Watch Awesome Human Choreography That Reproduces the Murmurations of Starling Flocks

A num­ber of chore­o­g­ra­phers have tak­en inspi­ra­tion from the move­ment of birds.

Sadek Waff, cre­ator of thrilling­ly pre­cise “mur­mu­ra­tions” such as the one above, is also inspired by street dance — par­tic­u­lar­ly the pop­ping hip hop moves known as Tut­ting and Toy­Man.

The nature lover and founder of the dance troupe Géométrie Vari­able uses both to excel­lent effect, chan­nel­ing a star­ling flock­’s hive mind with human dancers, whose low­er halves remain firm­ly root­ed. It’s all about the hands and arms, punc­tu­at­ed with the occa­sion­al neck flex.

As he observes on his Insta­gram pro­file:

There is mag­ic every­where, the key is know­ing how to look and lis­ten in silence. Like a cloud of birds form­ing waves in the sky, each indi­vid­ual has their own iden­ti­ty but also has an irre­place­able place in the whole.

To achieve these kalei­do­scop­ic mur­mu­ra­tions, Waff’s dancers drill for hours, count­ing aloud in uni­son, refin­ing their ges­tures to the point where the indi­vid­ual is sub­sumed by the group.

The use of mir­rors can height­en the illu­sion:

The reflec­tion brings a sym­met­ri­cal dimen­sion, like a calm body of water con­tem­plat­ing the spec­ta­cle from anoth­er point of view, adding an addi­tion­al dimen­sion, an exten­sion of the image.

The larg­er the group, the more daz­zling the effect, though a video fea­tur­ing a small­er than usu­al group of dancers — 20 in total — is help­ful for iso­lat­ing the com­po­nents Waff brings to bear in his avian-inspired work.

We’re par­tic­u­lar­ly enthralled by the mur­mu­ra­tion Waff cre­at­ed for the 2020 Par­a­lympic Games’ clos­ing cer­e­mo­ny in Tokyo, using both pro­fes­sion­als and ama­teurs in match­ing black COVID-pre­cau­tion masks to embody the event’s themes of “har­mo­nious cacoph­o­ny” and “mov­ing for­ward.” (Notice that the front row of dancers are wheel­chair users.)

See more of Sadek Waff’s mur­mu­ra­tions on his YouTube chan­nel and on Insta­gram.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

A Dancer Pays a Grav­i­ty-Defy­ing Trib­ute to Claude Debussy

The Evo­lu­tion of Dance from 1950 to 2019: A 7‑Decade Joy Ride in 6 Min­utes

The Icon­ic Dance Scene from Hel­lza­pop­pin’ Pre­sent­ed in Liv­ing Col­or with Arti­fi­cial Intel­li­gence (1941)

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is the Chief Pri­maol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine and author, most recent­ly, of Cre­ative, Not Famous: The Small Pota­to Man­i­festo.  Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

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