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Program II: Dance Stories
Tuesday, March 25, 2003, ProArte Institute

Fly 4min, 2001 (New Zealand)
Choreographer/Director: Shona McCullagh
Distributor: SK Stiftung Kultur

Loosely based on the ancient story of Dedalus and Icarus, the boy who flew too close to the sun, the film describes through the language of movement, the final moments before separation.

Shona McCullagh, one of New Zealand's outstanding dancer/choreographers and a founder of The Human Garden Dance Company, is known in the dance film world for her short “Hurtle” (1998) that appeared in major festivals around the world. Shona has also choreographed for television productions such as Xena-Warrior Princess and for corporate companies (DFS Galleria), product launches (Roche) and fashion shows (Calvin Klein).

Le P'tit Bal 4min, 1993 (France)
Choreographer/Director: Philippe Decouflé, Dancers: Pascale Houbin, Philippe Decouflé, Annie Lacour
Distributor: DCA/Decouflé Company

A man and a woman sit stoically side by side at a table in field of long waving grasses. An accordion sets a tone of romance while the two react to the lyrics of a song with a charming defiance of the expected.

Born in Paris, 1961, Philippe Decouflé, a dancer, choreographer and filmmaker, studied to be a clown, and ended up as a dancer, with Alwin Nicolaïs, Régine Chopinot, and Karole Armitage, while at the same time working on his own dance and cinema projects. After mastering large spaces including staging the Olympics of 1996 in France, he is more concerned these days with the art of the image, creating a new intimate/poetic theatre for the body, at the interface of image and reality, screen and reflection, appearance and illusion.

The Village Trilogy 24min, 1995 (Canada)
Choreographer/Director: Laura Taler
Distributor: Laura Taler

photo: L. Taler
Winner of the first Cinedance Award in Canada in 1995, this trilogy, inspired by the displacement and destruction of WWII, successfully evokes the supremacy of the spirit.

Taler explains that what attracts her is a piece that creates its own world and takes you on this journey… not just people doing nice jumps and turns and nice movement. It does not matter what the movement is, what matters is creating a difference space for you to dream in.

Award-winning director Laura Taler has been a child television actor, professional dancer and choreographer and a producer of both performing arts and television programs. Her keen interpretative eye and ability to present the viewer with a vision that is specific without being doctrinaire and her strength in integrating the camera movement into the body of the work being filmed have been recognized by film festivals and broadcasters on all continents. The village trilogy was awarded the Best Canadian Dancefilm of 1995.

Reines d’un Jour (Queens for a Day) 26min, 1996 (Switzerland)
Director: Pascal Magnin; Choreographers: Marie-Louise Nespolo, Christine Kung
Distributor: Idéale Audience International

photo: Idéale Audience International
Spring in the Swiss Alps. Bodies tumbling down mountain slopes, picking themselves up, leaping through the air, running, jumping. Men, women, and… cows, caught up between Heaven and Earth.

Since 1994, after graduating from the Art School of Geneva, working as the first assistant director for many feature films, and finally directing commercials and short films Pascal Magnin, a Swiss filmmaker, has been directing his own films, and focusing particularly on the dance films. Among his most known works is a trilogy called GRAND ECART (PAS PERDUS (not lost), RIENES D'UN JOUR (queen for a day) and CONTRECOUP (backlash).

The Duchess 15 min, 2002 (US)
Director/Producer: Eric Koziol; Choreographer: Shinichi Momo Koga; Dance Co.: Inkboat
Distributor: Eric Koziol

photo: E. Koziol
The Duchess is an adaptation of a Butoh Dance / Action Theater work. The film is a psychological portrait of a lonely and demented aristocrat possessed with long repressed memories and conjured demons. The action is set in Germany amongst the opulent Prussian palaces of Sans Souci and the textured ruins of the Fabrik Potsdam. Here the past and present collide launching sonic shards and psychic debris.

The San Francisco-based filmmaker, Eric S. Koziol is a founding member of H-GUN LABS, a media making collective founded 1989 in Chicago. His broadcast design work as part of H-Gun Labs has been seen on multiple television networks worldwide. Eric's experimental film and video work has been showcased at The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Rotterdam International Film Festival, American Dance Film Festival and others.

The Writer and Choreographer, Shinichi Momo Koga is a body theatre alchemist whose productions both solo and ensemble, have been experienced internationally since 1988. Momo breaks down dance, theater, and film forms, restructuring and extracting the essence of each. Heavily influenced by his training in Butoh Dance, Tadashi Suzuki Theater Method, filmmaking and photography, Momo has founded numerous groups including inkBoat (San Francisco) and adapt (Berlin/ with Yuko Kaseki, Minako Seki and Sten Rudstrom). As a teacher, performer, and director, Momo inhabits the shadow self and the collision between modern life and primal being.

Ellis Island 28 min 1982 (US)
Director / Choreographer: Meredith Monk
Distributor: Video Data Bank

photo: Video Data Bank
Between 1892 and 1927, almost 16 million people came to Ellis Island attempting to immigrate to the United States. For the 280,000 who were turned back, Ellis Island became the “Isle of Tears.” Meredith Monk and Bob Rosen chose this site as the setting for a historical/psychological ghost story about our ancestors. Ellis Island blends documentary, experimental, fiction and dance modes in what Monk describes as “a mosaic of sounds and images woven together into formal musical design.”

Though it is inspired by historical fact, the work is not a documentary. Though it usesprofessional actors, it has no dialogue and no storyline in the ordinary sense. It does, however, try to suggest something of the atmosphere and mystery of a ghost story, the ghosts in this case being our ancestors. – Meredith Monk

Meredith Monk has been composing, choreographing, and performing her work both solo and in larger groups since the mid-60s. She is equally noted for the quality of her voice and the way she uses it in speech and song, creating music for a capella voices. Other elements of her work are dance, ritual movement, lighting effects, and small props.

I have never made a dance film per se, but the fact that my films are for the most part nonverbal and nonlinear in structure naturally relates them to an art form that speaks without words. – Meredith Monk

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© Kinodance–Russia, 2004