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WILLIAM SHATNER'S GONZO BALLET to headline Indie Memphis Dance Films -- May 23-25 @ Evergreen Theatre

Memphis in May

William Shatner's Gonzo Ballet, which premiered to rave reviews at the 2009 Nashville Film Festival, will make its Memphis debut as part of an Indie Memphis series of dance films screening at the Evergreen Theatre in collaboration with Project: Motion.



The film series, which also features Rumba and NY Export: Opus Jazz, will take place from Monday, May 23 through Wednesday, May 25, between weekend performances of Project: Motion's Frame-by-Frame, where choreographers will draw inspiration from favorite films to create one-of-a-kind dance performances.



A selection of award-winning short films by Mitchell Rose will precede each evening’s feature, including Advance(winner of the "Best Animated or Experimental Award" at the 2010 Indie Memphis Film Festival) and Modern Daydreams, a suite of four Chaplinesque films exploring the theme of movement engendered by day-to-day life.



Admission to Rumba and NY Export: Opus Jazz are $7 at the door for the general public / $5 for Indie Memphis members and Frame-by-Frame ticket-holders. Tickets for William Shatner's Gonzo Ballet are $10 at the door the general public / $8 for Indie Memphis members and Frame-by-Frame ticket-holders. Advance tickets are available online here at www.indiememphis.com for a $1 discount, plus service fees. Doors open one hour before showtime.
















Rumba

Memphis in May

Screening as part of Indie Memphis' four-film series of Belgian cinema with the Memphis in May International Festival

Rumba
7 pm Monday, May 23 @ Evergreen Theatre

Told with little music or dialogue to deflect from its clever slapstick, Rumba (77 min) tells the story of Fiona and Dom, a happy couple who teach in a rural school and have a common passion: Latin Dancing. One night, after a glorious dance competition, they have a car accident and see their lives turn upside down. Leaning heavily on the comedic styles of Jacques Tati, the film pursues the eternal question of whether two people can be eternally happy through deliberate and staunch cheerfulness.



"Like an episode of Sesame Street scripted by Luis Bunuel and helmed by Jacques Tati, Rumba turns dark tragedy into deadpan comedy through a series of surreal G-rated gags," wrote Variety.



The Guardian called Rumba "an old-fashioned, sweet-natured dance-based comedy debut to remember."



Rumba is preceded by Mitchell Rose's Modern Daydreams (16 min), a suite of four Chaplinesque films exploring the theme of movement engendered by day-to-day life. In Treadmill Softly, a man reaches aerobic heart rate at the gym when he falls for a hunkette. In Islands in the Sky, four people weave fifty feet in the air atop four cherry-pickers, aloft and aloof in their ivory towers. In Unleashed, a cubicle-bound Dilbert-ditto gets in touch with his inner puppy. In Deere John, a man and a twenty-two ton John Deere excavator dance a dance of discovery, fulfillment, and eventually, the loss that any diesel-based relationship must suffer.







NY Export: Opus Jazz


NY Export: Opus Jazz
7 pm Tuesday, May 24 @ Evergreen Theatre

A "ballet in sneakers" by the legendary Jerome Robbins (West Side Story), NY Export: Opus Jazz was a smash hit in 1958 when it was broadcast on the Ed Sullivan Show. Set to a rousing jazz score by Robert Prince, the ballet portrayed the experiences of urban youth through movements that blended ballet, jazz, and ballroom dancing to create a contemporary and powerfully expressive style. This 46-minute modern-day adaptation takes the ballet off the stage and back to the streets that inspired it, with the ensemble cast of disaffected youth played entirely by dancers from the New York City Ballet. Shot on location all over New York City on anamorphic 35mm, the film takes advantage of some of New York City's rarest and most stunning locations. The stylized cinematography captures the majestic landscape of New York City as well as the subtle beauty and sensuality of the dance piece.



New York Magazine called NY Export: Opus Jazz "just about the purest, sexiest thing going in ballet," and The New York Times said the film "may prove classic."



"All the stagy, perfected boredom one might feel towards ballet is cast aside and rendered fresh in NY Export: Opus Jazz," wrote FilmThreat. "The film is just awesome to watch and simply made me happy to have seen it. I can't recommend it highly enough."



Following the screening of NY Export: Opus Jazz is a 15-minute documentary that recounts the history and summarizes the enduring significance and appeal of Opus Jazz. Choreographer (and original West Side Story dancer) Eliot Feld and Sondra Lee (one of Robbins' original Opus dancers), along with other Robbins' friends and colleagues, join the current cast of dancers to contextualize the cultural and historical importance of Mr. Robbins' career and NY Export: Opus Jazz.



The Opus Jazz program is preceded by Mitchell Rose's Modern Daydreams (16 min), a suite of four Chaplinesque films exploring the theme of movement engendered by day-to-day life. In Treadmill Softly, a man reaches aerobic heart rate at the gym when he falls for a hunkette. In Islands in the Sky, four people weave fifty feet in the air atop four cherry-pickers, aloft and aloof in their ivory towers. In Unleashed, a cubicle-bound Dilbert-ditto gets in touch with his inner puppy. In Deere John, a man and a twenty-two ton John Deere excavator dance a dance of discovery, fulfillment, and eventually, the loss that any diesel-based relationship must suffer.







William Shatner's Gonzo Ballet

William Shatner's Gonzo Ballet
7 pm Wednesday, May 25 @ Evergreen Theatre



William Shatner's Gonzo Ballet (51 min) is a documentary about legendary choreographer Margo Sappington's quest to create a ballet set to the music of William Shatner's critically acclaimed album Has Been (produced and co-written with Ben Folds). The film shows Sappington's finished ballet, called Common People, in its entirety, as well as Shatner himself speaking candidly about his artistic endeavors and life choices. The film also features interviews with Ben Folds, Henry Rollins, Margo Sappington, and members of the Milwaukee Ballet.



"When the lights went up, there were cheers," said indieWIRE. "Shatner comes across as a true original."



Nashville Scene wrote, "The best part is Shatner himself, who reveals a heartfelt soul. It feels like this is the genuine man behind the myth."



"Every dance number they do... shows the heart and soul of the dancer thrown into every move, every lift, and every turn," said the San Diego Film Festival of William Shatner's Gonzo Ballet. "I recommend that everyone who appreciates creativity in all mediums see this movie."



William Shatner's Gonzo Ballet is preceded by a program of short films by award-winning filmmaker Mitchell Rose:



Advance (3 min) - One dance. Two minutes. Fifty locations. Winner of the 2010 Indie Memphis Film Festival jury award for Best Animated or Experimental Film.



Modern Daydreams (16 min) - A suite of four Chaplinesque films exploring the theme of movement engendered by day-to-day life. In Treadmill Softly, a man reaches aerobic heart rate at the gym when he falls for a hunkette. In Islands in the Sky, four people weave fifty feet in the air atop four cherry-pickers, aloft and aloof in their ivory towers. In Unleashed, a cubicle-bound Dilbert-ditto gets in touch with his inner puppy. In Deere John, a man and a twenty-two ton John Deere excavator dance a dance of discovery, fulfillment, and eventually, the loss that any diesel-based relationship must suffer. "Inventive and conceptual crossbreeding of comedy and cutting edge dance." - FilmThreat.



Elevator World (4 min) - A computer-animated essay on the spatial politics of elevator riding. "A computer masterpiece" - CBS Evening News.