Spend January 7 at the Walter Reade; you'll take an amazing spin through the dance film universe, beginning with a staid 1952 doc shot in Bali by Robert and Allegra Fuller Snyder. Then back to Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's 1948 classic The Red Shoes, and forward to Carmen and Geoffrey, a leisurely new doc by Linda Atkinson and Nick Doob that worships Carmen de Lavallade and Geoffrey Holder, prolific American dance artists of African descent. De Lavallade hauled Alvin Ailey into the Los Angeles dance world over half a century ago; Trinidad-born Holder (who later designed and directed The Wiz) spotted her in New York when they worked on Truman Capote's House of Flowers, and vowed to marry her before they were even introduced. Their adventure unspools here (and in a show of Holder's artwork that hangs in the Walter Reade's gallery through January).
Next up is an international program of eight short films, the longest of which (at 34 minutes) is a cinch to win best in show. British choreographer-director Lloyd Newson offers The Cost of Living, a brilliantly crafted love story featuring legless performer David Toole and a carny crowd in a seedy British seaside town. And that's just opening day. Three times next week you can see Late Premiere, a 70-minute compilation of recently uncovered Russian ballet footage shot from 1896 through the early '20s by Alexander Shirayev, a character dancer who assisted Marius Petipa at St. Petersburg's Maryinsky Theater and, in his spare time, experimented with puppets and animation as ways of preserving and teaching choreography. Ballet geeks will swoon; the rest of you will be fascinated. There are 13 programs in all, and seven repeat at least once during the fest's six days; dozens of other films screen at alternative venues around the city. See the dance listings for details, or visit filmlinc.com.
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