Presented by Arts House & Lucy Guerin Inc as part of Dance Massive 2015

Motion Picture takes the 1950 film noir classic D.O.A. as a choreographic score to explore the tensions between live performance and cinema.

The film opens with Frank Bigelow, a small-town everyman, reporting his own murder. He has been poisoned with a luminous toxin and with time running out, he is determined to find out why.

Caught between the living stage and the projected image, the audience is bathed in the flickering light of a screen mounted behind them. On stage, the dancers are both viewers and protagonists, using the cinematic elements as motivations for movement. The transference of information from one medium to another creates a physicalised abstraction of the moody aesthetic of film noir – a surprising work that both pays homage to the moving image and rebels against it.

Production Consultant: Emily O’Brien
Stage Manager: Alice Fleming
Assistant Producer: Claire Bradley


Winner of the 2016 Australian Dance Award for Outstanding Achievement in Choreography

2015 Green Room Award Nomination for the Shirley Mckechnie Award For Choreography

2015 Green Room Award Nomination for the Duet & Ensemble Performance Award

2015 Green Room Award Nomination for the Female Dancer Award for Lilian Steiner in Motion Picture


2017 TOUR
14-15 January, 2017 | Tanzhaus NRW (Düsseldorf, Germany)
19-20 January, 2017 | Le Manège de Reims (Reims, France)
24 -28 January, 2017 | Théâtre de la Ville – Des Abbesses (Paris, France)
1 February 2017 | Cultuurcentrum Brugge –  Magdalenazaal (Brugge, Belgium)
8-9 February 2017 | Théâtre d’Orléans (Orleans, France)

Dance Massive, Arts House
17 – 22 March 2015

REVIEWS | PREMIER SEASON | Dance Massive 2015

[The Age] Motion Picture review: Lucy Guerin’s cinematic dance work occupies shadowy space

[The Herald Sun] Dance review: Lucy Guerin’s Motion Picture, Arts House

[The Age] Article: Motion Picture – Choreographer Lucy Guerin dances around film

[The Weekly Review] Article: Dancing in the dark

 [Melbourne. Arts. Fashion] Article: A Day in the Life Of…Lucy Guerin – Choreographer and Artistic Director


Motion Picture started out for me as a transference of form; from film to dance. Rather than translate the film into a kind of danced story, I wanted to see what sort of dance would emerge using the different elements of film more like a musical score. It was an exhaustive research. We danced the images, the sound, the focus, the shapes, the characters, the emotions, the mood, the edits, the camera angles, the narrative, the dialogue and many more aspects of this film. There is a great contribution from the dancers in this work.

In choosing the film I felt that it needed to be familiar to the audience in its style and genre. As it was projected behind them, I thought it was important to have a sense of the world from which it came. DOA was directed by Rudolph Maté, and is a classic of the Film Noir genre. It was a small independently produced film that has since been chosen for the United States National Film Registry. It traverses a range of locations and employs some of the tropes of Film Noir including POV camera, back projection, dark shadowy cinematography, post- war loss of traditional values and the lead character as a victim of circumstance.

What has emerged for me through this project is a tension between the power of film and the immediacy of live performance. We all know how seductive any screen image is. Having grown up with television as my friend and comforter, I have always been attuned to the pull of the ‘moving picture’; its zone out and zoom in allure. It sometimes feels like we are all morphing into another species, with our small and huge screens, constantly gazing at lit portals into another reality. I am fine with this. I think that change is survival. But as a dance artist I do feel that ‘real life’ and physical activity and interaction have essential experiences to offer, so this play between screen engagement and real human situations is the navigation of our daily lives.

Motion Picture begins with a complete dependence by the dancers on the screen. Their eyes are glued to it and they take their timing, cues and movements from it. As the piece evolves, they drift away from this quite literal re-enactment and as the ‘luminous toxin’ takes hold of Frank Bigelow, the stage grows more autonomous; revealing space, rhythm, visceral sensation and by the end it has severed from the film altogether into its own fraught drama somehow born from this process.

At the core of Motion Picture is light. The light and shadow that Film Noir uses with such compelling affect, the luminous toxin that is Frank Bigelow’s death sentence and the light that makes film possible.

It has been a fascinating project to work on and I really look forward to having an audience to complete this loop of watching. 

  –  Lucy Guerin

Images: Gregory Lorenzutti (development shots and premiere season shots) Sarah Walker (top image and other premiere season shots)

For further information about the work and touring opportunities please contact Executive Producer, Annette Vieusseux.

Creative Team

  • director: Lucy Guerin
  • Choreographer: In collaboration with dancers , Lucy Guerin
  • Dancers from Premiere Production: Alisdair Macindoe , Briarna Longville , Jessie Oshodi , Kyle Page , Lilian Steiner , Stephanie Lake
  • Motion Graphics: Nick Roux
  • Costume Designer: Anna McFarlane
  • Dramaturge: Matthew Whittet
  • Production Manager: Glenn Dulihanty
  • Producer: Annette Vieusseux
  • Lighting designer: Benjamin Cisterne
  • Set Designers: Robert Cousins
  • Sound Designers: Robin Fox

image gallery

moving image