Arts Listings

‘La Danse’ Fundraiser for Dancer’s Group

By Ken Bullock, Special to the Planet
Thursday December 03, 2009 - 09:08:00 AM

Come join us in the dark and we will shine new light on the world.” 

That sentiment, posted on the Rialto Elmwood Cinema website, will be amply fulfilled tonight (Thursday) at 7 p.m. when an exclusive East Bay showing of Frederick Wiseman’s 38th film, La Danse: Le Ballet de l’Opera de Paris, will benefit the Parachute Fund of the Dancers Group, the Bay Area dance support group. The Parachute Fund has raised, since 1987, nearly $100,000 for dancers with HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening conditions. 

The Rialto Elmwood—“Creating Berkeley’s Best Neighborhood Movie Theater!”—has opened its doors before in neighborly fashion to benefit others. 

Wiseman’s new film has been hailed as “One of the finest dance films ever made” by A. O. Scott of the New York Times. Wiseman shows the spectator an extraordinary institution, films the beauties of the dances and dancers there—and considers its existence precisely as an institution (as Wiseman has always examined), an opulent institution. 

La Danse shows rehearsals and performances of seven ballets: Genus (Wayne McGregor), Le Songe de Medée (Angelin Prejocal), La Maison de Bernarda (Mats Ek), Paquita (Pierre Lacotte), Orphée and Eurydice (Pina Bausch) and Romeo and Juliet (Sasha Waltz). 

David Denby said, in the New Yorker, “Wiseman, with evident pleasure, turns back to the dancers, whom he photographs, not in the manner of the commercial cinema, where bodies are broken up into threshing limbs, but in full frame, top to bottom, with space around them, so that we can see the incredible moves the dancers are capable of, along with, inevitably, their mistakes, missteps, and gradual improvements ... It’s a joyous experience to see an institution in full flower—to see not dereliction and disorder but the many forms of striving and virtue.” 



Benefit screening of Frederick Wiseman’s La Danse for the Parachute Fund of Dancers Group, 7 p. m. Thurs, Dec. 3, Rialto Elmwood Theater, 2966 College Ave. $20-$50. (415) 920-9181.; rialtocinemas/