The Global Search for Education: Director Sarah Housepian Talks about Connecting Youth with Creative Dance During the Pandemic

C. M. Rubin
3 min readMar 15, 2023

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This month, audiences can screen Lacking on the Planet Classroom Network. This film is curated for Planet Classroom by Battery Dance.

Lacking is a short film directed by Sarah Housepian. The film was created for Battery Dance’s initiative, Dance to Connect, launched during the COVID pandemic.

In the midst of the pandemic, young dancers from around the world analyze their feelings of loss and isolation and the joy of connection they experience through collaboration and the power of dance. Lacking brilliantly illustrates their journey from beginning to end.

The Global Search for Education is pleased to welcome Sarah Housepian.

This film is based on feelings that were prevalent during times of quarantine; how do you think this work helped the participants?

I think that the Dancing to Connect Workshop gave the students a place where they could actually process what they were feeling and going through during the times of quarantine. The dancers were given the time and space to fully use their individual expressions and emotions to create with one another and not feel so alone.

Did you record every session of the workshop and then organize scenes based on that? Or was there another method you used?

Yes, I would record the majority of the sessions with them and constantly watch them back and study what particular movement they were more drawn to. By watching these sessions, I was able to develop these puzzle pieces of choreography that they created. These pieces helped aid me and inform me on what they wanted to say with this piece, as well as how the overall film was going to come together.

How did the music and dance come together for this piece? Did you select music and then create the dance or did you create the dance and then work on finding the music?

The dance is composed of choreographic ideas and improvisation tasks that came from conversations with the students and our Dancing To Connect methodology. I never once created a phrase of movement and had them copy me. It was all driven by them. They were the ones that choreographed it. I just helped craft and piece it all together. The music came later after I saw the different ideas that they were choreographing and after I saw the film locations. I ultimately found the different tracks of music or looped sounds on a royalty free website and cohesively mixed them together to see what would work best with the piece as a whole.

What do you want audiences to take away from your film? Any words of advice you’d like to share for those who are perhaps still struggling today with the feelings that you highlighted in your film?

I think everyone’s time in quarantine was extremely isolating, lonely and vastly different from the way we live our everyday life. We were all lacking something on the inside and in a way mourning that loss. I would love for the audiences to take away a sense of community and unity with these feelings experienced. Also, sometimes in tragic moments and the troubled times of the unknown, can also be the most fruitful times of self expression and creativity. If you are struggling with similar emotions today, I would say to lean into those emotions and truly feel them as well as lean into those around you because you would be surprised how many people might be going through the same thing.

Thank you Sarah!

C. M. Rubin and Sarah Housepian

Don’t Miss Lacking, now screening on the Planet Classroom Network. This film is curated for Planet Classroom by Battery Dance.

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