Canada’s Dance Magazine
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Documentary Dance Film Series Dance for Life


As audience members, we might think we know the dancers we love to watch. With help from their bios we learn where they came from, how they trained and what professional steps they’ve taken to arrive before us. More often, however, we know very little of their detailed histories. Toronto-based Ella Cooper has made a project of revealing these histories at the same time as sharing each artist’s gift as a dancer and choreographer in a new documentary dance film series called Dance for Life. The result, Cooper says in an interview with The Dance Current, changes how you see their dancing. The choreography becomes something else.

Dance for Life features a range of contemporary dancers in Toronto who all have something in common: they’re either a newcomer or first generation Canadian. A life in contemporary dance for most in Canada is not an easy go; it’s a life choice made out of passion. Through the lens of her camera and by sharing their stories of sacrifice and struggle, Cooper helps viewers understand how these artists – Aria Evans, Pulga Muchochoma, Ofilio Sinbadinho, Apolonia Velasquez, Sze-Yang Ade-Lam and Yvonne Ng – arrived on stage and in what ways they’ve become leaders in their communities.

Cooper is an independent filmmaker, multimedia artist, educator, impact producer and community programmer who has been working in arts and culture for over fifteen years. She is also the founder of Black Women Film! Canada. This project is the beginning of her ventures into dancefilm. She plans to circulate these films to festivals and is keen to work with local artists and companies for her next project.

Dance for Life can be viewed on demand on Bell Fibe TV1 (look in the Toronto story section).

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