Performing Arts: Dance
February 14, 2023
Presented by Dance Films Association, the Dance on Camera festival finds its home at Film at Lincoln Center each year platforming artists working and collaborating between the mediums of dance and film. The festival’s programming features 30 new films across 12 programs.

One such program, screening in the intimate Francesca Beale Theater, focuses on NY filmmakers whose 6 shorts are connected by more than just geography. Each film is beautifully composed and watching the well-curated 70 minutes leads to the discovery of common themes.

Most apparent are the three films that address grief and the healing power of dance. Each demonstrates the specific strengths of the artists involved: You Left Me Alone by Lauren Fondren boasts gorgeous cinematography while The Fell of Dark by Marla Phelan showcases bold aesthetic choices, and The Dance After The Last Dance by Candice Holdorf displays moving and well-crafted storytelling.

Contrary to these affective stories is The Game, a hyper-stylistic short by Pierre Marais and James Kinney, which features a troupe of dancers who each embody a film noir trope—from the femme fatale to the gritty detective—dancing a highly technical jazz number as each player chases after a shining silver coin blinking between the performer’s fingers.

Continuing in this dynamic Suck It Up by the duo Baye & Asa explores the roots of toxic masculinity with humor and bombastic performances by both dancers.

Tumbling through electric characters and dance styles they toe the line between satire and grim sincerity to produce a conceptually compelling performance.

The highlight of the program, however, is a verdant and introspective film by Jeremy Jacob and Pam Tanowitz titled I was waiting for the echo of a better day. Filmed in the Hudson River Valley it traces a day through the lush landscape while the brightly clad dancers twist and bend in Tanowitz’s signature idiosyncratic but unmistakably balletic style. Framed against greenery, clouds, and a glorious sunset the dancers bring the beauty of the natural landscape into focus as the film drifts along its 23-minute course scored by the ethereally droning strings of musicians Jessie Montgomery and Big Dog Little Dog.

Displaying the diversity of New York’s artistry is no small task but the program prevails by remaining cohesive and moving traversing the impressive breadth of subjects and styles.

This festival is not to be missed, and next year’s is sure to continue providing fresh and exciting dance films.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Noah Witke Mele

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