Cinedans Festival 2022
Two documentary films about two prominent figures of American black dance history: Alvin Ailey & Sheila Rohan.
Alvin Ailey Ellington (1931-1989) was an American dancer, director, choreographer and activist who founded the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (AAADT) in 1958. The AAADT, and its affiliated Ailey School, were a haven for black artists who expressed African-American identity through dance. Director Jamila Wignot edited ninety minutes of rehearsals, performances, statements by Ailey himself and a selection of ex-dancers from his company, juxtaposed with the footage of a recent production by hip-hop choreographer Rennie Harris, made with the youngest generation of Ailey dancers.
The documentary provides insight into the complexity of Ailey's life, in which he not only fought for recognition as a black artist in a dominant white culture, but also for (self-) acceptance of his sexual identity, and in which he struggled with feelings of dissociation as an artist within the black community.
The screening includes the short bio documentary Sheila by Gabri Christa, about and with Sheila Rohan, one of the members of Dance Theatre of Harlem.
Sheila by Gabri Christa is an experimental short bio documentary about and with Sheila Rohan, one of the members of Dance Theatre of Harlem, founded in 1969, one year after the assassination of Martin Luther King, with the mission: presenting neoclassical dance á la Balanchine, combined with new ballets about black role models and performed by dancers of various colours.
Ailey and Sheila are part of the Cinedans Special Black Dance Matters.
In five full days, Cinedans presents the state of the art of international dance film in partnership with dancescreen - IMZ International Music + Media Center Vienna.
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