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Giant Steps

A strong roster of 14 works, all local premieres, screens this weekend at the Walter Reade's third annual "Dance on Camera" festival. Ranging from the full-length (Dancemaker, a fine doc about Paul Taylor and his troupe, which opens at Film Forum in March) to the very short, the series spotlights the combination of computer-generated animation with live dance; in the deeply affecting and magical Il Segreto di Pulcinella, a Swiss film by Carlo Ippolito after the paintings of Tiepolo, Bruno Steiner choreographs the Zurich-based dance company Movers. Urban Clan, by Michelle Mahrer, documents Australia's Bangarra Dance Theater, whose heart lies in Aboriginal culture. The Dutch Nissin is a mysterious look at four tango dancers in a chilly Eastern European apartment. The surreal Hurtle (my favorite), by New Zealander Shona McCullagh, chronicles the anxious quest of a couple of nuns (one turns out to be a guy, but hey) for the ultimate grail: an empty toilet stall. And so much more, going a long way toward overriding my doubts about filmed dance.
 
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