Dance on Film Series



Join Dance for World Community and Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre as we present 4 hand-selected documentaries about the power of dance in communities locally and beyond! Many thanks to our partners at The Brattle Theatre for hosting this exciting venture.

The Brattle Theatre
40 Brattle St., Harvard Square 

4:00 PM 
Director: Mary Jane Doherty
Runtime: 83 minutes

PRIMARIA follows three young dancers throughout four years of their elite elementary-ballet training program in Havana, Cuba. The children’s goal is to make it into the world-famous Ballet High School of Cuba at age 15. Alex and Arlette both come from poor families. Their mothers work, but their fathers have gone missing––a typical scenario for many contemporary Cuban families. Daniela, on the other hand, comes from relative wealth. Her family, with its deep roots in Havana’s former upper class, has the wherewithal to support her on every level. Unlike most Cuban children, Daniela is motivated to succeed for reasons beyond economic need; she simply wants to be a dancer, as a matter of identity. And she’ll do whatever takes. TICKETS AVAILABLE AT BOX OFFICE ONLY.  NO ONLINE SALES AVAILABLE.

Click here to watch the trailer









Directors: Ian Bronwell and Webb Wilcoxen
Runtime: 70 minutes

Presented in partnership with the American Dance Therapy Association
This intimate documentary profiles Norma Canner, a pioneer in dance movement therapy, who found in dance a way to help those discarded by society. The film traces the evolution of Norma’s career from Broadway actress in the ‘40s, through her ground-breaking work in creative movement with disabled and mentally retarded children in the ‘60s, to her work with adults as a dance therapist. This film is an inspiring tale of a woman who followed her own heart and in the process helped others to heal themselves.

Screening will be followed by Q&A with Director Ian Brownell and with Donna Newman-Bluestein, Dance/Movement Therapist, Senior Lecturer at Lesley University and former student of Norma Canner.

Click here to order tickets through The Brattle Theatre website.

Norma Canner









AFTER THE CURTAIN (2016) – 8:00 PM
Director: Emelie Mahdavian
Runtime: 70 minutes

In Emelie Mahdavian’s After the Curtain, four female dancers battle shifting cultural norms and face increasing disfavor in the Post-Soviet, predominantly Muslim nation of Tajikistan. The women weigh their love of art against economic hardship, loneliness, and social reproach in this intimate portrait, which also celebrates the rich dance and music culture of a Central Asian country largely unknown in the West.

Click here to watch the trailer.

Click here to order tickets through The Brattle Theatre website.











MONDAY, JUNE 6, 2016
The Brattle Theatre
40 Brattle St., Harvard Square

THEY ARE WE (2014) – 6:00 PM
Director: Emma Christopher
Runtime: 77 minutes

Can a family separated by the transatlantic slave trade for 170 years sing and dance its way back together? THEY ARE WE tells the story of survival against the odds and how determination and shared humanity can triumph over the bleakest of histories.

In Central Cuba, proud members of the Gangá-Longobá, a small Afro-Cuban ethnic group, have kept their unique heritage alive.  Incredibly, through decades of brutal enslavement, independence wars, and then the denying of all religions after the revolution, they have retained a collection of distinct songs and dances that one of their ancestors brought from Africa as a slave.  Each December 17th they still perform them at the San Lazaro ceremony.

After a chance discovery while working in West Africa, director Emma Christopher spent two years showing a film of the Gangá-Longobá songs and dances to several thousand people across Sierra Leone.  Eventually, in an isolated village with no road access, one man looked at another in joy and wonder as he watched a recording of the Gangá-Longobá songs and said, “THEY ARE WE!”  Then the villagers joined in with others of the Gangá-Longobá songs, still recognizing them clearly despite all the years of separation.

Click here to watch the trailer.


HORIZONTES (2015) – 8:00 PM
Director: Eileen Hofer
Runtime: 70 minutes

In run-down rehearsal rooms along the halls of the Grand Theatre of Havana, Amanda and Viengsay dedicate themselves wholeheartedly to their demanding routine: that of classical ballet. Their every step and aspiration echo the great achievements of their predecessor, Alicia Alonso, the prima ballerina assoluta, still invincible even at the grand age of 90. Dive into the world of Cuban ballet, past and present, to discover its joys, challenges, and the important place ballet holds in Cuban culture.

Click here to view the trailer.


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