Dancers and dance traditions from Latin America are on view at the 45th edition of DOCF. Here's a couple highlights; check out their website for more.
Olhando pras estrelas (Looking at the Stars), Brazil 2016
The Fernanda Bianchini Ballet Association for the Blind in São Paolo is the sole ballet school in the world for the visually impaired. The film tells the story of two youngsters in the program: Geyza, who lost her vision at the age of nine but continues to pursue her dream to become a ballerina, and Thalia, her teenage protegée, who has multiple aspirations and a feisty personality. Both are without a trace of self-pity. For each, ballet is an important creative outlet and a means of becoming a more powerful self. Watching them confront their daily challenges proves to be a deeply emotional experience.
Queen of Thursdays, USA
For director Orlando Rojas this is a highly personal look at Rosario Suárez, the former prima ballerina of the Ballet Nacional de Cuba, known to her fans as “Cherín.” Due to a rivalry with the company’s longtime founder and director Alicia Alonso, she is rarely permitted to perform on the weekends but is showcased on the ballet’s Thursday programs, earning her the the titular sobriquet “la reina de los jueves.” Ballet lore can be fanciful but the film’s archival sequences and commentary confirm that Suárez was, indeed, an expressive dancer with a dazzling technique and a singular interpretive style. In this film, written and produced by Rojas and Dennis Scholl, her story plays like a grand melodrama: a promising career gets derailed by politics; she is made principal at an age when most ballerinas retire; she is forced to lead the life of an exile. In Miami, her adopted “home,” she faces new challenges to rebuild her life and career. Once again, as the film’s narrator suggests, she is “rolling a rock up the mountain, like Sisyphus.”
New York: Feb. 3 - 7 at Lincoln Center. Full lineup and details here.