She looks like an exquisite sculpture chiseled from some divine stone; her long fingers gesturing into the unknown as if they are communicating in some secret language that we are yet to break in. She stands on her toes, her delicate frame balancing on her well-worn ballet shoes and you know she is an art… in motion. He lets his feet do the talking and for once you don’t mind it. As he strides along the dais letting his shoes create a symphony of sorts on the plank, you know it is not just tap-dancing, but an ancient history that you’re embarking upon.
Be it the new-age dance forms or the traditional classical styles from exotic locales around the world, dance has a way of communicating that can’t be found elsewhere. It’s a language that is open to being deciphered by anyone and everyone.
Whether you’re a dancer yourself or a mere admirer of the artist, a mute spectator or an ardent lover of the art, there’s a sea of sweat, tears and soreness behind the masked faces and bodies within the costumes. Here are 5 short films that’ll change the way you look at this magnificent art…
1. Portrait of a Ballet Dancer – Directed by Marek Kacer
This less than 5 minutes in duration short film explores the internal dialogues that run through the minds of the ballerinas. It explores what ballet means to them and what they hope to achieve with this form of dance. Often seen as delicate, petite-framed bodies in clothes that make them all seem porcelain in nature, their years of strenuous exercise and hard work is often wrapped up in their pretty pink shoes. The soreness of their body, their restrained movements make up for audience’s investment in time and money in going to the theatre to watch them. But, what do the performing artists make of themselves and what do they see when they get on to the stage? If you’re game for foreign language-English-subtitled monologue of Miriam Kacerova, please watch ‘Portrait of a Ballet Dancer’.
2. Kai – Written & Directed by Andrew Cumming
For those of us who think dancing is a gift that comes to some and remains with them unconditionally, Kai is an eye-opener. Not all are born dancers. Some have the feet, but not the heart. And, some, the reverse. Kai (Aoi Nakamura) is a dancer who is hard-working, diligent and amiable. She has ‘perfected’ the moves but lacks the ability to let her body do the talking, ergo, stifling her performances. Until a chance encounter with nature, on a rare outing with her friends, she comes to embrace herself thus making even the flaws seem beautiful. Watch Kai to enjoy the liberation of mind, body & spirit like none other.
3. Shadow Dancing – Written & Directed by Sean Drummond
Time doesn’t spare even the most dedicated of ‘dance-souls’. When Prunie Kuhns’ body can no longer reach where her mind wanders to, her sweet nostalgia takes over her handicapped legs, making her a reflection of a woman who has found her peace. Watch Shadow Dancing to engulf in the bitter-sweet memories of a danseuse who has reached the sunset of her time, but still shimmers in the glorious shine of her hey days.
4. Portrait of a Dancer – Directed by Leslie Karaffa & Rafael Gonzalez
What does it mean to be a dancer? What does it take to move from being just another dancer to ‘the dancer’? Does being on stage run similar effect in your nerves as all others, or are there truly the gifted ones who were born with the right feet? Portrait of a Dancer explores all of this and more in less than 5 minutes. Katie Meyers tells us what it means to be a dancer as she lets open the window to her soul…
5. Moments – Directed by Chris Cronin
‘Moments’ is essentially a love story narrated rather differently using dance as its only form of communicating with the audience. Simon Hardwick plays the central character here and it is his love escapades that we are pulled into in the form of ensemble performances. Dance in this short film is used to convey despair, joy, bliss – the multitude of emotions we are assaulted with when cupid strikes us unexpectedly. Watch ‘Moments’ to enjoy Hardwick’s adorable moves!
Hope with these 5 films, you’d have come to understand one of the earth’s oldest art forms a little better. If you come across more shorts like these, do share with me via comments.