Dance on Camera's Deluge of Films
Enter the Faun with Gregg Mozgala, choreography by Tamar Rogoff
It seems like everybody is making dance films these days. You can get a lot of quick hits on YouTube or Vimeo, but the annual Dance on Camera festival gathers heavy hitters from the dance community. This year, the festival packs 56 films into five days, starting Friday, February 12. They range from documentaries on Ted Shawn, Luigi and Bessie Schonberg to brand new films on a passionate tango couple and a death-defying trapeze act.
On opening night, Dance Films Association, which co-presents DOC with the Film Society of Lincoln Center, will honor Pat Birch, choreographer of the movie Grease, with a talk from Pat Birch herself. On February 14, famous Balanchine ballerina Merrill Ashley will be on hand to discuss The Dance Goodbye, a film that documents her farewell from NYCB.
The three films in the festival that I’ve seen are all stirring, and each has a sense of humor springing up through the heavy stuff.
Enter the Faun follows choreographer Tamar Rogoff and her work with charismatic actor Gregg Mozgala, who has cerebral palsy. Rogoff is a kind of miracle worker, and Mozgala is a funny, witty guy who is pretty much at peace with being “differently able.” They will both appear at the post-show talk on February 14.
Yvonne Rainer in screen grab of film of Trio A, 1978, appearing in Feelings Are Facts documentary.
The documentary on Yvonne Rainer, Feelings Are Facts, is revealing to those who know nothing about her as well as those of us who have followed her choreography and her “difficult” feminist films. Let’s face it, she’s a legend. This film, directed by Jack Walsh, shows us why, in the most charmingly modest ways. (Full disclosure: I’m one of the commentators in the film, which was shot about seven years ago.) Join Rainer and Walsh for a talk on the last day of the festival.
In an effort to give all NYC school kids the gift of dance, Jody Gottfried Arnhold, this year’s honoree of Dance Films Association, has created a program to boost dance in the schools. This delightful film samples five master teachers who know how to turn kids on to dancing—all kinds of kids. When it was screened last spring, I loved seeing how resourceful the teachers are and how vulnerable or joyful the children are. This film is essential viewing for anyone interested in dance education. A panel discussion will follow the February 13 screening.
A still from PS Dance
Although I highly recommend the above three films, I think everybody should go and discover which of the 56 are their favorites. What a bonanza! It’s equivalent to a semester-long course in dance history or dance media. Click here to see the full schedule. Some events are free.
"I'm like, a notch down from Beyoncé," says Tayla Solomon, a member of the Lethal Ladies of Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women (LLOB) step team. "Because I do still mess up."
That confident-yet-real attitude pretty much sums up why we're obsessed with the dancers of LLOB—and the new documentary about them, Step. The film follows the team as they navigate applying to college, practicing for the first place title that has eluded them throughout the years and dealing with their often-challenging family lives.
Booking a gig on a cruise ship can feel like you're diving into the unknown—dropping everything to live in the middle of the ocean without family, friends or cell service. But cruise jobs can also offer incredible rewards, like traveling the world for free and delving into a new style.
Is ship life the right fit for you? Here are some elements to consider.
We knew that New York downtown dance darling Okwui Okpokwasili was a big deal. Critics and audiences have been raving about her dance-theater works for years, and the new documentary about her, Bronx Gothic, has attracted the attention of the larger arts community.
But never in our wildest dreams did we imagine she'd show up in a Jay Z video, along with flex dancer Storyboard P. Though we're slightly less surprised to see Storyboard in Jay Z's "4:44" video than we were to see Okpokwasili, we're jazzed that two of our favorites are featured on such a huge platform. (We're also feeling #blessed that we didn't have to subscribe to Tidal to watch this.)
Throughout the years, choreographer Seán Curran has worked with a diverse array of talented collaborators—from Kyrgyz music ensemble Ustatshakirt Plus to the the Grammy Award–winning King's Singers. But perhaps none are as meaningful as his most recent group of co-choreographers: At-risk teens from the after school program and nonprofit The Wooden Floor.
Curran has been in residence with The Wooden Floor since June, where he's worked with students to build choreography based on their lives and communities:
Their creation will be shown July 20-22 at The Wooden Floor Studio Theatre in Santa Ana, California.
"Besides the stage, baking is my other happy place," says New York City Ballet corps member Jenelle Manzi.
Four years ago, she thought her baking days were over when she was diagnosed with gluten intolerance. Manzi had been dealing with pain, frequent illness and joint inflammation for nearly 10 years. Once she cut out gluten, Manzi gradually started to feel better, noticing a transformation in how her body felt and functioned. She found her joints were less inflamed, and she got sick less often.
New York City Ballet soloist Unity Phelan and American Ballet Theatre soloist Cassandra Trenary spend every day making their hard work look effortless and graceful both in the studio and onstage. That's exactly what makes them the perfect spokesmodels for the dance-inspired activewear line, Belle Force.
To celebrate our 90th anniversary, we excavated some of our favorite hidden gems from the DM Archives—images that capture a few of the moments in time we've documented over the decades.
This image was captured during a 1978 New York City Ballet tour that took the company to Copenhagen—home turf for Adam Luders (right), who trained at the Royal Danish Ballet School and briefly danced with the company before joining NYCB as a principal dancer in 1975. Next to Luders is (of course) George Balanchine, in conversation with ballerina Suzanne Farrell. And looking on with a smile? NYCB's current ballet master in chief Peter Martins.