FORGET ABOUT The Turning Point and Dancers and even (God love it) The Red Shoes. You won't see any big-screen dance-world soap operas at this weekend's New Dance Cinema series at Northwest Film Forum. Among the offerings are two programs of experimental shorts, three dance documentaries, and an hour-long film version of choreographer Edouard Lock's Amelia, performed by the sensational Montreal-based performance troupe La La La Human Steps.
The opportunity to see international dance artists who rarely, if ever, tour here is enough to warrant a look. For starters, the documentaries focus on the brilliant Belgian minimalist Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker; the mother of German dance theater, Pina Bausch; and hot-European-choreographer-of-the-moment Wim Vandekeybus. And one of the films on the "long shorts" program (Friday through Sunday), showcases Britain's DV8 Physical Theatre—an original and utterly bracing performance outfit that typically shuns the U.S.
DV8's The Cost of Living follows two knockabouts in a shabby English seaside town. Eddie (Eddie Kay) is a mouthy, abrasive amusement-park clown; sidekick David (David Toole) is more refined. David also happens to have no legs, and hauls himself around, quite gracefully, on his powerful arms. Eddie and David's seemingly random encounters with friends, fellow performers, and strangers provide a framework for a half-dozen stunning movement sequences, each colored with heavy emotion—pathos, indignation, and at one point, pure joy.
New Dance Cinema has been curated by Gaelen Hanson, co-founder of the local performance-art company 33 Fainting Spells. Her theatrical eye should assure that not too many precious, ballerina-in-the-studio films sneak into the mix. Well, there might be one or two. I found director Thierry Knauff's Solo too preoccupied with casting pretty light on dancer Michele Noiret's pretty features to interest me for 30 minutes. But The Cost of Living alone compensates for that.
New Dance Cinema runs Thurs., May 5–Sun., May 8, at Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave., 206-267-5380. $5–$12.50, passes available. Tickets and info: 800-838-3006 and www.33faintingspells.org.