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Choreographing Reality

(First of a series)

By Sofie Buckminster

Classical music has an underrated amount of personality. Being an orchestra kid throughout middle and high school, I had a handful of classical pieces drilled into my head each semester. It became my favorite music to dance to – between the soothing sway of the cello and the lively melody of the violin, classical music makes for a compelling soundtrack to movement.

Upon coming home for winter break my freshman year, I was jarred by the stillness of life away from Duke. Profoundly bored by the apparent nothingness, I resolved to create something. So, I began filming. I intensely documented a late-night baking session that my sibling Ellis proposed. Aside from being an excuse to get out of whisking, filming pushed me to capture the activity from every angle imaginable. The stream of olive oil cutting through the flour, the waterfall of milk splashing against the measuring cup; all of these little moments added up to what was truthfully only a sub-par plate of vegan cookies. 


Sifting through the footage, I found a drama in the way the ingredients interacted with one another. On a whim, I picked one of my high school orchestra pieces to use as a soundtrack and began arranging my clips accordingly. Turns out, I could make them dance to the music. I made the cinnamon wait for the harp’s cue to sprinkle itself into the mixing bowl. I held off the addition of the flour until the music swelled to the perfect height. Life was no longer still. 

Creating videos has become my method of appreciating the mundane. Day to day life is full of subtle stories – you just have to be willing to indulge them. Classical music can turn the simple act of sifting flour into a gloriously triumphant event – it has the power to dramatize the ordinary, unmatched by any other music genre.


With a little creativity, twenty minutes in a bookstore became a hauntingly isolated venture through a temple of nostalgia; an afternoon at the park turned into an ode to fleeting relationships, between toddlers or canines. Ultimately, creating videos empowers you to decide the story – after all, life is what you make of it. When the world feels motionless, make it dance.

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