Dance is an ephemeral art form, at once temporal and subjective. Viewed live, an audience is uniquely aware of the stakes of each moment as it unfolds, the fact that regardless of the set choreography it will never be the same again. And the audience also knows on some level that they are partial contributors to the work – that the relationship between them and the performers within those moments, is part of a nebulous and magic recipe for success or failure. And while still not a three dimensional thing in the way a book or painting is, film can lend dance itself a kind of permanence and sameness, not to mention the ability to totally change the relationship a dancer has to time, space, and gravity.
These are some things I pondered watching Inheritor Recordings. It’s yet another example of a dance short utilizing all the properties unique to film – something that would work completely differently if viewed live. And like another amazing dance short that it seems to be referencing, Bat Sheva’s “Home Alone” which is a promo for a stage work, it is according to the liner notes “a reimagined adaptation of an excerpt from 605’s original stage work”.
The group of dancers in Inheritor Recordings – 605 Collective – appear almost tribal – a “quiet uprising of a new generation”. Their movement is raw and urgent with an almost post apocalyptic feel, as if they are survivors readying themselves to forge ahead into an unknown future – a feeling that is likely indigenous to both youth and contemporary dance today given the state of the world and the stakes at hand. Within this tribe, dancers move at varying speeds as they explore the space of an abandoned building. Camera moves with the dancers – the group sped up next to a single dancer moving at regular speed— lending the present a hyper real quality and creating moments and movement that would be impossible in real time.
Based in Vancouver, the 605 Collective’s aesthetic mixes raw, athletic movement with precision. The choreography evokes at once a sense of resolve and spontaneity. “Company 605 continues to push into new territories and awaken a fresh and exciting aesthetic, together building a highly athletic art form, with extreme physicality derived from the human experience.” And as is the case with many choreographers and companies working today, myself included, one of those new territories is film. This work is strong and extremely physical, and although at times I found aspects of the movement quality almost off putting, the execution, the urgency and the commitment of the dancers make it difficult to turn away from.
Directed by Brian Johnson and produced by Marc Stephenson, Inheritor Recordings is a bold, and vital dance film, unpretentious and unwavering in its aesthetic and direction.