Most of us are familiar with screen adaptations based on ballets such as “Romeo and Juliet” and “Swan Lake”, but not so much the other way around. This has all changed with a new ballet inspired dance based on not just any old film, rather the most recent winner in the Best Picture category from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, called “Moonlight”; or more affectionately known as the little engine that could.
Choreographed by Robert Battle of New York’s Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, this ballet-infused dance captures emotionally pivotal moments from the film and wraps them up into an equally moving, transformative piece. Capturing the hearts of viewers while translating the films poetic musings into colorful contemplation on the stage, “Moonlight” the dance is literally poetry in motion.
Reflective like the moon, from center stage’s gleaming blue light, to the riveting score composed by Academy Award nominated Nicholas Britell, these visual and auditory delights awoke our senses to the rich sensory experience adventure that is “Moonlight”. From the dramatic variation and depth of expressions on the dancer’s faces, to the moments of breathlessness and silence, and piercing expressions of color, these sensory treats embody this piece as an expressive, cinematic masterpiece at its finest.
The three featured dancers in this piece, Jamar Roberts, Christopher Taylor and Jeremy T. Villas each represent the film’s protagonist, Chiron, at major stages of his life – from childhood to adolescence to adulthood. Sans cinematic effects or dialogue, they follow Chiron’s journey from suppression to assertion through dance. Suspense grows as the haunting cries of the violins quicken to a fervored pace, building drama and intensity as they culminate to a climatic point. From still moments of silence to explosive bursts of energy, each undulating contraction and release of the dancers bodies highlight the most sensual and sensitive of moments, while poignantly displaying Chiron’s struggle of self-discovery and acceptance.
A cinematic and now stage jewel, “Moonlight” in motion captures hearts and emotions and touches audiences to the core.
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