Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Syfy's Swan Song "Face Off" Finale

It's not surprising that fairy tales, or some version of them, crop up on a special effects make-up show but last night's finale on Syfy's Face Off was extra special.

The remaining three contestants had to design and create two characters from Swan Lake for two principal dancers of the Los Angeles Ballet: one was the maiden as she's being transformed into a swan and the other the evil sorcerer who made it happen (aka Von Rothbart for all the ballet people).

Excuse me a minute while I whoop and cheer here. I come from a ballet background and so all the ballet fairy tales are near and dear to my heart - especially when they include transformation. The iconic fairy tale ballet is, of course, Swan Lake. Indeed it's iconic for all ballet and for good reason. The light vs dark aspects and transformation of one being or creature to another is reflected in so much of life and, as the movie Black Swan showed, works as an excellent metaphor for a career in dance (and any lifestyle requiring intense commitment) as well.

For the Face Off contestants though, they were given an extra twist. Each of the contestants had to pick a different time period to incorporate into the design of their characters as well.

This meant, not only did they have two days to create two complete make-ups - one female and one male, have them be obviously different characters while from the same - unique - world, but also that they had to be performance-worthy for a live, theatrical show (ie those feathers had to stay on!) AND camera ready.
Tate chose the Industrial era,


... Roy chose the Ming Dynasty...


... and Laura chose Italian Renaissance.

The results from everyone - as you can see - were stunning!

Here's a teaser preview:
(Note: though I've done the research, heard the critiques, seen some behind-the-scenes and know the spoilery result, I have yet to see more than a fleeting glimpse here and there of the performances because I'm using every ounce of patience to wait to share it with my family tonight!)

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As the videos below will tell you, the winner of the Season 5, "Swan Song" finale for Face Off was: Laura Tyler!

Look at how beautiful her pair were together in performance!

I dearly wish there was enough footage released to show more of the reveal and performance, however there are a couple of critiques and I'm posting both since they show different footage (I'm sure more will appear online in the coming week).
Take a look:

Boy did Laura deserve it! I've been rooting for her since she first appeared in Season 3. She clearly has a natural knack, is consistent in having a high quality of design, her execution of sculptures, applying prosthetics and painting is all tremendous and she doesn't generally play it safe. The girl is freaking talented!
I'm so glad she is able to do this for a living and I'm curious what new direction, if any, her win will take her in.

In the meantime, I'd like to see a whole HUGE production of swan lake interpreted in all of these ways! The ballet fairy tale has been through some interesting re-visions by modern choreographers and designers but I haven't seen any go so deep into fantasy for a production, possibly because, well, how on earth would all the performers have time to get ready? Especially the Odette/Odile persona change! But I'd love to see a properly designed, staged and filmed version of the ballet completely executed in these styles, along with story variations to suit. It would be amazing. 

PS: Still need a topic for NaNo? Write us a Swan Lake story set in either the Industrial Age, during the Ming Dynasty or in Italian Renaissance! I'll even post notice of it here on Once Upon A Blog if you do and let me know.

Fairy tale bonus of the day:
Mother Goose Face Off Makeup

My favorite of the Mother Goose challenge, which was pretty fun to watch, was the Humpty Dumpty interpretation as well, although there was not much Dumpty to this Humpty! Instead, this egg was haute couture - something I had even thought of before, let alone seen.

(And now we need someone to write a female Humpty story, about being delicate and feeling like you're walking on egg shells around her...)

1 comment:

  1. I loved this season! And I thought these were really beautiful make-ups. I agree with you about Laura's work -- always so polished and elegant. But I did really like Tate's vision for the swan. She was really gorgeous in her own industrial way. It was really a fun season with some beautiful work.