Twirly Legs and All: Spike Jonze Spreads His Dance Wings

The fashion and dance worlds have long flirted, and Opening Ceremony has a history of collaborating with Mr. Jonze, a friend, and others in their cool-kid clique. “We have this relationship where we dip in and out of each other’s projects,” said Humberto Leon, one-half of the design team Opening Ceremony. “He comes by our office like every other day.”

This is the first time they’ve opened their work to the public, though. “We wanted to be inclusive, not just insidery,” Mr. Leon said.

Though Mr. Jonze is known for his dance-heavy music videos (he twice won MTV awards for helping choreograph Fatboy Slim videos, including “Praise You,” in which he danced), “Changers,” which runs about 30 minutes, is his first crack at a longer dance piece. “I can really explore telling a story in a language which is all dance,” he said. “I like trying to do things I’ve never done before, that I don’t know how to do. That’s when it’s exciting, because you don’t know whether it’s going to work or not.”

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Spike Jonze directs Ms. Wasikowska and the dancer Chris Grant

Credit
Dolly Faibyshev

He wrote a script and came armed with movement ideas. On tour recently with the singer Frank Ocean, “I’d be in the hotel by myself during the day,” devising steps, Mr. Jonze said. “I’d videotape myself dancing out phrases and then text them to Ryan.”

Mr. Heffington, a Los Angeles choreographer and studio owner with a dedicated following, who is best known for his work on videos with Sia (on YouTube, he’ll teach you to do the “Chandelier” dance), saw himself in a supporting role, helping fulfill Mr. Jonze’s precise vision. “It’s been more specific than I think any other project I’ve had the pleasure to work on,” Mr. Heffington said, “because there is such a specific narrative.”

The piece is the story of a couple, Ms. Wasikowska and Mr. Stanfield, and the evolution of their relationship. “We’re fast-forwarding this couple’s life, to bring us to present day,” said Carol Lim, the other half of Opening Ceremony. The set includes two wardrobes, and the dancers change clothes throughout, in front of the audience — their way of modeling Opening Ceremony’s designs.

Though there’s no dialogue, “they all have dialogue inside every move and gesture,” from the script, Mr….

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