BETTER THAN YOU DOIN YOU
(don’t be mad)
Introducing the fabulous Cee V: a coy, unsuspecting, sassalisious, rebel. She is confident in her own and sees herself as different from everyone around her. Her biggest fear is being normal and dying the slow death of complacency–she does not want to live an average life. She views others who primarily value security, predictability and comfort, living highly standard lives, as a depressing and mundane existence.
Upon entering an office space, she encounters the zombie-like characters she so fears. Surrounded by a droning band of mediocrity, Cee V. lifts her chin, puffs her chest, and ducks her lips to show that she strives to be something better, and yes, it’s better than you–don’t be mad.
DIRECTOR’S BIOGRAPHY: CAROLINE LIVIAKIS
Described as ‘modern’ and ‘a cosmopolitan creature’ by BayAreaDanceWatch, Caroline Liviakis (26 years old) has broken into the concert dance scene as an exciting, new choreographic voice. Her driving vision is to create ferociously bold, stylistically innovative, and delightfully entertaining works that capture and invigorate interest in dance from normally disengaged audiences–particularly youth.
In September 2017 she founded the Caroline Liviakis Dance Company (CLDC) in San Francisco, where she currently serves as the Executive Artistic Director. In only a year’s time since then, Liviakis premiered a half-evening of work, ‘Six Works-In-Progress’, and presented both the premiere and encore shows of her debut evening-length work, ‘There’s A New Kid In Town’. All were performed to completely sold-out audiences.
Liviakis has been featured in the San Francisco Chronicle, Marin Independent Journal, The Ark, Skyline View, and BayAreaDanceWatch. Her evening-length debut show was selected as a ‘critic’s pick’ by the San Francisco Chronicle and in July 2018 CLDC was chosen by Backstage Casting Networks as the #1 recommended out-of-town dance company for L.A. dancers to audition for. CLDC has held residencies with LEVYdance and SAFEhouse Arts and has performed as a guest artist for College of San Mateo, Skyline College, and Napa Valley College.
Liviakis has taught at St. Mary’s College of California, Napa Valley College, College of Marin, Skyline College, and Mills College. She holds a B.A. in Dance and Philosophy and an M.F.A. in Dance.
‘Better Than You Doin You (don’t be mad)’ is Liviakis’ directorial and dance-film choreographic debut. Currently, she is in the production process for two additional dance films, ‘INeasyOUTbreezy’ and ‘Boys and Girls’, and her second evening-length work, ‘The Potential’. All are set to premiere in early 2020.
Director and Choreographer: Caroline Liviakis
Cinematographer and Editor: Steev Dinkins
Composer: Thomas Liviakis
Makeup and Hair Designer: Lynsey Hemstreet
Soloist (Cee V): Rachel Epling
Backup Dancers: Lizzie Chapman, Nicole Gerkey, Caroline Liviakis, Katherine Liviakis
Extras: Supak Cenhansa, Lynsey Hemstreet, Rafael Manzo, John Liviakis, Renee Liviakis, Thomas Liviakis, Jerome Sadhu Jr., Lisa Shields
My choreographic style is highly gestural and often seems verbal with my use of both intricate hand movements and facial expressions. For a long time I have played with the idea of creating a ‘non-verbal rap song’ where the dancer stands in as the rapper and her gestures are the lyrics–‘Better Than You Doin You (don’t be mad)’ is the final completion of this. I took the song ‘Sweatpants’ by Childish Gambino, broke the rap lyrics down in terms of rhythmic structures, and then choreographed my movement version of the rap and rhythms. The gestures are characterized enough so, upon closer look, the audience might be able to infer the words that inspired them. I wanted to create this piece as an ‘elevated music video’, where the filming highlights the intricacies of the choreography and elevates the dancer as the famed personality, while still maintaining a familiar air of the standard music video. I have always had a slight gripe with the general music video filming structure of taking an entire dance sequence, filming it in several locations with different costumes and a few different angles, and then completely chopping it up in post, spreading it out across the music video in-between cuts of the artist singing towards the camera or acting/posing sequences. While thought has gone into the choreography, it has always seemed like more attention could be put on the filming and the integration of the dancing into the story of the music video. So with this film, I set out to make a music video dance-film where the dancing is at the forefront, with all of the camera movements, angles, and edits designed specifically around each movement in the dance rather than long sequences, yet at the same time hold onto some of the quintessential music video tropes for a cheeky and fun reference. This reference particularly shows in the chorus section: backup dancers magically appearing at the start of the chorus to join in, the choreography at the start of the chorus quickly turning simple, easy to grasp, repeatable, and entirely unison, and the camera simply standing there to capture it all rather than being an active participant. There is supposed to be this play between the familiar and the new when it comes to the choreography and filming style.
I hope when audiences see this they are entertained and see themselves on the screen dancing. I create works with the intent of capturing and invigorating interest in dance from normally disengaged audiences (particularly young people), by creating work that is relatable and popularly accessible, but engagingly innovative: stylistically, thematically, and intellectually. I like taking what can be often times seen as predictable, overtly popularized forms, and elevating them to become concert works. I also hope seeing fun dance films such as this, prompts audiences to become interested in seeing dance in a live performance as well!
This film has been created under the most independent of spirits. With a mere $1000 budget, a one-day shoot, and a participating cast of thirteen local SF Bay Area dancers and actors, the film truly came together on collaboration and a community of enthusiasm. The music, composed by Thomas Liviakis, is an original composition created specifically for this film. This is my directorial and dance-film choreographic debut.