Step right up: five of the best new dance films to watch online

Celebrate International Dance Day by watching some of these great short films at home, from Scottish Ballet to a global collaboration in South Korea

Dive

Premiering on Thursday, this is a brilliant film from Scottish Ballet and their resident choreographer Sophie Laplane. Inspired by Yves Klein’s famous shade of blue, which appears in all sorts of unexpected ways, it’s 10 minutes of dance that’s funny, surreal, surprising and bursting with ideas. Crucially, Dive makes the most of the medium to create something that could only be done on screen, with the help of theatre director James Bonas and film-maker Oscar Sansom. Available until 31 May.

Silent Spaces

Ex-Richard Alston dancers Monique Jonas and Ihsaan de Banya are among the many performers collaborating on the film series Silent Spaces, created by musician Soumik Datta and his brother, the film-maker Souvid Datta. The films tie together explorations of arts venues left empty by lockdown, with themes of identity, the environment, mental health and the immigrant experience. The first film, set in the British Museum, tackles colonialism, with Jonas and de Banya moving among the artefacts and architecture while Soumik, a master of fretless Indian instrument the sarod, performs with saxophonist Yasmin Ogilvie and singer Amahla. Five more films follow over the next few weeks, shot at locations including the Royal Albert Hall, Sage Gateshead and Manchester’s Depot Mayfield.

Still Touch

From choreographer Richard Chappell, a gentle film about human contact. Filmed at Cockington Court in Devon, the two dancers explore touch, weight and balance with each other, but also with two sculptures of abstracted human figures by Anna Gillespie – that’s one way of making your duet Covid-safe at least. It’s a dance with tenderness and melancholy, a mood drawn out by composer Samuel Hall’s original score.

Chrysalis Project

A collaboration between conductor Hannah Schneider and the Oxford Alternative Orchestra with dancers and choreographers from around the globe. Having already made films in Burkina Faso, New Zealand and the Americas, the latest release is from South Korea, with choreographer Jin-yeob Cha. In the spirit of reaching out across borders, footage of the musicians in Oxford is interspersed with two dancers against an arresting backdrop that looks like a concrete amphitheatre, rippled with light. Two more films, directed by Mariinsky principal Xander Parish and British choreographer Ruth Brill are still to come.

Chatter

The last film from Trey McIntyre’s FLTPK series, the online dance platform created during lockdown. Just a couple of minutes long, and simply but strikingly set against the corrugated wall of a metal shed (who needs expensive sets?), Chatter is choreographed by LA-based Alyse Rockett for her friend, the freestyle hip-hop dancer Darrel “Friidom” Dunn. Dunn captivates with limbs in lyrical flow and complex finger-tutting – an intricate dance of the hands inspired by Egyptian art, aka King Tut. Eyes shut, it’s as if Dunn’s thoughts take physical form, a stream of consciousness sketched out in the air, hands weaving a spell.

Contributor

Lyndsey Winship

The GuardianTramp

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