Friday, July 13, 2012

Crazy dances from the archive - 2

'Oh everything is as crazy as I am!' sings Hong Kong actress Grace Chang in the opening scene of Mambo Girl, the film that made her a big star in 1957.

Not quite mambo crazy though, is she? The steps are there, but it seems something is missing and she's certainly no Rita Moreno. To be fair, she is definitely more at ease with the rhythm than the friends looking at her and clapping (a girl in particular seems to have none!)

The opening step and sharp turn is particularly well executed, and I also like the little jumps from 2mins 10sec. Also of note is the superposition of the square tiles and her diamond trousers. Sty-le! You gotta love this scene.

Grace Chang was a big film and music star, but left the screen in 1964. You can find out more about her on the super blog Soft Film, and there are heaps of videos on youtube.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Pina Bausch - Wiesenland

A wall of grass and vegetation.
An old Korean song and dance, performed with a white handkerchief, just as intermission has been announced.
Do you love someone?
A woman walking on men lying at her feet, the men continuously appearing before her.
Two men smoking and blowing the smoke into a woman's thick dark hair. As she starts dancing, smoke floats out of her head.
A feast.
A village in France where they have a festival where people just jump.
Another village in France where they have a festival where people throw food at each other.
Running through fields and sitting on the floor, your dress/skirt spread around you.
A dance where women hold the front of their dresses, their head bowed and their hair back combed to fill the space created by their arms and the dress. Then they lift the dress up and look up, letting the dress fall back slowly.
Talking to the front row audience through mime (move arms as if rocking a baby (do you have a baby?), count with fingers (one? two?), hand near the floor, or raised high up (young or old?)), or by spelling on your body (a first name name written on a stomach - R E G I N A).
A make shift shower with a big basin, a coat rack and a watering can.
The joy of walking/dancing to a waltz rythm: 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3... down, up, up, down, up, up

Monday, July 02, 2012

Pina Bausch - Palermo Palermo

Silence. Dim lights.
A brick wall falls.
A woman repeatedly asks two men to hold her hand (she shakes him/them away), to hug her ('harder! harder!' before she pushes him away). She asks them to throw tomatoes at her face (they do), and at her stomach (they do).
A man breaks one spaghetti at a time on his chest.
A woman, holding spaghettis under her arm: 'These spaghettis are mine! I am not giving them to anyone because they are mine! I am not lending them. They are mine!' She takes one spaghetti: 'Mine!'. Another 'Mine!' 'Panadero! Panadero! Panadero!' (that is her last name)
A man wears a crown of cigarettes, poses like the statue of liberty.
The same man carries a snake and an apple, like Eve, staring at the audience.
Line dancing with an apple balancing on the head.
A soundtrack of ringing church bells.
A soundtrack of cicadas.
Nightime. A man bathing under the moon.
An interlude of five pianos.
Performing dance two by two (man and woman), side by side, then facing one another. Each dancer performs his/her own little routine. There are stamping feet, jerky arms, swift movements, little claps. A dancer comes behind them to take over - the new dancer puts her/his hand on the other's shoulder or waist to tell them they can go.
A man empties a bag full of coins on the floor.
A march forward by all the dancers, in three lines: they carry bags or cartons of rubbish, and throw one item of rubbish to their right, all at the same time.
The 14 women dancing all together in unison, in close formation. Mainly arm movements: crossing, bending, slight angling in the torso. They perform several short sentences, each one four times, with one of them calling 'Last' when it's time to change.
A women puts on several underwear under her skirt. She sits down, shakes a bottle of soda water and opens the top slightly to let out some hair. She moves her bum as though she is letting out a fart.
A woman is carried by five men. She moves as if she is walking but they move her body for her, she does not touch the ground.
A Japanese dancer bows politely to an audience member on the front row, before giving them a camera and asking them to take a picture of her. She then gives the camera to a fellow dancer, and starts abusing him in Japanese, shouting at him 'Can't you take a fucking picture? Take a picture!'
A man lights a candle. He pours the melting wax on his forearm and places the candle on there. He does it with about ten candles.
A man cooks eggs on an iron.
A man places a table napkin nicely on top of some of the brick ruins, places a plate with food on top, his cutlery. He leaves. A dog comes in, sniffes around, eats the food, and leaves.
A row of women do handstands at the back of the stage. One of them can't do it and does lots of preparation and tries several time.
A gypsy song about love that goes against conventions and shame brought to the family, recited deadpan.
Exotic fruits.
Thirteen men and fourteen women. Five pianists. One saxophonist.