Choreography By Numbers – When Cardens Met Charleston

When Cardens accountants contacted I Charleston Brighton to see if we could make them a corporate film we were a little surprised. We have made a lot of dance films but it had never occurred to us to take movement movies into the business world.

We had already worked with Managing Partner Barry Carden, when he competed in a Strictly-style dance competition in aid of the Rockinghorse chairty.  Barry had been a joy to work with and so we agreed to come and look at his offices to see if there was the potential to make a film.

I have to admit I had my doubts and was racking my brains to think of ways to get creative within an office workspace.  What I envisioned was strip lighting, carpet tiles and a lot of grey, I couldn’t have been more wrong; Cardens offices are in a Grade II-listed building dating back to the late 19th century. The refurbishment has clearly been a labour of love for Barry who has modernised the building in a way that is both sympathetic and bold. Original features such as the magnificent stairs and stunning stained glass windows remain authentic. On seeing them I was immediately devising dance sequence that would show off this fantastic staircase. As I wandered  and wondered through the building I could see so many possibilities and I knew we were onto a winner.

The next challenge was to teach the firm’s accountants how to dance the Charleston. We went to their offices on a Wednesday evening and again I felt some uncertainty as to how well it would work out. Amazingly the whole team got on board and although they were a little shy at first within an hour they were all dancing and enjoying the choreography. As you can imagine, counting the beats was no problem.

The actual day of filming was so much fun, the staff at Carden's embraced the ridiculous things we asked them to do.  From choreographed phone calls to rhythmically stapling paperwork, we took the workplace and interpreted everyday actions into playful movement sequences. The most fun scene we filmed involved the shortest person in the office Amber handing files to the tallest person, Barry, as the files piled up, she had to jump in order to reach the top and all this whilst dancing the Charleston.

The dance scenes and movement vignettes were edited together to create a short film of just under three minutes. I was really pleased with the final cut and the feedback from the team at Carden's has been great. The film captures how much fun we had that day and shows the fantastic building in a completely new light.  I’m so grateful to Barry for coming up with the idea and I really hope we can find similar projects to work on in the future.

Written by Fiona Ring Co-Founder I Charleston Brighton