Posts in Category: Dance

All American by David Hernandez

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If the films released so far on their website are any indication, Motionpoems‘ 2014 season is their most stylistically diverse collection of poetry films to date. This film, released just before Independence Day in the U.S., builds on the poem’s challenge to any easy assumptions about American identity. (It’s also slightly NSFW, with glimpses of female nudity.) Here’s the description from the website:

Filmed near Lake Geneva Switzerland (and at the Large Hadron Collider at Cern), British filmmaker Richard Johnson and dancer Jasmine Morand present this francoperspective on California poet David Hernandez’s all-inclusive poem, “All American.”

Click through and scroll down for the text.

For more on Richard Johnson, see his pages on Cinely and IMDb. For more on the poet, visit DavidHernandez.com.

امر گيت / A Song Everlasting by Attiya Dawood

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All the flowers in my country have been picked
And gunpowder planted instead.
Fragrance breathes its last
In a torture camp.
The very lane where hand in hand with you
I have danced to the music of peace,
There a death-dealer is spread-eagled.

Ammar Aziz directed this poetry film featuring Pakistani poet, writer, and women’s rights activist Attiya Dawood, accompanied by dancer Suhaee Abro. Be sure to press the icon marked “CC” at the bottom of the video to view subtitles in English, Sindhi or Urdu, or click through to the Umang website to read the text in all three languages.

The Applicant by Sylvia Plath

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This is Confessions of a Lacking Pursuit,

Directed, choreographed & edited by Maggie Bailey. Filmed by Paul Nguyen. Performed by Heather Bybee. Sylvia Plath’s recitation of her poem “The Applicant.” Music by Shane Carruth.

Maggie Bailey is majoring in Theatre/Theatre Arts Management and Dance, concentrating in Performance and Choreography, at College of Charleston, according to LinkedIn. Confessions of a Lacking Pursuit was her senior project.

In my kitchen in New York by Allen Ginsberg

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Last week’s Sunday bonus post went over well, so here’s another, also a bit spiritual, for all you church-of-the-brunch types. In this one, the late Allen Ginsberg does Tai Chi in his kitchen over an audio track of Allen Ginsberg reading a poem about doing Tai Chi in his kitchen. Found via the lyrikline blog, which notes:

This clip is one of the earliest “Poetry Spots” Bob Holman made between 1986 and 1994 for the New York public television station, WYZC. Holman produced around 50 “Poetry Spots” in total.

For more of Holman’s poetry videos, see his YouTube channel.

Iluzjonista / Illusionist by Slawomir Elsner

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A poem by the Polish artist Slawomir Elsner turned into a film by choreographer, dancer and filmmaker Jagoda Bobrowska, who notes that it was a

Film made for a competition “Nakrec wiersz” (shoot a poem)
Idea, directing, montage, music: Jagoda Bobrowska
Dance: Elena Sgarbi and Svelin Velchev

Shadows by Langston Hughes

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I suppose this is technically a music video rather than a videopoem, but it strikes me as much closer to the latter genre to the former — save for the fact that the poem takes the form of a very beautiful art song.

Composed by Lior Rosner
Soprano: Janai Brugger
Directed and After Effects by Tal Rosner
DoP: Adam Woodhall
Dancers: Cameron McMillan, Fiona Merz

About the project:
One of America’s greatest poets, Langston Hughes was a social activist and early innovator of jazz poetry. Hughes distilled the experience of his generation of African Americans into poems that sang in his clear and unapologetic voice. In “In Time of Silver Rain: Seven Poems by Langston Hughes,” composer Lior Rosner uses his music to liberate Hughes’ words from the boundaries of historical context. Rosner’s modern settings challenge us to consider the contemporary relevance of Hughes’ frank and often searing meditations on the universal themes of oppression, loss, frustration and love. While the emotions captured in these songs are indeed timeless, beneath the undeniable modernity of Rosner’s music, there are subtle harmonic nods to the jazz that provided the sonic backdrop for the Harlem Renaissance.

If I Told Him: A Completed Portrait of Picasso by Gertrude Stein

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*

[Edited 10/19/17: The original upload has gone missing, so it’s been replaced with two excerpts.]

This is Shutters Shut, choreographed by the legendary duo Paul Lightfoot and Sol León, A.K.A. Lightfoot León, and premiered by the Nederlands Dans Theater II in 2003. Paul Lightfoot told Ballet magazine, “In a way Shutters is a study, it’s an exercise.”

This performance is by Gauthier Dance, the dance ensemble of Theaterhaus Stuttgart. The dancers are Armando Braswell and Rosario Guerra. The film was edited by Valerie Haaf-Seidel, with camera work by Fritz Moser and Werner Schmidtke. (There’s another performance on YouTube, by Nederlands Dans Theater II itself, but that’s only an excerpt and seems to have been uploaded by someone other than the copyright holder.)