Let’s Boogie: Dance movies

NZ Dance Week is coming up (April 21 – 29) and Central Library is offering some evening events to celebrate it. For more details about the events, see our NZDW blog post. To get you in the mood, check out these DVDs and get ready to boogie!


La la land.
“Mia, an aspiring actress, serves lattes to movie stars in between auditions and Sebastian, a jazz musician, scrapes by playing cocktail party gigs in dingy bars, but as success mounts they are faced with decisions that begin to fray the fragile fabric of their love affair, and the dreams they worked so hard to maintain in each other threaten to rip them apart.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Billy Elliot.
“Set in a northern mining town, against the background of the 1984/’85 miner’s strikes. Billy’s journey takes him out of the boxing ring and into a ballet class where he discovers a passion for dance that inspires his family and whole community and changes his life forever.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Hip hop-eration.
“These senior citizens may each be almost a century young, but for Kara, (94) Maynie, (95) and Terri (93), the journey to Las Vegas and the World Hip Hop Dance Championships is just the beginning of a life’s journey. Along with twenty-four other nonagenarians they defy the odds and hip-hop their way into the hearts and minds of thousands of young fans from around the world. Along the way we hear how these extraordinary characters contributed to New Zealand as we know it. Their stories are a reminder of our history as a nation and the joy of living life to the fullest.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverPina.
“A film about the life and work of Pina Bausch, dancer and choreographer, who died in 2009 which features some of her greatest choreographies as performed by her Tanztheater Wuppertal ensemble.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

The red shoes.
“Film of the ballet based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale of a young girl who cannot stop thinking about her red dancing shoes. In this modern version, Vicky Page finds herself caught between simple human passion and artistic devotion to the ballet.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverSwing time.
“Fred Astaire plays a gambler intent on raising $25,000 in New York in order to marry his fiance back home. Romantic complications occur when he meets dancing teacher, Ginger Rogers.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

The dancer
“French singer/actress Soko and Lily-Rose Depp lead a star-studded cast in Stephanie Di Giustos spectacularly mounted screen biography, inspired by the true story of two rival pioneers of modern dance and theatrical performance in late 19th-century Paris. Nothing in her background destined Loe Fuller (Soko) to become the toast of the Belle Epoque cabarets or to perform at the Paris Opera. However, meeting with Isadora Duncan (Depp) a beautiful young prodigy hungry for glory that threatened everything.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Shall we dance?.
A funny comedy set in Japan about a middle aged discontented workaholic who find his passion – and himself in ballroom dancing. A hilarious and highly recommended film! (Katie)

Footloose.
“A city boy comes to a small town where rock music and dancing have been banned.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Black swan.
In order for prima ballerina, Nina to embrace her dark side for her role as the white and black swan in Swan Lake, she loses grip on reality, as well as herself. Overall a gripping film that will have you on edge from start to finish and visualises the dark side of dance and ballet. It is also nice to see a darker and provocative side of Natalie Portman and is a welcome change from the sweet, innocent girly roles she has previously played. (Katie)

Strictly ballroom.
Things get messy in the world of Australian ballroom dancing – and dance politics when a championship ballroom dancer and his ugly duckling dance partner decide to compete together and break all the rules in dancing. Directed by Baz Luhrmann and part of “the red curtain trilogy”*, Strictly Ballroom is a great film with awesome dance moves, a killer soundtrack and a true celebration of dancing. [*The Red Curtain Trilogy has been described by Luhrmann as following a specific filmmaking technique, not necessarily a trilogy in the traditional sense. The Red Curtain Trilogy is the title given to the first three films directed by Baz Luhrmann: Strictly Ballroom, Romeo and Juliet and Moulin Rouge]. (Katie)

NZDW 2018 - Dance movies

Modern Bodies: The Best of Dance Biographies

No art form better captures the passion and politics of humanity than dance. From the Soviet-American ballet rivalry of the Cold War to the rise of Lindy Hop in 1920s Harlem to the emergence of waacking from the LGBTQI clubs of 1970s LA, dance explores—and occasionally crosses—boundaries of nation, culture, gender and sexuality. New Zealand is no exception, and as part this year’s Dance Week we’ve got Dancing Through the Pages, a series of talks and performances by Wellington-based dancers and artists. And if you can’t wait until then, we’ve also got some great dance biographies, from Vaslav Nijinsky to Michael Jackson and beyond!


Syndetics book coverNijinsky / Lucy Moore.
“The first major biography for forty years tells the tragic story of ballet’s great revolutionary, Nijinsky. ‘He achieves the miraculous,’ the sculptor Auguste Rodin wrote of Vaslav Nijinsky. He embodies all the beauty of classical frescoes and statues. Like so many since, Rodin recognised that in Nijinsky classical ballet had one of the greatest and most original artists of the twentieth century, in any genre.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary.)

Syndetics book coverModern bodies : dance and American modernism from Martha Graham to Alvin Ailey / Julia L. Foulkes.
“In 1930, dancer and choreographer Martha Graham proclaimed the arrival of “dance as an art of and from America.” Through their art, modern dancers challenged conventional roles and images of gender, sexuality, race, class and regionalism. Modern Bodies exposes the social dynamics that moved modern dance to the edges of society, a place both provocative and perilous.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary.)

Syndetics book coverJosephine Baker / written by José-Louis Bocquet ; art by Catel Muller ; historical consultant, Jean-Claude Bouillon-Baker.
“Josephine Baker was 19 years old when she found herself in Paris for the first time. Overnight, the young American dancer became the idol of the Roaring Twenties, captivating Picasso, Cocteau, Le Corbusier and Simenon. After World War II, Baker devoted herself to the struggle against racial segregation, battling the humiliations she had for so long suffered. She would sing of love and liberty until the day she died.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary.)

Syndetics book coverHe’s got rhythm : the life and career of Gene Kelly / Cynthia Brideson & Sara Brideson.
“He sang and danced in the rain, proclaimed New York to be a wonderful town and convinced a group of Parisian children that they had rhythm. One of the most influential and respected entertainers of Hollywood’s golden age, Gene Kelly revolutionized film musicals with his innovative and timeless choreography.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary.)

Syndetics book coverDarcey Bussell / Darcey Bussell.
“Darcey Bussell is widely considered to be one of the greatest English ballerinas of all time. Her stellar career spanned two decades of magnificent dance where she worked with Dame Margot Fonteyn, observed an aging Nureyev, crossed swords with rival prima ballerina Sylvie Guillem, argued the finer points of technique with Sir Kenneth MacMillan and danced for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary.)

Syndetics book coverMoonwalk / Michael Jackson.
Moonwalk is the only book about his life that Michael Jackson ever wrote. It chronicles his humble beginnings in the Midwest, his early days with the Jackson 5 and his unprecedented solo success.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary.)

Syndetics book coverAmerica dancing : from the cakewalk to the moonwalk / Megan Pugh.
“An exuberant history of American dance, told through the lives of virtuoso performers who have defined the art. The history of American dance reflects the nation’s tangled culture. Dancers from wildly different backgrounds learned, imitated and stole from one another. Audiences everywhere embraced the result as deeply American.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary.)

Syndetics book coverRemembering Nureyev : the trail of a comet / Rudi van Dantzig ; translation by Katie de Haan.
“Famously volatile, fickle in his passions for people, but with astonishing charisma onstage and off, Rudolf Nureyev is regarded as one of the greatest male ballet dancers of the twentieth century. This is a book balletomanes cannot miss, with an eagle-eyed sharpness that never dissolves into hagiography or gossip.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary.)

Dancing Through the Pages @ Central

April 21 – 29 is NZ Dance Week #NZDW2018 and we are celebrating here at the Central Library with Dancing Through the Pages, a series of evening talks from some of Wellington’s finest performing artists talking about their craft with a short taste of their live performances as well!

Have you ever wanted to know what it takes to choreograph a work or compose music for dance? Or wondered what the day to day looks like for a dancer or how they shake stage-fright? Or are you just simply curious about their current reading lists? Dancing Through the Pages is a unique opportunity to meet artists at the top of their game with the chance to ask them any burning questions you have about their art-form.

So come along and fill your evenings with movement, music and intrigue among the book shelves!

What’s the Schedule?

Tuesday 24 April/ 6pm  –  Sensory Dance Theatre
Sacha Copland & Emma Coppersmith from Java Dance Theatre will give an insight into creating a sensory experience for theatre goers. Learn about Java’s immersive processes and how food can make a great stage companion and open up a world of ritual.

Thursday 26 April / 6pm – A Song & Dance
Come along and hear contemporary dancer/choreographer Lucy Marinkovich and jazz musician Lucien Johnson  talk about their creative partnership, following their 2017 award-winning dance-theatre show, Lobsters. Find out about collaboration and why it’s important in the arts, plus treat your ears to some smooth saxophone from Lucien.

Friday 27 April 6pm – A Choreographer at Work
Meet Loughlan Prior; dancer, choreographer, filmmaker and a Royal New Zealand Ballet staple. Come along to this final session of Dancing Through the Pages and hear Loughlan talk about his creative process, plus get a behind the scenes glimpse into the mechanics of choreographing a duet. Featuring special guests RNZB dancers Luke Cooper and Georgia Powley

 

Want to know more about the artists?

ABOUT JAVA DANCE THEATRE
Java Dance Theatre is dance theatre that gets under your skin. Founded in 2003 by New Zealand School of Dance graduate, Sacha Copland, Java captures audiences with visceral dance and captivating story-telling. Combining playful physicality, live music and audience immersion Java has captured hearts around New Zealand and the world. Their strong repertoire of original works includes The Wine Project, Dirt and Other Delicious Ingredients, Back of the Bus, The Creamery, Cheese, and Rise.

ABOUT BORDERLINE ARTS ENSEMBLE
The Borderline Arts Ensemble is a performing arts collective established by dancer and choreographer Lucy Marinkovich in 2015 to facilitate her contemporary dance and performance art works. In 2017 Borderline presented Good Good Fortune at the Performance Arcade (Wellington, NZ) and the George Town Arts Festival (Penang, Malaysia), as well as developing choreography for  The Shyness of Trees during an artist residency at Dance Nucleus in Singapore.  Borderline’s first full length dance-theatre work Lobsters premiered in an independent season at Circa Theatre and was the winner of three 2017 Wellington Theatre Awards.

ABOUT LOUGHLAN PRIOR
Loughlan Prior is an Aussie/Kiwi choreographer and performer based in Wellington, New Zealand. He is the choreographer in residence at the Royal New Zealand Ballet (RNZB) and the creative director of Prior Visual, a project based film collective. Loughlan has produced works for the RNZB, the New Zealand School of Dance and recently premiered a piece with the Grand Rapids Ballet in the United States. His film projects have met acclaim both nationally and internationally, his collaborative film Genome featured in Wellington’s treasured 2017 LUX Light Festival.

Can’t get enough of dance?

We completely understand! Not to worry, check out our Q&A with our speakers to find out more about their favourite dance books! Our Librarians have also been putting together some dance themed lists for your reading and viewing pleasure, check out our most recent Biographies Blog Modern Bodies: The Best of Dance Biographies and our latest movies blog of our favourite dance movies!

It’s NZ Dance Week Question Time!

We are counting down to NZ Dance Week (5, 6, 7, 8… get it?) and are getting SO excited for what’s happening at Central Library that week, that librarians have been started tapping and jiving through the shelves! So in the lead up to Dancing Through The Pages we quizzed our upcoming performers about their favourite books and current reading habits!

In order of the week’s performances, we kicked things off with choreographer and Artistic Director of Java Dance Theatre Sacha Copland.

So Sacha, tell us what are you reading at the moment?
“I usually have a few books on the go at any one time. For fun I am reading The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur.  For research for my next work I am reading The Brilliant History of Colour in Art by Victoria Finlay and Chocolate Nations, Living and Dying for Cocoa in West Africa by Orla Ryan. I am really interested in exploring colour more. There is too much monochrome! Also my next work is about chocolate so I have to research every aspect of it before I make it, the good, the bad and the ugly.”

What about your all-time favourite book character?
“This is tricky to answer! Maybe Aomame, a martial-arts instructor and physical therapist from Haruki Murakami’s IQ84. I also love Aliena in The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett.”

Next up we have contemporary dancer and choreographer Lucy Marinkovich along with saxophonist and composer Lucien Johnson who answered our questions with the same creative partnership that we will hear more about at ‘A Song & Dance’!

What are you two reading at the moment?
Lucien: “Talking to My Daughter about the Economy by Yanis Varoufakis
Lucy: “Bright Air Black by David Vann (in preparation for the NZ Festival show OrphEus: a dance opera).”

Do you two have a favourite dance book or magazine?
Lucien: “For me it’s a music book: Music is my Mistress by Duke Ellington.”
Lucy: “Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild.”

Lucien, what about your favourite book to recommend?
We by Yevgeny Zamyatin or Symphony for the City of the Dead by M.T Anderson.”

For the final act we asked the same round of quickfire questions to the man behind ‘The Story of LARK’ Louglan Prior, RNZB dancer, choreographer and filmmaker extraordinaire!

What are you reading at the moment?
The History of Bees by Maja Lunde.”

Your all-time favourite book character?
“Albus Dumbledore.”
(We can’t fault you there, #WCLLovesHarryPotter!!)

What about your favourite book to recommend?
The Reader by Bernhard Schlink.”

And final question, do you have a favourite dance book or magazine?
David Hallberg’s autobiography – A Body of Work: Dancing to the Edge and Back and DANZ Magazine.”

Want to know more about Dancing Through the Pages and what’s happening for NZ Dance Week? Check out wcl.govt.nz/danceweek for all of the info, add the Facebook Event to your calendar and follow the hashtag #nzdw2018! We hope to see you there!

Pro-tip: don’t miss our most recent biographies booklist! We’ve hand-picked a selection of some of the prominent dancers in history, from Gene Kelly to Michael Jackson. We couldn’t resist making a list of our favourite dance movies as well, what better reason to relive Footloose is there! Take a look!

NZDW 2018

Dance DVDs – From ballet to hip-hop, dancing is infectious

You may have already watched David LaChapelle’s video of Ukrainian dancer Sergei Polunin’s  cover of Hozier’s “Take me to Church”

or Mikhail Baryshnikov & Lil Buck in the Rag & Bone fashion shoot,

or more recently, Maori performing arts group Tāreikura’s poi dancing on Beyoncé’s “Move your Body” videos. These are three examples of dance videos that went viral online.

For more Dance news, follow the excellent Guardian Dance blog.

You may have also been to one of our Central Library’s Tales from the Ballet sessions with Royal New Zealand Ballet legend Sir Jon Trimmer.

RNZBIf you haven’t yet, come to this Saturday morning’s session at the Central Library  or head to Karori, Kilbirnie or Johnsonville library next week for a chance to learn about ballet steps and positions – and to try them out – explore the art of mime and gesture, and hear some of the wonderful stories of the world’s greatest ballets, from an icon of New Zealand dance who has performed them all.

Inspired? You may want to head to the New Zealand School of Dance Open Day on Saturday 25 July and Sunday 26 July 2015 at 10am.

Developed a dance addiction yet? To delve further into the fascinating world of dance, check out our extensive DVD collection of dance movies of all genres, documentaries about dance and dance performers and our music DVDs of famous ballets and dance musicals. These films will make you want to move, beating the winter chill in the process.

Syndetics book coverLife in motion : an unlikely ballerina – Misty Copeland
“As the only African American soloist dancing with the prestigious American Ballet Theatre, Misty Copeland has made history. But when she first placed her hands on the barre at an after-school community center, no one expected the undersized, anxious thirteen-year-old to become a ground breaking ballerina.” (Cover)
This documentary is particularly timely as Misty Copeland just became the first African-American woman to be named a Principal in the 75-year history of American Ballet Theater.

Syndetics book coverBudding stars of the Paris Opera ballet
“The Paris Opera Ballet School, established 300 years ago, is a legendary place, with an international reputation. It is the most famous dance school in the world, where the greatest “ťoiles” or principal dancers are trained. In September 2011 it was home to 130 students, aged from 8 to 18, all driven by the same desire – to dance one day at the Paris Opera. A film crew was allowed to accompany them for a whole school year and this six-part series chronicles their busy training schedule and their day to day experiences. There is no assurance that all the students will return the following year to dance alongside the stars they dream of. As well as adjusting to living away from their families, to remain in the school they must also learn to deal with criticism, adhere to strict requirements and discipline, and learn personal responsibility.” (Cover)

untitledMao’s last dancer
“Drama based on the autobiography by Li Cunxin. At the age of 11, Li was plucked from a poor Chinese village by Madame Mao’s cultural delegates and taken to Beijing to study ballet. In 1979, during a cultural exchange to Texas, he fell in love with an American woman. Two years later, he managed to defect and went on to perform as a principal dancer for the Houston Ballet and as a principal artist with the Australian Ballet.”(Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverLa danse, the Paris Opera ballet
“Follows the rehearsals and performances of seven ballets: Genus by Wayne McGregor, Medea by Angelin Preljocaj, The House of Bernarda Alba by Mats Ek, Paquita by Pierre Lacotte, The Nutcracker by Rudolph Nureyev, Orpheus and Eurydice by Pina Bausch, and Romeo and Juliet by Sasha Waltz. The film shows the work involved in administering the company and the coordinated and collaborative work of choreographers, ballet masters, dancers, musicians, and costume, set, and lighting designers.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverPina
This film written, directed and produced by Wim Wenders depicts the life and work of Pina Bausch, dancer and choreographer, who died in 2009 which features some of her greatest choreographies as performed by her Tanztheater Wuppertal ensemble. (Adapted from Syndetics)

6First position
First Position follows the inspirational footsteps of a group of young talented ballet dancers aged nine to sixteen as they struggle to maintain form in the face of injury and personal sacrifice on their way to one of the most prestigious ballet competitions in the world: the Youth America Grand Prix. Lifelong dreams are at stake, with hundreds of dancers from around the globe travelling to New York each year, competing for a handful of elite scholarships and contracts. Practice and discipline are paramount, and nothing short of perfection is expected. Struggling through bruised feet and near exhaustion all while navigating the drama of adolescence and family life, First Position combines built-in drama, tension and suspense with exciting and beautifully shot performances. With the diversity of each dancer’s backstory coupled with a showcase of awe-inspiring talent, tenacity and passion, First Position recalls documentaries such as Spellbound in painting a thrilling and moving portrait.” (Fishpond)

Continue reading “Dance DVDs – From ballet to hip-hop, dancing is infectious”

Dresses, Jewels and Artworks: new fashion books for March

Welcome autumn with our varied new fashion books for March! If you ever find yourself struggling to part with particular items in your wardrobe, you’ll enjoy Lorelei Vashti’s Dress, memory, where she discusses her emotional associations with individual pieces in her wardrobe. Art and fashion lovers alike will love Chanel art; a catalogue of artworks created by Karl Lagerfeld especially to set the scene for a 2013 fashion show for the illustrious label. The new dual biography about Alexander McQueen and John Galliano will delight any fashionista, and our luscious new book on Italian Damiani jewellery provides lots of delicious eye candy. You’re welcome.

Syndetics book coverDress, memory : a memoir of my twenties in dresses / Lorelei Vashti.
“As we grow older, how do we know what to let go of and what to keep?… Lorelei started collecting dresses in her twenties and found that every time she wore one it became more significant to her. From falling in love for the first time to playing in a band, from starting a career to moving overseas, every dress soon had a memory stitched into it, and she became as attached to each one as if they were the events and people themselves…But what happens when the wardrobe gets full? Should you let go of the dresses you’ve outgrown, or try to hold on to them forever?..’Dress, Memory’ is about a decade in dresses. Perceptive and poignant, humorous and heartwarming, it’s the story of growing up and growing into yourself. It’s about trying things on until you find the perfect fit.” (Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverChanel art / by Karl Lagerfeld.
“For the set of Chanel’s Spring-Summer 2014 Prêt-à-Porter fashion show on 1 October 2013, Karl Lagerfeld transformed Paris’s Grand Palais into a vast art gallery filled with specially created Chanel artworks. Chanel Art is a record of this gallery and unique moment in fashion history. The myriad themes of art similarly shaped Lagerfeld’s collection-from dresses printed with color charts, fabrics like canvases spattered with paint, to graffitied art students’ backpacks-all proof that the designer’s fashion creations and the sets in which they are shown are themselves like single consolidated “artworks”.” (adapted from amazon.com)

Syndetics book coverDance & fashion / edited by Valerie Steele.
“Lavishly illustrated with both contemporary and historical images, the book features essays by ten fashion experts, who explore various aspects of the reciprocal relationship between dance and fashion, from the liberating effects of the tango to the influence of ballet on Japanese girl culture. Designers featured include Leon Bakst, Cristóbal Balenciaga, Comme des Garçons, Christian Dior, John Galliano, Jean Paul Gaultier, Halston, Barbara Karinka, Isaac Mizrahi, Rodarte, Yves Saint Laurent, Riccardo Tisci of Givenchy, Valentino, and Iris Van Herpen” (Publisher’s website)

Syndetics book coverGods and kings : the rise and fall of Alexander McQueen and John Galliano / Dana Thomas.
“Fashion columnist Thomas paints a grim portrait of the fashion industry in this dual biography of John Galliano and Alexander McQueen, two influential London-born designers who came of age in the world of high couture in the early aughts and whose careers hit critical tipping points with devastating results.” (Publisher Weekly)

Syndetics book coverHow to draw vintage fashion / Celia Joicey & Dennis Nothdruft.
“In this guide, Joicey and Nothdruft, the head and curator, respectively, of London’s Fashion and Textile Museum, offer younger audiences a fresh look at vintage fashion through drawing it. A time line covering decades of the 20th century from 1920s through the 1990s provides the historical backbone of the book. Dozens of step-by-step drawing exercises of signature looks of various bygone eras comprise the bulk of the work. This fun survey of 20th-century fashion is surprisingly informative, whether or not you choose to follow the drawing lessons.” (adapted from Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverHalston : inventing American fashion / Lesley Frowick ; with a foreword by Liza Minnelli.
“Written by Halton’s niece and confidant, this is the first monograph to chronicle the designer’s life and his glamorous, minimalist aesthetic.” (Jacket flap)

Syndetics book coverDamiani : alchemy of desire, a story, a family and an Italian passion / edited by Cristina Morozzi.
“Marking the company’s ninetieth anniversary, this lushly illustrated volume showcases Damiani’s tradition of creative and beautifully crafted jewelry-the best of Italian style. Damiani jewelry represents the highest expression of Italian style: unique pieces created with passion and craftsmanship for three generations. Founded in 1924 by Enrico Grassi Damiani, personal jeweler to the nobility, the company celebrates its ninetieth anniversary with a lavishly designed volume that focuses on tradition, craftsmanship, and creativity. Today, Damiani’s clientele includes many highly visible celebrities around the world.” (amazon.com)