A dancer’s process for warming up is labor intensive. The body requires precise care, with limbs and torso, hands and feet all needing specific attention and specific stretches and movement so that it can ready itself for the task ahead. And after years of grueling workouts and adrenaline filled performances when a dancer’s body succeeds in becoming that finely tuned instrument for expression of emotion and drama, a vehicle for story or for creating an architecture of moving lines on the blank space of a dimly lit stage, it finally begins to talk back.
The Spanish short film Cracks (2013) is a humorous and almost disturbing study and meditation on just that. It explores the multitude of ways that hands, feet, ankles, neck, back and more sound off in cracks and pops while stretching so the dancer can be ready to proceed. Shot entirely in rich black and white, with great close ups and interesting isolations and juxtapositions of body parts, Cracks features the dance, concept, choreography and direction of Alex Pachon, and production by Patricia Sanchez. Its resolution and power as a short has as much or more to do with editing and sound as choreography and camera, and its success has not gone unnoticed. Cracks has been seen internationally at more than half a dozen film festivals, including this year’s Dance Camera West.
When I first saw this short, I cringed at the sound, but in continued viewing it stands out as a very successful, smart, and beautifully shot vignette. At a mere three minutes long, it’s worth a try… Enjoy.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Founder/Director of Dare to Dance in Public Film Festival, Sarah Elgart is a Los Angeles based choreographer and director working under the auspice of Sarah Elgart | Arrogant Elbow. Sarah creates original content for stage, screen, and site-specific venues. Her stage and site-works have been performed at alternative spaces including LAX Airport, The Skirball Center, Mark Taper Forum, Van Nuys Flyaway, The Bradbury Building, Jacob’s Pillow, INSITU Site-Specific Festival NY, and Loft Seven, where she created a rooftop work lit entirely by a hovering helicopter accompanied by Nels Cline (Wilco). Her work has been produced by venues including The Music Center, MASS MoCA, Dance Place, Los Angeles Theater Center, Mark Taper Forum and The International Women’s Theater Festival. In film Sarah has worked with noted directors including JJ Abrams, David Lynch, Catherine Hardwicke, and Anton Corbijn. Her own films include award-winning music videos, dance shorts, and an Emmy nominated PSA, and continue to be accepted into festivals internationally. In addition to teaching dance and film, Sarah writes a regular column, ScreenDance Diaries that focuses on the intersections of both genres internationally for online magazine Cultural Weekly. Sarah’s work has received support from organizations that include the Rockefeller Foundation, the NEA, City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs Department, California Arts Council and more. She is an alumna of the Sundance Institute’s Dance Film Lab, a Fellow of AFI’s Directing Women’s Workshop, and a director member of the DGA.