Odd student film finds cult status

by Justin Bow | 11/24/98 6:00am

Sometimes a chain of seemingly unrelated incidents come together to form a cohesive conclusion. "Life & Sex & Step & Flow" is the product of one of those chains. Created by Dartmouth students Tom Beale '00 and Jamie Fisher '99, this is a short, homemade video currently on sale for five dollars a copy.

Basically, what you get for your money is a 15-minute documentary bit about the creation of the video followed by a preview for another video they're working on, Fisher dancing to a guy playing guitar, and then an exercise video.

What exactly "Step & Flow" is must be explained before anything else can be said about it. At some point a couple years ago, Fisher was asked to drive a friend of his to perform on public access cable. The friend was going to play Paul Simon songs on his guitar and Fisher insisted that in exchange for his assistance, he be allowed to dance on TV while his friend played. Another friend of theirs recorded the performance on an old exercise video, and this tape is the force which started the whole thing.

"Step & Flow" itself is an exercise system developed by some guy out West which basically involves taking a big brightly colored hose full of water and swinging it around. This is supposed to have some sort of aerobic value for the user.

For a year, the tape lay dormant in Fisher's house, only shown occassionally to friends who wanted to see him dance. Then, people wanted to watch it again. And again. Soon, Fisher was showing the "Step & Flow" video relatively regularly to a circle of close friends.

Beale, having been told of "Step & Flow" by mutual friends of his and Fisher's, decided to watch it and then thought it would be fun to do a little documentary about the bizarre coincidences which led to its existence and possession by Fisher.

"It's a video about a video, that's the genius," Beale said regarding what attracted him to the project in the first place. This idle interest was encouraged by repeated difficulties with producing more traditional documentary offerings for his film studies class. Thus, "Step & Flow" was created in its final form.

Recently, the video has had a certain underground success. The creators claim to have shown it to roughly 100 people with a 95 percent approval rate. Beale said"[The video] seems like something you just don't know how to deal with. That's why people watch."

Fisher said, "It's a cosmic force."

As to what they expect to get out of this project, both Beale and Fisher said similar things; they want to spread the word of "Step & Flow."

"I think I already got something out of it," pointed out Fisher. "It's a fun little chaotic event. It makes life interesting."

Having viewed the tape, I can say that it is what is advertised. A guy dancing followed by a weird workout video. Basically, it's a cult-type movie that either you get or you don't. I will say that the way Fisher dances hurt my brain. If you do want to check it out, you can blitz "Step & Flow" to buy a copy.