After a very belated and very exhausting honeymoon, J and I boarded an EVA Air flight from Taipei to Hong Kong, where we would connect for our last leg to London. I buckled in, but my eyelids were heavy, and I was just about to drift into dreamland when J gave me a stern poke, gesturing towards the screen. I wasn’t surprised to see the EVA Air in-flight safety video playing, but I was surprised that the Taiwanese airline chose to feature dance. Apparently, I’m not the only one.
“Taiwanese airline EVA Air’s pre-flight safety video is a genuine oddity in a field littered with creative interpretations.”– Ayun Halliday, Open Culture
If you’re interested in learning about screendance, see our interview with Omari Carter, director of The Motion Dance Collective.
Industry In-Flight Safety Demonstrations and Videos
Most travelers have become accustomed to watching the airhostesses and stewards gesture in synchrony with an audio recording. They fasten and unfasten their seatbelts, pull on inflatable life vests and point out the emergency exits. But as more planes include built-in entertainment screens, many in-flight safety demonstrations are now broadcast as video.
Although each airline must present similarly critical information, some succeed at making their in-flight videos more entertaining than their competitors. These companies seek to highlight their brand’s style and personality. Virgin Atlantic’s cartoon in-flight has a mix of blockbuster themes from superheroes to cowboys, and British Airways infuses their in-flight with a good dose of (infamous) British humour. Meanwhile, EVA Air certainly distinguishes their company by incorporating modern dance.
EVA Air: Dancing In-Flight Safety Video
Lin Hwai-Min founded Taiwan’s most famous dance company, called Cloud Gate Dance Theatre; and the national dance troupe paved the way for many other modern dance companies to flourish. The dancers in Eva Air’s in-flight safety video, directed by Taiwanese Robin Lin, follow choreography by Bulareyaung Pagarlava – a local with roots in Taiwan’s indigenous Paiwan community. “The small crew of dancers spent three months translating the familiar directives into a vocabulary of symbolic gestures,” according to Ayun Halliday in this Open Culture article about the creative video.
Eva Air’s video doesn’t just feature modern dance; the short film showcases the dancers alongside 3-D projections to illustrate the aircraft’s standard safety procedures. This means that the performers don’t simply pantomime each action, which makes the video more interesting. However, the abstraction may make the important messages difficult for some audiences to understand, which would be cause for concern in case of an actual emergency.
David Middendorp, director of Another Kind of Blue, is famous for his productions that combine dance and technology. His futuristic Flirt with Reality show cleverly incorporates projections on a live stage.
Craig White, author of “Eva Air’s new safety video combines dancing and 3D-projection” for Business Traveller, agrees. He explains: “While the safety protocols that the video demonstrates are not always immediately clear from the performance, the background music and visually impressive sequences certainly make for an interesting viewing – a positive for a safety video, which are likely to often be ignored by seasoned travellers.” In terms of actual flight safety, the Eva Air’s dance-y video may be better suited to frequent flyers than first-time flyers, but it absolutely delighted me.
Check out the EVA Air In-Flight Safety Video below.
Now that you’ve seen it, tell us what you think of the video. Do you find that the in-flight clip is informative, entertaining or a mixture of both? We look forward to hearing your opinion in the comments below.