Longo Dance Film

I’ve always thought about creating dance inspired by the work of American photographer and artist Robert Longo… Known most strongly for his series (“Men in the Cities”) of black and white, slightly larger than life full figure drawings of mostly men and some women in suits caught mid movement, arched back or looking as if they are about to fall, to a trained eye the images naturally suggest dance. I can recall being at an opening and attempting to replicate the movement myself as I stood in front of the artwork.

Controlled falling in Longo Dance Film
Controlled falling in Longo Dance Film

Which is exactly what is happening and then some in director Amy Madden’s Longo Dance Film. Shot entirely on a rooftop against cloudy gray skies — the backdrop to an unidentifiable city — a group of thirteen remarkable dancers (apparently including Amy herself) mostly between the ages of 14 and 18, bend, fall, twist, jump, and otherwise contort into stunning pedestrian inspired shapes to upbeat music by Little Dragon. Filmed mostly with a locked down camera, the editing, framing, and choreography – credited in liner notes to the dancers and Ms. Madden – carried this lovely short from way back in 2014 all the way to NOWNESS in 2018.

What I don’t get and cannot explain is the abrupt ending and absence of any on screen credits. But otherwise for three plus minutes it is pure, visceral and visual joy that if nothing else communicates the sheer audacity, power, and exuberance of youth, flexibility, and of course… Dance.


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