As a follow up to last week’s column which included the work of Tibetan/Chinese choreographer and dancer Sang Jijia set on the company Carte Blanche, I wanted to go into the vaults and share this 2010 short “There is a Place”, which features Jijia’s solo dance work. “There is a Place” has done well, winning an award at the 2011 San Francisco Dance Film Festival and screening at multiple other international dance film fests. And while I am not at all a fan of the voice over (I almost never am in screen dance), the film itself is a beautiful representation of the power of film to merge with movement and create an entirely different experience than one would have if viewing the same dance live. The film’s editing rides the rhythm of the movement so powerfully, especially as it hits a crescendo at the end, directing the eye to small details of movement, and demonstrating the real physicality of the music with the dance. Unlike the narrative quality of the voice over, I love how the neutrality of Jijia’s face (which I still find to be so expressive and full of feeling) leaves the power of the movement to stand on its own without delivering “on the nose” content, emotion, or meaning, and trusts the viewer to make their own associations or story.
A Goat Media production by the award-winning duo of dance filmmakers Katrina McPherson (on camera) and Simon Fildes (editing), the film is also exemplary of a Chinese and UK co-production, shot on location in the Highlands of Scotland. “There is a Place” is a powerful gem of a dance film, which left an indelible mark that has remained with me since the first time I saw it. Enjoy.