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Dancefilm rising

By Philip Szporer

A crowded fall festival season didn’t deter Cinédanse Montréal from muscling its way into the field with a four-day run in September, including screenings of more than thirty-five shorts, documentaries and special events. “It’s about time,” was a general reaction from festival-goers. The ambitious event drew a slew of international entries and guests, including ballet star Claude Bessy, famed Pina Bausch dancer Jo Ann Endicott, and director Mike Figgis, whose raw and brutal The Co(te)lette Film was the festival opener.

Housed in the city’s 800-plus-seat golden-era movie palace Cinéma Impérial, Cinédanse Montréal is based on the model of its programming co-curator Cinedans, Amsterdam’s magnet for dance-media innovation. Saturday matinees drew a modest fifteen to twenty ticket-holders at each screening, while about a dozen people attended that day’s morning roundtable discussion, “Why Onscreen Dance? What to Do or Not to Do”.

Director Sylvain Bleau, former manager of such companies as Les Grands Ballets Canadiens and LaLaLa Human Steps, proudly launched the biennial festival without a cent of public money. A late start in publicizing the new event caused problems at the box office, he acknowledged. Nonetheless, Bleau supports the idea that dance artists “need not limit themselves to the stage.”

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