Film Series at Anthology Film Archives: PROGRAM 5: BODIES IN A CROWD
Part of Platform 2016: A Body in Places
This Wednesday night film series is co-presented by Danspace Project and Anthology Film Archives and curated by Eiko, who addresses “how humans contribute to and survive the characteristics of places.” Tickets are available at Anthology’s box office on the day of the show only. The box office opens 30 minutes before the first show of the day. There are no advance ticket sales.
PROGRAM 5: BODIES IN A CROWD
I met Mura Dehn by accident soon after Koma and I arrived in New York. Surprised by how little sense of rhythm I have as a dancer, Mura offered to teach me her “compromised version of jazz dance for Eiko.” It is a quintessentially New York story of how two young Japanese artists in their 20s ended up inheriting from an old Russian Jewish friend the wealth of African American people dancing their hearts out in the Savoy Ballroom of pre-war Harlem. In the sea of African Americans, Mura was often the only white person dancing. She said the entire Savoy was bustling with dancing energy. One dancer in her film says, “Spirit moves me. When spirit leaves me I stop dancing.” –Eiko
THE SPIRIT MOVES: A HISTORY OF BLACK SOCIAL DANCE ON FILM
1987, 119 min, 16mm
Dehn, born and first trained in dance in Russia, moved to Europe to study at the Isadora Duncan School. Later she studied jazz and immigrated to the US in 1930. She found the most exciting jazz dancing at the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem. First as a dancer, then as a filmmaker, she immersed herself among the most brilliant African American dancers. Her magisterial, three-part documentary features her own narration. –Eiko
Eiko Otake A BODY IN A STATION 2015, 15 min, digital
An excerpt from Eiko’s performance at Fulton Center in Lower Manhattan in June 2015. Camera by Alexis Moh; edited by Alexis Moh with Eiko.