The Art of Movement : Helen Hawaz

The Art of Movement series explores the concept of movement from every which way, dissecting the topic with folks from all walks of life. We’re kicking things off with our friend and stellar creative human, Helen Hawaz.

Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do.

Who am I? I’m someone who wishes we could just meet over some delicious food and get to talking. But what I do for work is easy – I’m a video editor, and sometimes a pet sitter. 

What is your definition of movement?

My definition of movement is the pull we all feel from something bigger than us, and our compulsion to reach out to it. 

How does movement show up in your work?

Editing is all about movement, both literally and figuratively. There’s great emotional capacity in the full stop of a cut, in the dance (slow or fast) of montage, and in the way an edit breathes. So many pieces come into play to make this a possibility – music, picture, sound design, color, graphics, and story – in order to, as Pudovkin put it, psychologically guide the spectator. 

What is the last video or film that really moved you? Tell us more.

There was an episode of Netflix’s Street Food: Asia that was centered on the street food in Osaka, Japan, but specifically one man named Toyo. Toyo has one hell of a spirit. He reminds me of my father and the values he instilled in me growing up, so I felt connected to his story immediately. His voiceover begins the episode with “I’ve always lived my own way without following the current.” Without revealing too much about the episode, I’ll say that Toyo moved me in his resourcefulness, commitment to his path WHILE making allowances for life’s curveballs (i.e. a consistent, forward motion, right?), and his very playful and warm prankster heart.

If you could move anywhere, where would it be?

Probably Chicago or Detroit, or back to my home in Columbus. I really miss Dirty Frank’s. 

What’s your favorite way to move?

Music and dance. Music is my teleportation machine. I’ve got a vivid imagination and zero hinderances, so I just GO. Dance is how I take my body with me. My favorite dances are Kizomba, Salsa, Hip Hop, and Contemporary. 

How do you move through creative blocks?

It depends on the type of creative block. Sometimes it’s the inability to create, and other times it’s the inability to see what’s next. If it’s the former, I turn to a medium that I’m not so good at – like singing or painting, and I do something there without the pressure of doing it well and showing anyone else. If it’s the latter, I pause. I put it down and come back to it after I’ve spent time away, whether it’s some breath work on my couch or people watching on my porch. Always does the trick.

In the spirit of movement, Helen would like to direct readers to experience Watchtower of Turkey. Watch preferably in a dark room with good speakers/headphones, with the volume as high as you can manage!

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