Press release: 2012 Baxter Dance Film Festival

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A dynamic and rarely seen selection of top dance movies will be screened at the seventh annual Baxter Dance Film Festival in the Golden Arrow Studio from 8 to 11 August at 7.30 pm nightly, and an early showing at 5pm on Saturday, 11 August.

Presented in association with Cinedans (Netherlands) and the Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts (GIPCA), the line-up showcases films in single screenings over four days. This includes works by celebrated South African-born Danish dance-and-film-maker Jeannette Ginslov as well as that of renowned choreographer Akram Khan, most recently seen at the 2012 London Olympics opening ceremony. The programme also profiles Royal Ballet resident choreographer Wayne MacGregor and charts the plight of the Béjart Ballet Lausanne after the choreographer’s death.

“Since its inception in 2005 the Dance Film Festival has become a must-see for choreographers, directors, dancers, teachers, documentary and dance film lovers,” says Baxter Associate Producer and Planning Manager Nicolette Moses. “Following the positive feedback received over the past two years we decided to separate our dance and film festivals to give dancers, choreographers, dance studios and companies and the dance community the opportunity to attend the film festival as well.”

The line-up kicks off on Wednesday, 8 August at 7.30pm, with Point Taken 2 which premiered at Cinedans in the Netherlands last year. The Point Taken interdisciplinary dance film project brings together four remarkable short eight-minute dance films comprising Spiegelingen by Marinus Groothof and Dunja Jocic, One False Move by Clara van Gool and Ria Marks, Evolutie van Soorten (Evolution of Species) by Esther Rots/Dan Geesin and Melissa Ellberger and Hypnogogia: The Borderland State by Frank Scheffer en Muhanad Rasheed. Also on the programme is Hans van Manen’s Creating Without Words.

On Thursday, 9 August, Sacred Monsters, with artistic direction and choreography by Akram Khan and performed by him and Sylvie Guillem, which was filmed live at Sadler’s Wells. It is best described as a danced conversation between the two superstars of dance, their musicians and the public. This is the second of a trilogy of pas de deux created by the Anglo-Indian dancer and choreographer where both dancers recount their experiences of the classical world in a solo of their own before joining in a duet. In between, they chat to each other and to the audience. As a dancer, Khan’s background is rooted in contemporary dance and Kathak (an Indian classical dance). His solo was arranged by Gauri Sharma Tripathi and Guillem’s was created by Lin Hwai-min.

On Friday, 10 August, the multi-award-winning Of Heart and Courage, directed by Arantxa Aguirre and produced by J.L. Lopez Linares, follows the world-famous Béjart Ballet Lausanne working in order to survive following the death of its founder and principal choreographer, Maurice Béjart. Béjart created works such as Rite of Spring, 9th Symphony, The Firebird and Bolero. One reviewer said, “This film has not only recorded a time of change and adaptation for a great dance company, but also reveals the tons of energy and respect that reigns behind-the-scene of a troupe full of love and passion for dance.”

The early performance on Saturday, 11 August at 5pm is Wayne McGregor: Across the Threshold, directed by Nigel Wattis. It is an insightfuldocumentary profiling McGregor and includes discussions between him and well-known English broadcaster Melvyn Bragg about how Covent Garden is embracing new directions in art and the relationship between traditional ballet and contemporary dance. It sees McGregor create, rehearse and present two new works on London's main dance stages within three weeks, with contributions from Royal Ballet’s director Dame Monica Mason and The Guardian dance critic Judith Mackrell.

The festival closes on Saturday, August 11 at 7.30pm, with a programme of short films produced during the GIPCA Film and Dance Symposium held in July this year, presented by Jeannette Ginslov. GIPCA decided to initiate a workshop programme so that the form may be explored in practice. These workshops brought together an interdisciplinary group of professionals and students under the creative leadership of Ginslov. These short innovative films are the result.

This is followed by a screening of dance works by Ginslov which include Sandstone, Karohano, Freedom, Sanctum, CoNCreTe, Clinton’s story, Autopsy, Eros “la petite mort”. Thereafter audience members will have the opportunity to speak to the prolific director in the Q & A session.

Ginslov is a specialist in Dance on Screen, a filmmaker, producer and facilitator for screen and the internet. She is Artistic Director of Walking Gusto Productions, producer of MoveStream, Facilitator for Montage Media Facilitations and Co Ordinator for 60secondsdance.dk. She has an MA in Choreography from Rhodes University and an MSc in Media Art and Imaging (Screendance) from the University of Dundee, Scotland.

In 2011 the Gordon Institute's Film and Dance Symposium which opened with Wim Wenders' brilliant PINA was received with enthusiasm and great interest amongst South African audiences. This year Cinedans is a unique Dance on Screen Festival in the Netherlands and in the world with the central focus on dance film. It sees the ideal dance film as a true synthesis between dance and cinematography where theemphasis lies on choreographies created specifically for the camera and on special film adaptations of existing dance performances. In an ever-changing media landscape, creators are increasingly seeking different ways to tell their stories. New media and modern technology have entered the scene, bringing new possibilities and insights making it more than just movement on screen.

The Baxter Dance Film Festival runs for four days only from 8 to 11 August at 7.30pm nightly and an early screening at 5pm on the Saturday. The ticket price is only R45 and booking is through Computicket on 0861 915 8000, online at www.computicket or at any Shoprite Checkers outlets countrywide.  For full details of the festival offerings visit www.baxter.co.za

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