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July 09, 2005

Rize: An Hermetic Gift

I have finally managed to squeeze off a few hours of free time, and so I witnessed the Rize documentary first-hand. Nicely.

For the dancer in me, I am stunned at how swiftly the articulations subdue the context. All of the 'bam' moments of which there are a good dozen in the flick - the dance floor equivalents of a basketball reject - are almost subsumed into the cuts. It's as if LaChapelle was wary of capturing moments of dance in order to leave more for the future of filming the form.

What's nicely done about 'Rize' is that in the end it feels very much like a gift of a cinematographer to his subjects. He has understood just enough and crafted just enough of a narrative and captured just enough of the life to frame the dancing itself - for the dancers. It's as if he said 'tell me the story of your dancing, and show me your dancing, and I will tell it back to you on film'. And while it doesn't feel as though we in the audience are opening somebody else's present, it does feel like a present nonetheless. In that I mean to suggest that the documentary doesn't project so much as one might expect from the opening sequences. Here's South LA, a dangerous, impoverished place, and here are some kids in it.

There's enough of a continuity in this dancing, though you won't hear it editorialized, that I find many aspects of it as a direct descendent of the kind of dancing I did as a kid, and into my adulthood. About one of the last times I did dance on the regular, at joints like 'Giant Step' in Los Feliz and the West Village in the early 90s, I could feel that feeling. And in recent months, with my abortive attempt at Capoeira, some of that energy was in my bones. In my chair I could feel my own interpretations taking place, starting with pieces of the Bankhead Bounce. I'll have to do some more, me and my gut, to say what more there is to say.

What I like about the style itself, if there's much more of a distinction between clowning and krumping, is the collaborative style of krump. The yanking and the pulling right at the 'bam' moment is really arresting. The momentum that could be gotten out of these moves must certainly be some of where the form has gone since the filming, or at least one hopes.

I hope there's more to see of this.

Posted by mbowen at July 9, 2005 09:18 PM

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You always see these flicks a little bit before I do. Now I want to see it.

Posted by: George at July 10, 2005 12:01 AM