Excavating Visceral Gold

 In Lens on Screendance

The truth of dance is that it is a universal language of human expression. Dance lives as an urgent, collective physical force that has rocketed to prominence as a language of youth culture. It has spawned whole social movements, enormous conventions, shaped fashion trends, technology, and given rise to a multi-million dollar media industry in television, music, commercials, features, circus, and beyond. 

When dance intersects with film, it creates possibilities in which the laws of gravity, time, and physics are defied and something at once magical and innately human is manifested. And dance speaks with urgency about the human condition—something most everyone can relate to.

When I find a great dance film I often feel like an archaeologist. There is so much information out there… and so much of it worthwhile. I’ve heard it said that the average person in the 21st Century (at least within Western civilizations) receives as much stimuli in a single day as an average Victorian did in a lifetime. And so when I excavate a gem of a dance film that stands out to me above others in some nameless way, it feels like I’ve found gold and am compelled to share it.

Such is my response to Train-Train, a gorgeous film for the amazing composer/pianist Koki Nokano that upends and challenges conventional rules and expectations about camera shots, music videos, editing and more. Directed by Benjamin Seroussi with choreography by Damien Jalet in collaboration with the astonishing featured dancer Aimilios Aropoglou, Train-Train is a visual and visceral feast of kinetics, sound, scale, camera and place. With its (literally) dizzying camera work, pace, edits, and movement, it seamlessly blends walking, falling, running, and gesture with beautifully urgent music into a truly unconventional and original whole, that leaves with as quick of a rush as it is introduced. I felt—momentarily—as if I were standing on the edge of a cliff, catching my balance and my breath.

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Molly Heller and two other dancers leap and move on a grassy hill.