LA raised choreographer and dancer Aïden Carberry (schooled at LACHSA and currently part of the inaugural class at The USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance) is both dancer and dance maker in the beautiful NOWNESS short directed by Benjamin Millipied, Bach Studies with Aïden Carberry. It opens on the young man seated at a small round table in a series of portrait “stills,” his mood yet to be determined, within an “earthy historical” house of some disrepair that looks a bit like it was ripped from paintings by Rembrandt – its wallpaper very visibly and noticeably tearing off the walls in the background, a specific production design choice if there ever was one. From out of stillness the young man begins to move, singularly and remarkably, to one of the most beautiful and emotive pieces of music ever, JS Bach’s Prelude No. 1. His movement remarkably represents every nuance and ripple of the music in a beautiful blend of contemporary and street forms that looks to be partly improvisational and party choreographed.
While the shots are wonderful and contribute much beauty, and the lighting idyllic — positively glowing within the house and around the dancer, it’s the unlikely combo of dance and set that really makes this dance short a stand out. I’ll refrain from saying much more except that between the music and the visuals what one subconsciously expects from this film in terms of dance is so surprisingly different than what is delivered, and this dancer is so gifted, that it makes for a startlingly beautiful dichotomy.