Curated by Liz Woolf and Joanna Ney, the 2016 edition of Dance on Camera once again explores the multifaceted histories and expressions of dance through film documentaries, shorts, features, experimental works, and music videos. You won't want to miss Jack Walsh's Feelings Are Facts: The Life of Yvonne Rainer, an engrossing collage of interviews and footage in which radical dance artist Rainer, now 81, reveals "I love existing in front of spectators" and traces her adventurous, eccentric pathway from the Judson revolution to her filmmaking work and subsequent return to choreography. Why not subtitle this The Lives of Yvonne Rainer? She's had as many as any wily cat.
See Feelings Are Facts (82 min) on the festival's closing night, Friday, February 16 at 8pm, including a Rainer/Walsh Q&A. (Click for details and tickets.)
I also got advance look at two films with a Cuban connection:
My body is in Cuba, but my soul is in Africa, and it is my African soul that nourishes my Cuban body.
--Alfredo Duquesne Mora (El Duque), Cuban artist, woodcarver and stonemason, in They Are We
They Are We: In this affecting film, anthropologist and first-time director Emma Christopher documents how she united people from an Afro-Cuban ethnic group, Ganga-Longoba, with their counterparts across the Atlantic in a Sierra Leone village. Learning that these Cubans, descendants of African slaves, know and regularly practice their traditional songs and dances, the Africans react with surprise, keen interest and generosity. Despite notable redundancy, Christopher's film has genuine emotional impact.
See The Are We (77 min) on Monday, February 15 at 3:15pm, including a Q&A with Emma Christopher. (Click for details and tickets.)
All along, I knew there's an easy life I could have chosen but did not.
--lyrics from "With My Heart" by Heidi Happy, in Horizons/Horizonte
Horizons/Horizontes: Eileen Hofer connects intimate and ultimately poignant portraits of three generations of Cuban ballet dancers. The film opens with vintage footage of Cuba's queen of classical dance, the now nonagenarian Alicia Alonso, flawlessly performing multiple fouettes. Then Hofer quickly introduces us to two younger women aspiring to follow in Alonso's footsteps at Ballet Nacional de Cuba--Viengsay Valdés, a rising star, and Amanda de Jesús Pérez Duarte, a student hoping to join the company. Their stories demonstrate how much ballet requires--a sacrificial investment of body and psyche to create the illusion of effortless grace, an art both sensual and brutal. Cuba keeps ballet and its stellar dancers tied closely to the glory of its revolution--a political relationship completely unimaginable on the US scene.
See Horizons/Horizontes (71 min) on Saturday, February 13, 1pm. (Click for details and tickets.)
For a complete lineup of
Dance on Camera screenings
and associated events, click here.
Screenings will be held at:
Walter Reade Theater
16 West 65th Street, Manhattan
Panels and free events will be held at:
Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center Auditorium
144 West 65th Street, Manhattan
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