A girl in a yellow dress with turquoise sneakers, a stationary bicyclist, a boombox, and a drab building with the remnants of stairs, and a brick wall peaking out make up this simple dance film, “Canary and the Coal Mine”. One of a series of shorts from Match Box Dances by director Philippe Trembly-Berberi (who also shot and edited), this particular location is clearly selected for its palette of gray and yellow, with the production and costume design supporting it beautifully. The simple repetitive choreography by Adam Weinert, the slightly haunting but lovely music and sound design by Roarke Menzies, the straightforward camera coverage – mostly wide so you focus on the location elements as supportive of the whole – give the short a quality of both artiness and ease. Towards the end when the camera moves in closer on dancer Naomi Reid Davis, becoming blurry at times, the film has a slight quality of magical realism.
A series of shorts all filmed on the streets, sidewalks, and loading docks of New York’s DUMBO area, Match Box Dances are a tribute to the ephemeral quality of both life and the quickly changing neighborhood itself. All of these short films integrate choreographed gestures, both small and private, grand and public, and all of them work with the visuals and locations to suggest the capturing of random moments. The bicyclists and cars weaving in and out keep this short from feeling precious and planned, giving it instead a refreshing sense of being shot on the fly. Enjoy.