When Nephele, the ancient Greek goddess of the clouds, finds out that her children on earth are going to be killed by a jealous ex-lover (also a god), in her desperation she sends down a ram with shiny golden wool to lift them into the clouds - so saving them, and at the same time creating the myth of the Golden Fleece. Over 2800 years later, this myth has become the inspiration for a modern Georgian folk dance video.
Masterfully shot by Uzbek-born, NY-based cinematographer George Itzhak and choreographed by Georgia-born, Moscow-raised dancer and performance artist Lea Elisha, the clip portrays Elisha as the goddess; a wind-like wanderer, swaying to a rhythmic, meditative melody and shot against the backdrop of the Californian desert during golden hour.
“We came up with a visual approach that centred around having a camera that was responsive to the choreography. The spirit of Georgian dance, and Lea’s original choreography referencing it, had to be expressed through the framing and coverage,” explains Itzhak. “We shot this project during magic hour and into sunset at a remote desert location; the light we had to work with was fleeting and ephemeral. Lea and I both felt this perfectly reflected the character she was embodying in this dance.”
The choreography is inspired by the concept of eclecticism and intertwines modern dance with various Georgian folkloric dances. The song, Shuka Shuka, by Ilusha Tsinadze, a NY-based Georgian composer, is a contemporary take on a Georgian folk tune about the Greek myth. Originally featured in the tale of Jason and the Argonauts, dating back to the eighth century BC, images of the Golden Fleece are frequent in modern-day Georgia, including the coat of arms of Kutaisi, the country’s second city.