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Town Danceboutique closed its doors after 10 years as a hub for the Washington, D.C. LGBT community. More than a place to dance, it was a social and event space for expansive community interests, a refuge where gay people embraced and developed their identities and a laboratory for creative expression. It is where we came out, had our first kiss, lamented our heartbreaks, celebrated our successes, and felt less alone, all under the disco ball.

I wanted to pay tribute to the space, so I contacted modern dancers Matthew Cumbie and Sam Horning (Dance Exchange) with the idea of making a short dance film. I wanted to replicate the experience of going to the club, meeting a cute guy and doing the dance of desire that inevitably ends in leaving the club. I also wanted to inspire my audience to reflect on their own experiences there and how those moments shaped them and leave them with a feeling of celebration as well as resonance of what has been lost, both personally and as a community that is becoming even more segmented with the loss of this large cultural space.

The amazing Ed Bailey (co-owner/DJ) gave us an evening to create an impromptu performance. I did two walkthroughs with the dancers to communicate my ideas and determine basic choreography, then shot the sequence using a handheld Steadicam and a Sony A7sII with a 28mm lens.

Due to these amazing dancers, we did it all in four takes, with most of what you see here taking place during the last take.

Video and words by Benjamin Carver