles, communicate with devices that seem to do everything but make a soft boiled egg…the faces of the places that we love change, but the magical feeling they evoke is awakened in our hearts, in the moments when we chance upon ordinary places being transformed by people doing extraordinary things.

I feel it truly expressed my thoughts and feelings about Singapore.

On Waterloo Street there is an ordinary square, at the intersection of a busy pedestrian crossing, where tens of thousands of people cross each day, going to the various buildings surrounding the square…every Sunday the square comes alive with a group of elderly people breaking out in dance to outrageous, loud, polka, laughing…and doing the tango to slow sensuous oldies…like Carmen…my wife and I meant to cross the road, but were mesmerized by their exuberant celebration of life. They truly danced like nobody was watching.

I was silently marveling at this when one of the elders beckoned to me, inviting me to join in. She had noticed that I too longed to celebrate with my body, but was afraid to. As she repeated her invitation, again and again, I finally accepted and had a ball awkwardly following her expert rhythm. It was such a beautiful moment, to laugh and dance with these elders who truly had not a care other than to dance and didn’t mind me filming for quite a while after my shyness returned me to the sidelines. Whenever I walk by that square, my heart warms to remember that moment of spontaneity, and remind myself to dance more…

The film was shot entirely on an inexpensive Canon 550D DSLR with a $99 – 50 mm lens.This was my first experiment working with the new DSLR medium and was quite pleased with the results I was able to achieve shooting to such a compressed format. I feel it truly expressed my thoughts and feelings about Singapore that very week discovering moments of beauty here and humanity there in a place that can at times feel very mechanical and lock step.

David has produced programming for national broadcast from Canada’s Western Arctic for the past five years and is a Panasonic DVCPro HD P2 specialist. He is currently completing post production on three half hour programs on an Arctic Youth Leadership Expedition shot last summer near Tuktoyaktuk in the Northwest Territories of Canada. The program brought together eleven Inuit youth from across Canada’s north to paddle three hundred kilometeres down the Horton River to the Arctic Ocean in fourteen days. The programs will be broadcast on the Aboriginal People’s Television Network in Canada.

Dancing on Waterloo Street is one of 19 films from the competition playing in a series of openair screenings at the Sydney Film Festival in June 2011.

Check out more films from the competition at the WHERE THE HEART IS vimeo channel, here.

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