In an empty theater, these two men get together to give us a taste of this vaudeville specialty, making a delicate, scratchy sound over a thin layer of sand. The camera moves in close on cupped hands pouring sand; sliding and skittering feet; handsome, warmly-lit faces. Each one dances a little, talks a little.
Darrow Igus recalls first seeing sand dancing in the 1960s when he was a high school student, playing a trombone for a street-dweller who showed him the moves. Now, we see him trading moves with Kenji, who is primarily a tap dancer. The elder Igus reveres the classic age of tap, the likes of Astaire and the Nicholas Brothers. He wants his son to learn to use his upper body more actively and fluidly in a way that, he says, today's tappers have gotten away from. He envisions Kenji championing a hybrid of tap and sand dance that will bring some of this classiness back.
Sand is tantalizing because, over a mere ten minutes, we don't get to see enough dancing, or really enough of the kind of dancing that Darrow Igus dreams about. But even in this brief hangout, we do feel the quiet respect between these two guys and their dedication as performers. It's a lovely film.
My January 19 post contains a trailer to give you a tidbit of this intimate tidbit of good things to come!
Dance Legacies screenings are scheduled for January 30 and January 31 at the Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center. For more information on this program, click here. To purchase tickets, click your selected date under "Showtimes" (left-hand column).
Dance on Camera is a presentation of Dance Films Association and co-sponsored by The Film Society of Lincoln Center.
Dance on Camera
Walter Reade Theater
165 West 65th Street (between Amsterdam and Broadway), Manhattan