If the Dancer Dances

'If the Dancer Dances' grants us rare access [to an] intimate process, a dance being passed one body to another, that makes this film a great gift.


If the Dancer Dances

Part of our Culture Vulture series. For more screenings and information, visit: www.laemmle.com/culturevulture.
If the Dancer Dances invites viewers into the intimate world of the dance studio. Stephen Petronio, one of today’s leading dance-makers, is determined to help his dancers breathe new life into RainForest (1968), an iconic work by the legendary choreographer Merce Cunningham. With help from three members of the former Cunningham company, the film tracks Petronio’s dancers as they strive to re-stage this great work, revealing what it takes to keep a dance – and a legacy – alive. Timed to coincide with Cunningham’s centennial, If the Dancer Dances is the first documentary on the subject of Cunningham’s work since his passing in 2009.

“The dance studio is a private and mysterious place. After all, it’s where great works of choreography are created and kept alive.
If the Dancer Dances grants us rare access, bringing us into the studio to watch the staging of a Merce Cunningham masterwork on the Stephen Petronio Company. It’s the tracking of this intimate process, a dance being passed one body to another, that makes this film a great gift.” - Mikhail Baryshnikov
Not Rated
Dance, Culture Vulture, Ballet
Maia Wechsler
Ben Kenigsberg, New York Times

According to the new documentary “If the Dancer Dances,” even a medium like video — which is two-dimensional — could never capture dance movements as specific as Merce Cunningham’s. “History and preservation has to happen skin to skin, breath to breath, body to body,” the choreographer Stephen ...

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