Movement Exercises Trilogy

Scene from the film Movement Exercises Trilogy
scene from the film DRILLS
scene from the film DRILLS

A feature-length trilogy of films by filmmaker-choreographer Sarah Friedland, Movement Exercises deconstructs and revises the choreographic vocabularies of exercises practiced across home, work, and school spaces. The films examine the premise and promise of the exercise: that by moving together, repeatedly, we both create and recreate the social body.

Filmmaker Sarah Friedland will join in-person for a post-screening discussion with Hanna Tulis, Lecturer in the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning. Sponsored by Cornell’s College of Architecture, Art, and Planning.


Home Exercises
2017, 22 min.
Adapting the form of the home workout video, Home Exercises investigates the gestural habits and choreographies of aging individuals in their homes. Created in collaboration with a group of eight older adults to shape their daily routines into dance for camera, the on-screen movements shift in their fidelity to the daily patterns they reperform. Some elders rigorously reenact their daily actions, whereas others erupt into stylized and rhythmically altered movements. Intertitles precede each exercise, annotating the performances while charting the time of day from morning to nightfall.

2020, 17 min.
Drills is a film about the choreography of preparing for the future. A hybrid documentary and experimental dance film reimagining the form of the Cold War-era, US government-produced social guidance film, Drills asks what futures we are preparing for through the exercises embodying present anxieties.

Weaving in between multiple forms of choreography and documentation, Drills restages lockdown and active shooter drills, frames corporate and tech start-up office meditation, and reperforms Boy Scout drills from the 1917 Boy Scout manual.

Trust Exercises
2022, 25 min.
Trust Exercises is a hybrid experimental dance film which explores the tension between the poetics of group movement and its instrumentalization for capitalist management. Amending the choreography of team-building and the visual grammars of corporate video, Trust Exercises braids together movement from three work spaces: a fictional start-up retreat, a body work session as interview, and a dance rehearsal. Movements transmit between performers across scenes, complicating the discrete goals of their choreographies and examining their portability across spheres.

Dislocating the movement of the retreat to the space of rehearsal, professional dancers transform stock exercises into intimate social dances. A body work session reconfigures the office environment. Lingering after hours, movement facilitators transmute team-building games into a playful duet.

Part of our Campus Collaborations series.

More info on the artist's website: