I recently had the pleasure of curating a series of dance films for Grand Park’s “Our LA Voices.” Mining the landscape of dancers and choreographers within my Los Angeles community, I reached out to Chris Bordenave of No)one Arthouse for any films he might have, and he directed me to The Movement.
Created in collaboration with the launch of a new LA-based art journal celebrating women of color, Tonal Journal, The Movement was directed and shot by August Thurmer, with Creative Direction by Lauren Machen, choreography by Bordenave, and is brilliantly based on the game Exquisite Corpse. For those of you who recall the game, participants play by taking turns drawing sections of a body on a sheet of paper, with each section folded to hide the previous contribution. The first player adds a head—then, without knowing what that head looks like the next player adds a torso, and so on. As a result, the strange, somewhat distorted image of a person is constructed.
According to the liner notes, the film “presents a sensory exploration of the beauty, struggle and strength shared amongst women of color. The resulting imagery both amplifies the individual differences (her truths) and unites the women as one whole. We are stronger together.” This seems like a perfect appropriation of the game into the genre of screen dance, and it is amplified by beautiful choreography featuring dance by Gigi Todisco, Karen McDonald, Madeline Leavitt, Micalea Taylor and Shauna Davis. The gorgeous score is “Redemption” by serpentwithfeet. I love both the use of dancers of varying ages and how the dancers themselves look straight into camera at the end as if to say “we are not acting here, this is our truth.”
The Movement is a clean, clever, and beautifully rendered exemplification of all that it seeks to represent.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Founder/Director of Dare to Dance in Public Film Festival, Sarah Elgart is a Los Angeles based choreographer and director working under the auspice of Sarah Elgart | Arrogant Elbow. Sarah creates original content for stage, screen, and site-specific venues. Her stage and site-works have been performed at alternative spaces including LAX Airport, The Skirball Center, Mark Taper Forum, Van Nuys Flyaway, The Bradbury Building, Jacob’s Pillow, INSITU Site-Specific Festival NY, and Loft Seven, where she created a rooftop work lit entirely by a hovering helicopter accompanied by Nels Cline (Wilco). Her work has been produced by venues including The Music Center, MASS MoCA, Dance Place, Los Angeles Theater Center, Mark Taper Forum and The International Women’s Theater Festival. In film Sarah has worked with noted directors including JJ Abrams, David Lynch, Catherine Hardwicke, and Anton Corbijn. Her own films include award-winning music videos, dance shorts, and an Emmy nominated PSA, and continue to be accepted into festivals internationally. In addition to teaching dance and film, Sarah writes a regular column, ScreenDance Diaries that focuses on the intersections of both genres internationally for online magazine Cultural Weekly. Sarah’s work has received support from organizations that include the Rockefeller Foundation, the NEA, City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department, California Arts Council and more. She is an alumna of the Sundance Institute’s Dance Film Lab, a Fellow of AFI’s Directing Women’s Workshop, and a director member of the DGA.
- Grand Park
- gigi todisco
- karen mcdonald
- madeline leavitt
- micalea taylor
- our LA voices
- shauna davis
- the movement
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