Home | Reviews | Articles | Festivals | Competitions | Other | Contact Us

(LaLaLaHumanSteps/Edouard Lock)

Opus Arte DVD OA 0945 D
[16:9; APPROX RUN TIME: 130 Mins]

This is a truly remarkable dance film, recommended strongly, despite problems in accessing some of its special features, and an effective running time of only 59 minutes.

Choreographer Edouard Lock provides an (optional) commentary for this one-hour film, made in a wooden box which offers intriguingly ambiguous viewpoints to watch the interactions between the several dancers - most often two at a time - of the Canadian LaLaLaHumanSteps Company.

The work is abstract, alternating frenetic activity with moments of stasis. With Lock's help, you gradually appreciate the individualities between the dancers and their personalities, sometimes in intimate detail.

The ballet is accompanied by a score by David Lang, minimalist and austere in style, with lyrics by Lou Reed. I would find this music hard to listen to on its own, but it gradually makes its mark with the dance, ceding attention to the visual complexities of the relationships to which we are privy.

Lock talks continually sotto voce, and tells us about what we cannot see, how this version is only possible on film, what is happening behind the camera, which is deployed with great complexity within a constructed "stage" which is totally different to how Amelia (its title is never explained!) was originally staged.

For a second viewing, which is desirable and rewarding, it is possible to dispense with the commentary and instead apply an interactive setting which makes available additionally preparation and rehearsal footage which brings you closer to the dancers as individuals, and reveals the mysteries of the wooden construction of the space and how it is deployed.

There is a bonus disc reviewing 25 years of the company's productions, but we found navigating it frustrating and not rewarding enough to persevere. (My impression is that whilst the sound tracks can be heard on our DVD player, the video clips have to be accessed on the computer, and seem to comprise only a sequence of still photos.)

The whole effect of Amelia is impossible to convey without actually seeing it; it is a unique DVD to which we will return and share with friends. I will probably try again to access those elusive extracts from earlier works.

© Peter Grahame Woolf