I was a dancer for more than 2o years and even though I’ve since retired my shoes, my heart is still dedicated to the art. When I found out that Dance Camera West was hosting its Dance Media Film Festival in LA I couldn’t wait to go. I’ve seen countless live dance performances throughout the world and many recordings of dance performances, but I’ve never witnessed the artistic intersection of dance and film. This type of art goes beyond documenting choreography. Instead, the filmmakers enhance the visual language of dance by using movement and cinematography to create their own work of art.
The Dance Media Film Festival is a 4 day event, and it includes live dance performances in fountains as part of the “Get Wet” Dance Series. When Sara and I arrived at the Music Center, patrons were milling around the Peace on Earth Fountain, eating dinner, catching up with friends, and finding places to sit for the upcoming performance. We sat down under a tree by the fountain, and eagerly awaited the beginning of the dance.
We couldn’t have asked for a better start to the evening. The dancers were all very talented, but the true star of the performance was the dancer in the red costume. As you can tell by what she was wearing, she wasn’t given much range of movement. But when she did move it was with a grace and a beauty that took your breath away. Every move she made was mesmerizing.
After the outdoor performance, we headed inside The Music Center’s Eva and Marc Stern Grand Hall to watch the films.
There were 11 films total, ranging from 1 minute to 10 minutes and 24 seconds. My favorites were Spiegelingen, Le Saut Infini, Ingenue, and Veronica and Vincent.
Spiegelingen feels very much like a dance version of The Ring. As a man explores an abandoned and ever-changing building, the cinematography and movement of a woman whose face we never quite see create a haunting duet.
Le Saut Infini is striking in its simplicity, with the camera focusing on every breath and every ripple of the dancers’ muscles. It is so beautiful that it gave me chills and made me want to cry.
Ingenue is a clever piece featuring a man and his identically dressed female assistant first replacing each other, then dancing together and blurring the line between who is the teacher and who is the student.
Finally, Veronica and Vincent features a couple dancing in an open field. Overlaying the music is an old woman’s voice describing her relationship with her late husband. Reflecting the woman’s words that she knew Vincent loved her but didn’t show it enough, the female dancer does most of the dancing, while her male partner never quite seems to give her the movement or emotion that she needs.
It was a wonderful night, and I left with a new-found appreciation for this art. And with an ache in my heart to start dancing again.