One of my favorite film events every year is the opening night screen dance shorts of Dance Camera West (DCW). This year marked DCW’s 16th Annual Dance Film Festival, and it did not disappoint. Having worked with DCW for almost 7 of its years and continuing my own research watching hundreds if not thousands of dance films, I have witnessed the evolution of screen dance as a viable international form, wordlessly crossing borders to unite people of all socio-economic and ethnic/cultural backgrounds, not to mention both commercial and concert dance forms. And as I’ve mentioned previously, one genre of dance film I’ve seen become more and more prevalent is that of a single dance and/or dancer whose continuous movement evolves seamlessly while only the locations change.
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Such is the case with Move On, an absolutely stunning short that begins with a man, dancer Aiichiro Miyagawa, seated on a New York subway car seemingly lost in thought.
In the next edit we see him standing under the Manhattan Bridge in the snow, a gorgeous shot that sets up scale and reminds us of the architectural beauty and awe that bridges can inspire.
He soon embarks on an incredibly moving and expressive piece of choreography that traverses locations that range between Dumbo, NYC streets and alley ways, tunnels, store fronts, grocery store isles and more. And the man’s character is noticeably confused by his ability to jump through time and space.
But one of the things that sets Move On apart from other dance films of this ilk is the stunning and seamless precision in editing that merges locations and shots, with the camera altering its POV between wide, medium, and close up rather than stay in one locked down position. And of course it’s especially in close ups that we register the marriage of the man’s movement with the emotion indicated on his face.
With a simple, beautiful, and evocative score by Moto Fukushima, cinematography by Tetsuya Arimori, direction by Yasuaki Fujinami and Kenji Yamagata, and production by Yz Films, Move On is, in my opinion, a dance short not to be missed. The elegance of the dancer and choreography, all upper body and arms, is innately emotional and much after my own heart. I can watch this one over and over again.
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.
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