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Helenka: A Dance Film by Karen Rose

By Julye Huggins
Helenka Trailer

Recently posted to YouTube, this trailer of Karen Rose’s 2008 dance film Helenka offers a glimpse of the intense physicality and poignant emotions which characterize the journeys of five women during the period of the Nazi regime. According to the video’s description, this short twelve-minute work is said to be “a testament to women of the war, honouring their solidarity, strength and resilience.” The choreography was adapted to from the dance piece Helene, which Rose presented at the Guelph Contemporary Dance Festival in 2008.Rose further explains her artistic vision and approach to dance: “I believe art should make you feel, think, provoke action. My work is always emotionally based, never just steps. My dances flow rather from certain states of being fueled by the extreme physicality of the movement. The emotion drives the movement, emotive gestures and expression. I would say my work is truly Dancetheatre, two forms merged seamlessly into a whole. I look for dancers with individual expression. What moves them is more important to me, then how they move.”Rose not only choreographed, directed and edited the work, she also performed in it, along with Ali English, Kelly Steadman, Yvette Bon and Stephanie Toohill. The film has been screened in Saskatchewan and Ontario, as well as festivals including Dance on Camera (New York), Sans Souci Festival of Dance Cinema (Colorado), dancescreen 2010 at Cinedans (Amsterdam), MADance Screen Salon (Toronto), International Dance Film Festival (Budapest), Punt Multimedia (Barcelona), Sao Carols Videodanca Festival (Brazil) and Reeling Dance on Screen (Edmonton).
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