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If the Dancer Dances

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If the Dancer Dances

“The beauty and the tender and amazing thing about dance is that it gets passed from one body and one soul to another.” (Stephen Petronio)

How to reconstruct a choreographer’s work when the choreographer is no longer around to act as a guide? Dance notation and video are useful tools, but a performance only truly comes alive when it’s passed from one dancer to another. This “remarkably vivid” film (Alastair Macauley) invites the viewer into the studio to witness three former Merce Cunningham dancers breathe life into the Stephen Petronio Company’s restaging of the iconic 1968 RainForest. Timed to coincide with Cunningham’s centenary, If the Dancer Dances throws light on the mysteries of dance-making as it reveals the dedication and persistence it takes to inhabit a role.

If the Dancer Dances is a selection from the 46th annual Dance on Camera Festival, coproduced by Dance Films Association and the Film Society of Lincoln Center.

Tickets: $9 (members), $14 (nonmembers)


Q&A Choreographer Stephen Petronio, director/producer Maia Wechsler, and producer Lise Friedman in conversation with host Peter Pucci
Q&A Choreographer Stephen Petronio, director/producer Maia Wechsler, and producer Lise Friedman in conversation with host Peter Pucci
Thursday, Oct. 4 2018, 7:15
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Stephen Petronio is widely regarded as one of the leading dance-makers of his generation. The first male dancer in the Trisha Brown Dance Company (1979–86), he has gone on to build a unique career, receiving numerous honors along the way, including a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, a New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Award, an appointment as the first Artist-in-Residence at the Joyce Theater, and a 2015 Doris Duke Performing Artist Award. In 1984 he founded the Stephen Petronio Company, for which he now serves as artistic director and has created over 35 works. <br> <br> Maia Wechsler is an award-winning filmmaker whose documentaries have been broadcast and seen around the world. She devoted her early life to dance and is today a certified yoga instructor, recently teaching women at Rikers Island. <br> <br> Lise Friedman was a member of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company from 1977 to 1984. She was editor of Dance Ink and is the author of several books and coauthor of Letters to Juliet, which inspired the film of the same title. <br> <br> Choreographer Peter Pucci is a Drama Desk and Lucille Lortel award winner. He co-directed and choreographed Swag n’ Bach (Dance on Film 2014) and the short In the Garden (2015) He was a Principal Dancer with Pilobolus Dance Theatre. While with Pilobolus he toured worldwide, made several film and television appearances, and performed on Broadway. Pucci created and presented his own works for his company, Peter Pucci Plus Dancers. He has hosted and been a guest moderator for Dance on Film programs since 2009. <br> <br> headshot photo credit: Sarah Silver

This film is part of the Dance on Film 2018 series.

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