Dance in 3D

Maybe I'm a snob, but I always saw 3D movies as a gimmicky fad that should never have left the '80s. Dance films in 3D seemed especially specious. Do you really want Giselle jumping out of the screen at you?

 

I think my answer might be "Yes." Last night I saw a screening of PINA, Wim Wender's tribute to the late post-modern choreographer Pina Bausch. It's a documentary filmed in 3D that includes interviews with Bausch's dancers intercut with site-specific bits and performance excerpts. It was some of the most visceral dance footage I'd ever seen. Or rather, experienced. When the camera is onstage right alongside the dancers in 3D, it feels so real; you're no longer simply a voyeur sitting in a dark movie theater watching a screen, but you're right there on set, moving with, then moving through the dancers. It feels similar to breaking the fourth wall—but without the accompanying self-conscious awkwardness.

 

Most impressively, the 3D effect diminishes that static feeling that usually sucks the life out of dance on film. Because the dancers' movement is so immediate, it doesn't seem as canned as it usually does. The 3D technology isn't quite perfect yet—when the dancers move quickly, their limbs sometimes blur. But 3D translates dance onto film in a way that retains more of its magic. Lesson learned: Don't knock it till you try it.

 

P.S. Pina Bausch was brilliant.

Latest Posts


Getty Images

Ask Amy: How Can I Overcome My Fear of Pirouettes on Pointe?

I have a terrible fear of falling when doing turns on pointe. I sometimes cry in class when we have to do new turns that I'm not used to. I can only do bad singles on a good day, while some of my classmates are doing doubles and triples. How can I get over this fear? —Gaby

Keep reading SHOW LESS
xmb photography, Courtesy The Washington Ballet

The Washington Ballet's Sarah Steele on Her At-Home Workouts

Ballet at home: Since she's not preparing for any immediate performances, Steele takes ballet barre three to four times a week. "I'm working in more of a maintenance mode," she says, prioritizing her ankles and the intrinsic muscles in her feet. "If you don't work those muscles, they disappear really quickly. I've been focusing on a baseline level of ballet muscle memory."

What she's always working on: Strengthening her glute-hamstring connection (the "under-butt" area), which provides stability for actions like repetitive relevés and power for jumps. Bridges are her go-to move for conditioning those muscles. "Those 'basic food group'–type exercises are some of the best ones," she says.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Getty Images

Hiding Injuries: Why Downplaying Pain Can Lead to Bigger Problems Down the Road

Sabrina Landa was thrilled to be offered a traineeship with Pennsylvania Ballet. "As a trainee, everything felt like a chance to prove myself as a professional," she says. Her training hours increased and she was dancing more than she ever had before. When Landa began experiencing pain in her metatarsals partway through the 2018 Nutcracker season, she notified the staff. "But in fear of losing my shows, I downplayed the severity of it," Landa says.

She notes that no one pushed her to keep dancing but herself. "I was 18 and was aiming to receive a contract by the end of the year," she says. "I felt so much anxiety over missing an opportunity that I was afraid to be honest about my pain." Pennsylvania Ballet's artistic staff were understanding and supportive, but Landa minimized her injury for the next few months, wanting to push through until the season ended and contracts were offered. But after months of pain and an onset of extreme weakness in her foot, Landa was diagnosed with two stress fractures in her second and third metatarsals. She spent the next three months on crutches and six months off dancing to allow for the fractures' delayed healing.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks