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This beautiful film introduces one to the Bharata Natyam dance, a classical Hindu dance form which originated thousands of years ago with the legends of Shiva and Parvati. The divine origins of the dance is described in ancient Sanskrit texts. In the film we watch a novice learn from well-known artist Priyamvada Sankar, one of the most respected masters of classical south Indian dance. Interwoven with the performance are explanations of the history and tradition of this art form to place it in its cultural context. This colorful film conveys the spirituality of Bharata Natyam dance.
This documentary explores African contemporary dance through eight modern dance companies from Africa, Europe and Canada that participated in the Festival International de Nouvelle Danse in Montreal, Canada in 1999.
Sanghyang Deling is a special religious ceremony performed in a remote village in the volcanic region of northern Bali. This beautifully poetic event is meant to protect the village and its inhabitants from demons and practitioners of black magic. To ward off the insidious creatures with magical powers, all of the inhabitants of the village participate in preparing the ceremony. They decorate the temple area, prepare sacrificial gifts and the food. This event has rarely been seen by outsiders. The key part of the ceremony which is based on Hinduism, consists of two young girls who dance according to strict Balinese traditions. The girls chosen for the task have never received any dance training although they have seen the dance many times before. They only dance while in a trance. The ceremony is led by a Hindu priest who asks the deities to descend into their midst in the temple and to enter into the body of puppets which are representations of the two girls. While dancing the girls murmur chants that have healing properties and exorcise the evil spirits that threaten the village.
Here is a spirited celebration of traditional African dance filmed in the villages and suburban compounds of Senegal and The Gambia. Chuck Davis, an internationally renowned ethnic dancer, is accompanied by several American dancers on one of his frequent visits to West Africa. The film is an intimate and inspiring portrait of African dance and village life, celebrating life, movement, and a sense of community. It focuses upon three different tribes or ethnic groups (Wolof, Mandinka, and Diola) in three different regions of Senegambia. It shows the warmth of the West African people and the importance of dance in their daily lives. The film concludes with a stimulating performance in the United States by Chuck Davis and his integrated company, the African American Dance Ensemble, celebrating peace, love and mutual respect.
The street culture of America's African-American and Hispanic neighborhoods has captivated much of the country. In this film, hailed as "magical" at the London Film Festival, we meet four boys from the Bronx who live, eat and sleep Electric Boogie. They perform anywhere, anytime. For them dancing becomes a way of coping with the harsh realities of their environment. Captured here is more than the razzle-dazzle of a dance fad. Revealed are the longings and attitudes of four inseparable friends -- kids who have not been hardened by street life.
In 1992, a white South African ballet dancer ventured into a township and began teaching classes in an empty schoolroom. Within a few years, hundreds of township children took up ballet, and a program called Dance For All was born. Guguletu Ballet profiles some of the extraordinary people behind Dance For All's success -- from prima ballerinas who left the international stage to teach in the townships, to students who are overcoming great odds. Their stories offer a glimpse at the harsh realities of township life...and proof that ballet dancers can come from the most unlikely places.
The Whirling Dervishes, also known as the Mevlevi Brotherhood, are part of the Sufi mystic tradition of Islam. While little is known in the Western world about their traditions, the filmmaker gained rare access to a Mevlevi religious den who allowed her to film their practices. For a year she followed Elif, a 12 -year-old Turkish girl, who undertakes the spiritual and physical training to learn ritual whirling. In this colorful film we see the gentle Elif attend meetings where she listens to the spiritual leader talk about matters of life and death, being human, the meaning of the colors of the Tenures (robes) worn by the worshippers, and the nature of Allah.. She learns the teachings of Rumi, the mystic poet, who was the founder of the Dervishes in the 13th Century .She understands. She masters the trance-like state that allows dervishes to mentally detach themselves from their bodies and dance without becoming dizzy. The film concludes by showing the Seb--i-Arus ceremony at the centuries -old Galata Mevlevi Temple where Elif conquers her stage fright and joins in the extraordinary dance. An important film that shows viewers a different face of Islam.
Mura Dehn was a Russian-born dancer who came to America in the 1930's, drawn by the magic of Harlem's jazz. Realizing that jazz dance was an extraordinary new art form, she dedicated herself to preserving it on film. In this delightful film, made when she was 82, her reminiscences are interwoven with excerpts from her film The Spirit Moves. Included are memorable scenes of the Lindy Hop and Be Bop dance at the Savoy Ballroom.
This delightful film shows ten young women who aspire to learn the craft of dancing in musical theater. These young women are taking a master class with Ann Reinking, veteran of the Broadway stage, and guest artist Gwen Verdon. With disarming candor the young dancers share with us their insecurities about their bodies.Interspersed with lively song and dance routines, the talented young women explore their conflicted feelings about their appearance. As dancers they are constantly surrounded by mirrors which increase their self-consciousness. They are concerned about breasts, freckles, bottoms, height and weight. One laughs at recalling her first bra; another remembers her anorexic stage; while many express their "love/hate" relationship with their bodies. The distinguished mentors encourage the girls to concentrate on their inner selves and to express their feelings through movement. In this way, they guide them to mature, both as artists and as women.Is It Really Me? speaks to all women who despair of attaining the perfect body.
A unique voyage through the music, dance and spirit possession practices of the Ovahimba people of north-western Namibia and south-western Angola, Keep the Dance Alive features remarkable footage of how dance and spirit possession is integrated into everyday life from infancy to death. The documentary presents a singular vision of the Ovahimba people, that of director Rina Sherman who filmed the lives of an Omuhimba family for seven years.
In the early 30's a dance craze swept the nation. Some called it Jitter-bug, some called it the Lindy Hop and some called it Swing dancing. Its center was Harlem's Savoy Ballroom. Here the musical giants, such as Count Basie, Benny Goodman and Cab Calloway played, while legendary dancers like Al Minns, Normal Miller and Frank Manning danced. It was the first art form that broke through the color barrier. At the Savoy, blacks and whites danced together, probably for the first time in America. Interviews with musicians and dancers, plus lively vintage footage, brings back the sights and sounds of this bygone era. The performers remember how dance was an antidote to the economic depression outside. Others recall bitter moments on the road where prejudice denied them a place to eat or spend the night. This engaging film vividly evokes the rich past of this dance form. A lively addition for public libraries, dance collections, and black studies.