Magazine article Dance Magazine

Terry Notary: On Bringing Hollywood's Creatures to Life on Screen

Magazine article Dance Magazine

Terry Notary: On Bringing Hollywood's Creatures to Life on Screen

Article excerpt

When Hollywood needs to build a fantasy world populated with extraordinary creatures, they call Terry Notary. The former gymnast and circus performer got his start in film in 2000 when Ron Howard asked him to teach the actors how to move like Whos for How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Notary has since served as a movement choreographer, stunt coordinator and performer via motion capture technology for everything from the Planet of the Apes series to The Hobbit trilogy, Avatar, Avengers: Endgame and this summer's The Lion King. Since opening the Industry Dance Academy with his wife, Rhonda, and partners Maia and Richard Suckle, Notary also offers movement workshops for actors in Los Angeles.

I've played apes, birds, dogs, the Hulk, goblins, aliens and all types of abominations, but the process for every role is kind of alike. I try not to picture what I'm going to do--I start from a place of freedom and just play, like a child.

Finding the details of the movement is kind of like writing--you take a road and explore it. I usually start moving, thinking about the character's past, what shapes them, and how it would affect how they behave and move. I think, If the character were an object, what would it be? Maybe it's crumpled tinfoil or a feather.

I eventually find a cadence for the character's walk. A really solid, heroic character might be in a four-count, but something evil or off-kilter is in a one-, three- or five-count. What drives the character might also drive their movement. …

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