Dance Films You Shouldn’t Skip

Take a break from Netflix and expand your creative side with these amazing dance pieces!

Aside from showcases and competitions, another aspect of the dance scene is producing dance videos. We’ve seen it all — choreographies to the latest hit songs, dance covers and concept videos. Even for class videos, filmography plays a big part in dance. This is why it is so heartwarming to see the scene celebrate and shed more light on the production and videography aspects of dance. Simultaneously, it is evident that dancers are mastering the infusion of these two art forms, dabbling in directing and producing dance films.

Courtesy of LCDFF

Whether it is to tell a story or appreciate music, the films being produced have elevated their quality. From the dancing and movement quality to cinematography and visuals, they were thought out well to give us an experience through our screens. What is more satisfying is knowing we get to witness exactly what was conceptualised by these creatives. That being said, here are some of our favourite dance films we believe you shouldn’t go another day without watching!

Chris Martin & Larkin Poynton — Aguas’ Patio

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Not exactly a dance film, but still a piece you should enjoy. Chris and Larkin put up this performance for their friends’ wedding but there is so much to appreciate here. Firstly, it isn’t a traditional dance piece of highlighting movements; rather, they used dance as a medium to portray a humorous story about love, marriage, and their friendships with the couple. They delivered it so effectively — using only their voices, but still successful in giving a light-hearted and sweet visual speech.

Courtesy of Homescreen

Chris and Larkin are also the directors of Project Home, a movement-centred production company and arts organisation to produce collaborations between dancers, videographers, photographers, lighting artists, directors, musicians and more. Their goal is to create meaningful work that transcends beyond the stage and screen, and one of the ways they do that is through the Homescreen Movement Film Festival. The festival consists of a professional judging panel, live and online film screenings, and contests for participants worldwide. The goal is to allow artists to engage, connect, and grow through collaboration and conversation. Awards are also given to outstanding films to appreciate their artistry.

TCARTSBA

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Speaking of Homescreen, Tcarsba (pronounced Karts bar) submitted a film that was of the official selection and even received the Honourable Mention Award earlier this year. Their piece “Cycle of All Things Under the Sun” is just one of their works that left us in awe. It gave me such a serene and mellow mood, and probably made up for all the nature I don’t appreciate enough in my daily life.

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Tcartsba aims to incorporate fluid movements and B-boying. More recently, they added three Singaporean dancers that align with their vision — Alton, Leonard, and Zuhri. Together, they produced ‘COUNT ME OUT 2022’, which is another visual masterpiece in its own way. It’s the kind of film and song you get stuck in your head and you start associating the two together. Directed by Leonard, it’s a pleasing piece to watch especially with the colour palette, dual shots and their harmonious energy.

LEONARD YEE

Courtesy of Homescreen

One of the most creative directors and producers (in my opinion), Leonard has earned the reputation of putting up insane dance films. From the cinematography to the execution of the piece, they’ve always taken me through such an immersive journey. Personally, I can’t even find the right words to live up to his work but it’s also fitting to be able to appreciate these masterpieces in internal awe. Together with Alton, they have been part of the Homescreen Official Selection for two consecutive years, with ‘Pretty Sweet’ in 2020 and their 2021 piece ‘Seigfried’ winning Best Short Film.

Watch on YouTube

His most recent work was done in collaboration with Yi Hng, ‘re: a film by leo and young’. A six-minute masterpiece that continues to elevate the standard of dance films. Amazing effects, song choice and journey that encapsulated me throughout. The intricate planning and directing of this…I can’t even imagine the process from ideation to creation. Again, can’t find the right words so I’ll let you see it for yourself!

TAN YI HNG

Being the editor of ‘re: a film by leo and young’, we see similar elements of the film in the rest of Yi Hng’s work. The concepts, production quality and visual overlays that make it feel like its own trailer or movie, bringing us into his world while he brings the film to us. One aspect of his work that I appreciate is the captions and subtitles. Maybe it’s because I like watching my shows with subtitles, but it is a unique element for a piece, especially when there’s no audio narration for it. So even that is part of your experience and for your personal interpretation.

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XEN

Xen is made up of five ladies and some of the most beautiful dancers I’ve gotten to watch. Their piece ‘Man Made’, in collaboration with Not Brothers Collab., was entered into the Lion City Dance Film Festival and won. Not surprising if you’ve watched the piece. Firstly, I loved the colours in this film. But more importantly, the concept of it was essentially: the convenience of plastic versus our love for mother nature. I think that is such a timely concept with the terrors of climate change but also the general habits of waste beyond plastics like food and fashion. They delivered it effectively by using plastic products as props and I think it’s impressive to incorporate it into a film while upholding great visuals and dancing.

Watch on YouTube

Overall, I appreciate that dancers are elevating themselves across many artforms while maintaining dance as a medium. There are many amazing films out there and the most exciting part is how it’s only going to get better and more unbelievable. Some of these films feel like being mesmerised by a museum exhibit — there’s more to see but you want to sit in it and let yourself embrace the experience, you’re kind of numb but also so vulnerable. The artistry is currently unmatched…what a time to be alive!

Which dance film is your favourite?

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