The Dance Camera West Film Festival kicks off tonight in L.A., celebrating and promoting dance in film. The festival runs through June 13, though the majority of events take place this weekend. Super-cool highlights? Performances by L.A.'s BODYTRAFFIC and L.A. Contemporary Dance Company; a YouTube panel discussion with Tony Testa, Vincent Paterson, Jon Chu and Ian Eastwood; and screenings of films that feature artists like Storyboard P, Daniel Cloud Campos, Sergei Polunin, Daniel Ezralow and Pandit Chitresh Das and Jason Samuels Smith. To say the least, it's going to be awesome. (Get the full schedule here.)
This year's festival also marked the inaugural CalArts@Dance Camera West Emerging Artists Competition. Sponsored by Dance Camera West and the dance and film divisions of California Institute of the Arts, the competition welcomed films from high school and college dancers. Four winners were announced earlier this week: Ohio State University's Daniel Diller was named first runner-up for his film Up. Side. Down. exploring skateboarding movements; second runner-up Amber Schmiesing from Elon University presented Concert in D Minor, a film inspired by Mozart's life; and Palo Alto High School student Kristen Carey received special recognition for Inside My Mind, a work that dives deep into the world of Irish dancing. Juilliard dancer Nobel Lakaev took home first place and a cash prize for his film Behind Closed Doors.
The winners' work will be screened June 8 at REDCAT, in Downtown L.A. Can't make it? Watch a few excerpts from Nobel's Behind Closed Doors below. (FYI: The video goes dark for a little over a minute at 1:30...but it picks back up. Enjoy!)
A still from Sia's "Chandelier" video.
Maddie Ziegler's not in Pittsburgh anymore. Yesterday, Sia released the official music video for her song, "Chandelier," and it stars none other than the 11-year-old "Dance Moms" phenom herself. (Somewhere in PA, Christi is whining that Chloe wasn't chosen.)
The video, choreographed by Ryan Heffington (owner of L.A.'s Sweat Spot), features Maddie—wearing a nude leo and a sweet platinum wig—tilting, turning, leaping, and pretty much going berserk in an empty, dingy house. And while those curtsies at the end of the video are super-creepy, this just may be Maddie's best performance yet. Take a look:
I'm sure you guys know about Jiří Kylián—the Czech choreographer who has almost single-handedly defined contemporary dance, and whose work is Nederlands Dans Theater's calling card. But do you know about Mats Ek?
Ek is a Swedish choreographer and the former director of the Cullberg Ballet (that home of all things REALLY weird). He's known for some of his masterpieces, like 2000's Apartment, as well as his adaptations of classical ballets like Giselle and Swan Lake (not to mention his iconic artistic partnership with Sylvie Guillem). Let's just say that when he's done with them, the ballets look absolutely nothing like what you'd expect.
Hubbard Street Dance Chicago's Jessica Tong and Jacqueline Burnett in Mats Ek's Casi-Casa (photo by Todd Rosenberg)
Thanks to the new documentary The Choreographer Mats Ek, you can get inside Ek's mind as he creates work. It's available to rent on Vimeo, and it provides some insight into a process that can seem hopelessly enigmatic. And now that there's also a new-ish documentary about Kylián, you can give yourself an education in contemporary European choreographers! Dance #nerdz rejoice!
Hi SF! Sometimes we dancers overlook your awesome, innovative dance scene because we're too focused on what's going on in NYC and L.A. But nothing helps us zoom in on the city by the bay better than the annual San Francisco Dance Film Festival.
Every day I'm...jumping in a desert filled with balloons. (Differ.e.n.t., directed by Justin Tipping)
The SFDFF showcases a pretty amazing collection of dance pieces choreographed especially for camera. By watching these films, we get to see dance in places where an audience couldn't normally go (like on a mountain top), or from new and unusual angles. Ranging from documentaries to experimental shorts, from elaborate locations to simple studios, all of these films have something in common: drop-dead gorgeousness.
Hello epic! (Photo by Richard St-Pierre, via Glace crevasse et dérive, directed by Albert Girard and Chantal Caron)
The submissions are from all over the world, but it's so San Francisco to host a festival that celebrates the seamless partnership between art and technology—especially one that helps us see dance in new and exciting ways. Check out the official festival trailer below. It's beyond inspiring—and maybe next year you can submit your own film!
Is filmmaker Tarik Abdel-Gawad's "experiment" the future of dance on camera? He recently made a dance film with San Francisco Ballet principals Maria Kochetkova and Joan Boada, using robots to track their movements. I'm obsessed with all things Masha, so even if this film was a flop I still would have watched it. However, not surprisingly, it's quite beautiful.
This is how Abdel-Gawad did it: he had the dancers perform in motion capture suits and then used the digital version of their performance to plot computerized, pre-programed camera angles to record their live performance. Confused? I was too. Check out this behind-scenes-documentary where Abdel-Gawad and the dancers explain the process and some of the hurdles they encountered.
Does this filming technique give the viewer a feeling of being onstage with the dancers? Kind of. Does it seem like a lot of work to do something that could potentially be accomplished with a hand-held camera? Sorta. Does it indicate a new direction for dance and technology—and does it showcase amazing dancing? Definitely. Check out the final product below.
We're already incredibly excited about the fact that New York City Ballet principal Robert Fairchild has a starring role in Christopher Wheeldon's new stage production of An American in Paris—which debuts this November à Paris. But a new set of photos is getting us even more revved up.
Opposite Fairchild's Jerry Mulligan (the role played by Gene Kelly in the 1951 film) will be Royal Ballet first artist Leanne Cope as Lise, and the duo will surely light up the Théâtre du Châtelet stage. Just look at the chemistry in these images by Sylvain Gripoix!
Could they be any cuter?
Loving the throwback to "Our Love is Here to Stay" in the film!
I bet he's imagining his new wife, Tiler Peck. Awwwww.
Booking your flight to Paris? Click here for An American in Paris ticket details. (And if you can't make it to the City of Light, don't worry: The show is coming to Broadway next spring!)