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Dance On Camera Festival January 6-17, 2009, Walter Reade Theater

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From the website:

Program 1 - Ballerina

Bertrand Normand, 2007, France; 77m

Russian ballerinas have always been a source of pride to their country and a revelation to the Western audiences, from Pavlova to Makarova. Normand, a Frenchman, explores his muse, the St. Petersburg ballerina, through interview and performance footage of Alina Somova, Svetlana Zakharova, Diana Vishneva, Ulyana Lopatkina and Evgenia Obraztsova. Each ballerina reveals her personal hopes and dreams, as well as the misfortunes that can interrupt a brilliant career. Lopatkina is seen returning to dancing after serious foot surgery and time off for motherhood. An intimate look at six of the Kirov’s rising stars and superstars. The filmmaker will introduce and do a Q and A. Made possible with the support of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy

Play: On the beach with the Ballets Russes

Gillian Lacey, England, 2008; 23m

Even dedicated dancers need time off for play. This film is comprised of informal archival footage of the Ballets Russes frolicking on the beach in Sidney, Australia during their 1936-1940 tours. No point shoes on the sand but some lively cartwheels, leaps and ballet poses in the edited fragments. We spotted the likes of Serge Lifar, Riabouchinska and raven-haired Tamara Toumanova and invite your guesses and comments after the screening. Alexander Balanescu wrote the score for the film as played by the Balanescu Quartet.

Program 3: Jirí Kylián On Screen

For over thirty years the highly creative collaboration of the Czech choreographer Jiri Kylian and the Nederlands Dans Theater has produced more than 60 extraordinary productions. The dance works made for television were directed by Hulscher, a specialist in capturing dance and opera. FALLING ANGELS (17m) set to the music of Steve Reich’s “Drumming;” PETITE MORT (18m) set to two piano concerti by Mozart; WINGS OF WAX (24m) to music by Cage, Glass, Bach and Biber; and SLEEPLESS made specifically for NDT II, the younger company to a modern score by Dirk Haubrich. Beautifully constructed and brilliantly performed, the ballets range from the ceremonial to the forcefully energetic, with an accent on the surreal in the newest works.

Wings of Wax

Hans Hulscher, Netherlands, 1997; 19m

Opening with a a bare tree, hanging crown downwards with its roots in the air, the dancers emerge out of the black background, only to be absorbed back into it again in Jirí Kylián's take on the man who flew too near the sun.

Petit Mort

Hans Hulscher, Netherlands, 1996; 18m

Set to the slow tempos of two of Mozart´s most beautiful and popular piano concertos, choreographer Jirí Kylián writes "I am living and working in a world where nothing is sacred, and where brutality and arbitrariness are commonplaces. This work should convey the idea of two ancient torsos, their heads and limbs cut off - however unable to destroy their beauty, thus reflecting the spiritual power of their creator".


Hans Hulscher, Netherlands, 2004, 26m

In this work for six dancers, Dutch choreographer Jirí Kylián uses Mozart's adagio and rondo KV 617 in C major to make a pun on 'moving, and being moved. He believes that "the nature of moving is such that, if you move towards something, you automatically move away from something else."

Fallen Angels

Hans Hulscher, Netherlands, 1997; 18m

For Jirí Kylián, the fascinating aspect of Reich's composition lies in its rhythmical structure - especially in the stylistic device called phasing. It creates a floating underground where the choreography is free to develop independently.

Program 14: American Masters: Jerome Robbins:

Something to Dance About

Judy Kinberg, 2008, USA; 112m

How does one describe a genius like Jerome Robbins—the choreographer/director who transformed the Broadway musical and left an indelible mark on the world of classical ballet? Here is a sneak-peek at an extraordinary documentary that explores this complex figure in all his contradictory colors. See it on the big screen prior to its PBS airing on February 4th. Directed and produced by six-time Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Judy Kinberg and written by best-selling Robbins biographer Amanda Vaill, it examines with candor and humor, his creative process, his perfectionism, and the controversies that plagued his life. Kinberg uncovers never-before-seen rehearsal footage and interviews many of his esteemed colleagues, including Mikhail Baryshnikov, Suzanne Farrell, Jacques d'Amboise, Chita Rivera, Stephen Sondheim and Arthur Laurents. A panel discussion with Kinberg, Vaill and other guests will follow.

Link: http://dancefilms.org/

There's some cool non-ballet dance films, too. I've seen Nora, and it's quite good, and they're screening some Busby Berkeley and other revivals.

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