Dancefilm, as an art form, is by no means a new medium, but after theatres were shut down and choreographers and dancers found themselves without a stage, an impressive amount of dancefilms were produced. So, to wrap up the year, we are celebrating the persistence of dance communities across Canada and showcasing some of the dancefilms created during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Fogo Island, Newfoundland
Choreographer, director and producer: Lynn Panting
Collaborators: Mark White, Hilary Walsh, Kevin Woolridge, Vanessa Cardoso Whelan, Kailey Bryan, Colin Furlong, Alex Abbott
Composer: Sean Panting
Videographer and editor: Ritche Perez
Exploring isolation, transgression and community, Pursuit was filmed on an abandoned airstrip on Fogo Island. “The collaborators on this project purposefully come from different backgrounds, disciplines and artistic practices: dance, clown, theatre, architecture, drag, music and poetry, to name a few,” says Lynn Panting. “The film is important because it is a reflection of and a reaction to the status quo. Seven figures stand apart – because they must. The score is dense with pressure and panic – because we are. There is a collective breath – because we need one.”
Creator and performer: Jocelyn Mah with Notdog Duchesne
Composer: Nathaniel Chiang
Presented by Dancers’ Studio West’s Quick + Dirty Festival in July
Tenderley is a stop-motion film made of more than 1100 stills taken on an iPhone 5. The film tells a story of a loving relationship between a girl and her dog. “I aim to make work the transports audience members to another place, a music-dance wonderland, away from their worries, even just for a few minutes,” says Mah.
Creator: Linnea Swan
Dancers: Meghann Michalsky, Tania Alvarado, Nicole Charlton Goodbrand
Presented by Dancers’ Studio West’s Quick + Dirty Festival
Photographer: Alexander J. Slobodian
Made Up is the culmination of Swan’s two-year residency at Dancers’ Studio West. “The work itself addresses female representation, internalized patriarchy and lateral violence through the deconstructed imagery and central themes of classic fairy tales,” Swan says. The film will be screened November 19th through 22nd at cSPACE King Edward for a small audience.
Montréal and Toronto
Creators and performers: Sonya Stefan and Newton Moraes
Presented by Pervers/Cité in August
2gather-a-part is a collective born out of the COVID-19 pandemic and has since produced the film series Co-vid 19 exquisite corpse no 10. Since it began, the collective has raised more than $2200 for artists impacted by COVID-19.
Included in the series is Moraes and Stefan’s nineteen-second film celebrating continuous friendship and love during the global pandemic. The duo made the film over the internet (Moraes lives in Toronto and Stefan lives in Montréal) with the help of a homemade green screen.
Director and videographer: Kwasi Obeng
Dancers: Janice Ellis and Martin Prempeh
Showing two friends encountering a spiritual force in an abandoned warehouse, Makhelwane (the Zulu term for “one’s neighbour”) is named after a song by Prince Bulo. “It was created to bring attention and awareness to the African dance culture that is not noticed or recognized in the commercial dance industry,” says Obeng. “Often overlooked is the fact that African dance is rooted in many other styles of dance including modern, jazz and hip hop.”
Editorial of a dancer
Director: Juan David Padilla Vega
Dancer: Célestin Boutin
Producer: Jimena Pacheco
Production: Urniator Studio
“The film is a small invitation to stop, contemplate and think. It’s another way of doing an interview, through artistic practice and lines of thought; that’s why I call it a portrait of a dancer,” Vega says. “Les Grands Ballets Canadiens soloist Célestin Boutin draws perspective on his inner world through the body.”