Flexing, the often amazing and ubiquitous style of street dance that originated in Brooklyn, comes in many forms and flavors. These days there is so much overlap and multi-layered influence in dance in general that I hesitate to give any style outside of pure classical or tap a label… great dance just speaks for itself about what it’s like to be alive and human and in your body in space or in a place and in this moment right now. And like any great dance, when captured well on film it just reaches out and grabs you and won’t let go.
First featured on NOWNESS, flexing with the Dream Ring’s Ophion is, at least for me, just such a film. Beautifully shot and directed on the streets of Bed-Stuy by Samantha Casolari with a mostly moving camera and the vibe of being totally shot from the hip, it depicts its dancing subjects in a variety of urban settings with blown out orange hues, varying focus, and an impressionistic palette with a super eight feel. I particularly love when the only female flexer is miming the image of hitting a wall and later of what looks like a child’s shadow dancing. The music by Tyondai Braxton is hauntingly lovely and creates the perfect backdrop.
As per the director’s liner notes, “In Greek mythology, Ophion was a primordial serpentine god and the husband of the Titan queen Eurynome, who created him by dancing… The sensuous, wavy and serpentine movements of the dancers kept on bringing to my mind images of snakes, and they seem to resemble mythological or archetypal creatures occupied in mystical dances and fights.”
Besides all of the above and this film being urban, real, unpretentious, and stunning, I don’t want to say much more than just…. watch it.