Kiwi choreographer completes Earth Day film in lockdown

A UK-based Kiwi choreographer has been working through isolation to produce a special dance film for Earth Day's fiftieth anniversary.

Spaghetti Junction was filmed beneath Birmingham's infamous interchange of the same name - a sprawling knot of chaos and concrete. But underneath, it's almost peaceful. 

Corey Baker uses that contrast to highlight the effects of air pollution.

"Transport is really a gigantic source of bad carbon emissions. There's a lot of people that die every year connected to this," he told Newshub.

Climate change is a dominant theme in Baker's work. Two years ago, he made history when he choreographed the first ever dance film made on Antarctica.

Like The Last Dance, Spaghetti Junction has been released to coincide with Earth Day.

"Sometimes connecting with a message through art maybe gives you a different visceral experience and engagement with that concept," he says.

The film had its challenges to get to this stage. Firstly, one of the dancers had to return to Hong Kong as it went into lockdown.

"He had to get back there quickly so we had an even tighter schedule to film it in, and we did the filming and he went back and he was safe and fine," Baker explains.

But then the UK went into lockdown too, meaning Baker and his editor had to complete the film frame-by-frame over video call.

"Sending timecodes and going 'no, it's one frame to the left,' and 'crop his hand out,' and 'actually can you use this clip?' It was a bit of a nightmare," he says.

"Thankfully the editor hasn't killed me and I haven't killed him, we're still very much friends," he adds.

Spaghetti Junction isn't just for Earth Day, though. The two-and-a-half minute film is airing as part of the BBC's Culture in Quarantine initiative.

"It is a real honour to work in that field and try and create things that mean something and spark emotion, or thought, or conversation within people."

As staying home now forces us to cut down on emissions - Baker says it's providing climate scientists with tangible data.

"Something that's really interesting in this lockdown is that it's forcing less mobility, and it's actually giving climate change scientists actual figures and statistics to work with," he says.

And it's posing new questions for humanity.

"What were the benefits of mankind slowing down a bit, and mother nature and the earth having a little bit of breathing space?"

After tackling Antarctica and Spaghetti Junction, Baker's already eyeing up his next locations: the Great Barrier Reef, the Amazon, and space.