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.

close up of a pair of bare feet
Feet making noise in “Cracks”

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.

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