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Ballet Adagio

Film Review by Dean Duncan May 8, 2015

The film’s superbly designed titles, so simultaneously saturated and chaste, give way to its similarly delineated main body. The background (colour fields hinting at actual sky forms, as in McLaren’s Spheres) is cool, and the floor, bodies and costumes are warm. Two contrasting tones, but absolutely complementary. That describes these dancers as well. Their performance is shot at ¼ speed, to help students see and understand some specific technical and choreographical things, and so the layman or mere stunned appreciator can appreciate what are literally infinities of strength and grace and union. Dancers David and Ann-Marie Holmes are married—“at the time,” alas—which means that McLaren’s modest teaching film is also, actually, both parable and document of the sublime range of human intimacy. Are you concerned about the place of pornography in modern life? Are you in its thrall? This kind of thing, this thing exactly, is pornography’s exact opposite. I would go so far to say that this kind of thing, this thing exactly, is pornography’s precise antidote. Sensual, and so much more! A prayer, a metaphor, a miracle.

Here: This was not, by the way, the first or only time that McLaren successfully addressed and celebrated dancers, dancing, and all that they contain. Behold, the unutterable Pas de Deux (1968):

Tweet Review:

Saw #BalletAdagio. Kinetic to the point of detonation, solemn/sensual to the point of sacredness. Body as temple, & dance as its rite.