‘Old But Gold’ Powers Whiskey Advert: Sandy Cuthbert and Jane Mooney

‘Old But Gold’ Powers Whiskey Advert: Sandy Cuthbert and Jane Mooney

You can imagine how surprised Sandy and I were to receive a phone call out of nowhere from Teneo, a Dublin-based public relations firm for Powers Whiskey, asking if we would be interested in dancing in a one-minute advert on their ‘OldButGold’ campaign. 

Initially, it was hard to see the link between whiskey and dance.  Powers is a mature whiskey brand and we are mature movers, so that was some connection. We learned that Powers keeps reinventing new brands, each taking 6 to 12 years to mature, and this reminded us of all the years of invisible hard work that goes into becoming a dancer.  We then watched the company’s earlier promotions involving mature people doing unusual physical activities and were impressed by the story telling and beautiful filming. We were curious, wondering if this might be an opportunity for us to plan playful improvisations, taking ideas from the richness and fun, modern look of the brand.

Our initial aspirations were soon on hold when we discovered that Teneo thought we would be doing ballet. We then participated in some zoom meetings with the production team and artistic director, Locky McKenna, and explained that our dance style was contemporary, reflecting how the body moves, feels and responds to the world in which we live. As mature movers, we mentioned that age had liberated our dancing, increasing our pleasure in exploring movement and discovering its nuances. We exchanged videos and emails so that we were all on the same page.  We agreed that filming outdoors would be ideal, as a natural environment was very stimulating for all of us.

Two weeks later, we were in the middle of one of Ireland’s worst storms!  Being outdoors was out of the question. The production crew brought Sandy and I to an abandoned Catholic nunnery in Kells, outside Dublin, where they had created a beautiful space and atmosphere.  We improvised, using the images of whiskey, its colour and liquidity, to inspire our movement and adding in moments of cannon, repetition, contact, unison, changes of scale and dynamics. The crew filmed continuously.  Locky made additional suggestions to enhance, expand or reduce our movement. There were no rehearsals and we never repeated anything.  At the end of the day, Locky did a recorded Q&A with us, that was used as the voiceover for the film.

The filming process was liberating. Perhaps the greatest pleasure was that we did not feel we needed to be anything other than ourselves. For me, dancing now is a coming home to the discovery of treasured bits of a life of dance already embodied and ready to be awakened.  I have such gratitude and joy to be moving and a renewed passion to ‘take up space’ as Twyla Tharp encourages all of us mature movers to do in her book ‘Keep It Moving: Lessons for the Rest of your Life’.  Well worth a read.

http://Jane and Sandy X Powers Whiskey | #OldButGold

By Jane Mooney