Dance on Film

On select Fridays in November, Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater is screening films that feature dance: The Red Shoes (1948), An American in Paris (1951), West Side Story (1961), and The Company (2003). The series is curated by Dr. Marc Strauss, Professor Emeritus in the College of Arts & Media from Southeast Missouri State University. Dr. Strauss will provide a brief introduction before each film and then lead a short discussion with audience members afterwards. All films begin at 7 p.m.

 

The four films in this series are all about dance as the narrative driver, presenting dance as a respected art form in its own right. Spanning over sixty years, these films put dance front and center in the screen story, showcasing a wide range of styles including classical ballet, modern dance, jazz, tap, and theater dance, and contemporary genres that sometimes cannot be easily defined.

 

November 8, 7 pm: The Red Shoes (1948) is a British drama film written, directed, and produced Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. The film is about a ballerina who joins an established ballet company and becomes the lead dancer in a new ballet called The Red Shoes, itself based on the fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen. It stars famed Royal Ballet dancers Moira Shearer, Robert Helpmann, Léonide Massine, and Ludmilla Tchérina. (2 hours, 13 minutes)

 

November 15, 7 pm: An American in Paris (1951) is an American musical film inspired by the 1928 orchestral composition by George Gershwin. Starring Gene Kelly, Leslie Caron, and Oscar Levant, it is set in Paris and was directed by Vincente Minnelli from a script by Alan Jay Lerner. The story of the film is interspersed with dance numbers choreographed by Gene Kelly and set to Gershwin’s music. (1 hour, 53 minutes)

 

November 22, 7 pm: West Side Story (1961) is an American musical and drama film directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins. An adaptation of the 1957 Broadway musical of the same name, which was in turn inspired by William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet, it stars Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, Russ Tamblyn, Rita Moreno, and George Chakiris. (2 hours, 32 minutes)

 

November 29, 7 pm: The Company (2003) is an American drama film directed by Robert Altman and starring Neve Campbell, who co-wrote and co-produced the film, as well as Malcolm McDowell and James Franco. The Company is composed of stories gathered from the dancers, choreographers, and staff of the Joffrey Ballet. (1 hour, 52 minutes)

 

Marc Strauss, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus from the Department of Theatre and Dance in the Holland College of Arts & Media at Southeast Missouri State University (1995 – 2014), taught all levels of ballet, jazz, and ballroom as well as classes in the history of the musical, dance history and appreciation, dance in world cultures, the creative process, and the aesthetics of movement. Dr. Strauss has studied, performed, taught, and choreographed in a variety of dance styles at the regional, national and international levels since the early 1980s. Dr. Strauss is author of Alfred Hitchcock’s Silent Films (2004; McFarland & Company) and Hitchcock’s Objects as Subjects: The Significance of Things on Screen (2016; McFarland & Company). His new book, Discovering Musicals: A Liberal Arts Guide to Stage and Screen, came out summer 2019.

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