Baryshnikov and New York City Ballet among line-up at Baxter’s 6th Dance Film Festival
A feast of dance movies will take to the screen at the 6th Baxter Dance Film Festival, presented in association with Cinedans (NL), in the Golden Arrow Studio from 30 June to 2 July at 7.30pm nightly, plus a matinee at 2pm and an early showing at 5.30pm on Saturday, 2 July. The exciting line-up – with 10 films in single screenings – includes international legends like Mikhail Baryshnikov and New York City Ballet, as well as Standard Bank Young Artist for Dance winner Mamela Nyamza. Now in its sixth year, the festival started out as Cinedans until two years ago when it became the Baxter Dance Film Festival and when it ran concurrently with the Dance Festival.”Based on feedback from choreographers, directors, dancers and teachers last year, we decided to separate the dance and film festivals, to give the studios, companies and the wider dance community the opportunity to attend without having to compromise their rehearsal schedules,” explains Nicolette Moses, Baxter Associate Producer and Planning Manager, who has been running the festivals since their inception. She continues, “I am over the moon about our programme this year. When last did we see Baryshnikov or New York City Ballet on our screens? I hope that it will encourage film-lovers and makers and the public to come and see these films. There’s only one screening of each of them.” The exciting line-up kicks off with three films on Thursday, 30 June at 7.30pm, and starts with Ställe Place, a duet by world-famous Swedish choreographer Mats Ek, created for and featuring two virtuosos – Royal Court Dancer and Professor Ana Laguna and dance legend Mikhail Baryshnikov. Mats Ek is preoccupied with and fascinated by the movements of elderly dancers, and this film shows a touching and surprising meeting between a man and a woman in everyday life. Also showing on the Thursday night programme is Alarmel Valli’s Padam Vazhi: The Path is Hidden, performed by Ranee Ramaswany in Bharatanatyam dance style. The piece is about an Untouchable man who strives to see Lord Shiva, but his status does not allow him into the Hindu temple, so he begs Shiva to move the huge stone Bull in front of the idol, so that he may get a glimpse of Him from the entrance. By shooting the dance from multiple viewpoints and using a triptych graphic design — the centre panel showing close-up, superimposed views, and the side panels showing a full body shot — this goal was elegantly achieved. The frame for the piece is a stylised temple arch, decorated with the words of the song. Point Taken is a cross-disciplinary dance film project with four eight-minute short films. Hyperscape is a martial arts dance film for trickers, breakers and free-runners with choreography by Marco Gerris. Memory Lane, choreographed by Joost Vrouenraets, is about a couple in the autumn of their lives as they flick through old photos and look back at their long and difficult history together. Diamond Dancers is about a large group of line dancers who go to Amsterdam to perform a flash mob (choreographed by Nicole Beutler) in front of the Royal Palace at Dam Square. Val, by choreographer Boukje Schweigman, looks at a man who falls from the sky onto a barren landscape. He discovers the change of seasons, the confrontation with the masses and the relationship between ‘us’ and ‘the unknown’. For a fleeting moment, a breath of air is shared, but in the end the man is left in solitude. On Friday, 1 July, celebrated Flemish/Moroccan choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s Sutra presents a unique, profoundly-imagined show inspired by the skill, strength and spirituality of Buddhist Shaolin monks. He collaborated closely with the artist Antony Gormley, who created a design using twenty-one wooden boxes which are repositioned to create a striking ever-changing environment. With live music for piano, percussion and strings by Szymon Brzoska, Sutra is a collective term for the sermons of Buddha and, in Sanskrit, the word also means string, thread, measure of straightness. The matinee on Saturday, 2 July at 2pm, is zero degrees, an acclaimed duet by Akram Khan and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui with eerie silicone body doubles by sculptor Antony Gormley, and striking live music by Nitin Sawhney. Entwined within the dance are three spoken episodes that tell the story of a train journey across the Indian/Bangladeshi border, beginning with the alarm generated by a potentially lost passport and culminating with the unnoticed death of a fellow passenger. The passport is a metaphor for existence, the loss of which provides the transitional point between being someone or no-one; and zero degrees is the unseen moment, the transitional point that separates life from death. The penultimate screening on Saturday, 2 July at 5pm is the local film Cape Town Soup, which consists of four portraits of Cape Town residents, featuring the works Hatched, choreographed by Mamela Nyamzama and Amkele Mandlas Nyamza, John Cartwright’s On the street, and Hairdresser with choreography by Chumani Matitibala, Sinetemba Tati and Zen Mlumbi from the Volcano Art Project in Gugulethu. The film is a staged documentary, filled with Capetonian stories and dance, about a melting pot of cultures, race and habits, of poverty and wealth. How do people get along, 17 years after the abolition of apartheid? Can you break away from your own expectations? A film about the great personal challenges of life, but also about the smaller ones: which haircut suits me, and what do I wear? Personal stories are shown in an absurd and theatrical setting. Ending off the festival with a bang on Saturday, July 2 at 7.30pm, is an ensemble cast of New York City Ballet dancers in NY Export: Opus Jazz, Jerome Robbins’ 1958 ballet in sneakers, re-imagined for a new generation in this feature-length scripted adaptation. Shot on location in New York City and photographed on 35 mm, the movie went on to win the Audience Award at the 2010 South by Southwest Film Festival, was broadcast nationally on PBS’s Great Performances series and was nominated for the Rose D’Or Award. The Baxter Theatre Centre is also calling for entries for the annual Baxter Dance Festival, which will take place from 6 to 16 October, from dance studios, schools, companies, groups and independent dance-makers. This call includes proposals from choreographers (including a DVD of recent work) for a specially commissioned new 20-minute choreographic dance piece. Application forms are available from www.baxter.co.za <http://www.baxter.co.za/> , on www.facebook.com/BaxterTheatre or from the Baxter’s reception in the main foyer. Forms may also be obtained from and should be sent to Nicolette Moses, Associate Producer and Planning Manager, on 021 680 3988, fax 021 650 5260 or email <>mailto:> . Alternatively it can be hand-delivered to the Baxter Theatre Centre, Main Road, Rondebosch, marked clearly for her attention. Entries to participate in this year’s Dance Festival may be emailed, faxed or hand delivered with closing date for applications strictly by no later than 5pm Friday, 8 July, and no late entries will be considered. Tickets prices for the Baxter’s Dance Film Festival are R30 and booking is through Computicket on 0861 915 8000, online at www.computicket <http://www.computicket/> or at any Shoprite Checkers outlets countywide. For full details of the Festival offerings visit www.baxter.co.za <http://www.baxter.co.za/> .EndsFor further media enquiries, interview or pic requests contact Alethea Patterson-Cordiglia on tel 021 680 3963, email <>mailto:> , cell 072 014 2780 or Fahiem Stellenboom on 021 680 3971, cell 072 2656 023 or email .