Les Feux Follets (Will-o'-the-Wisps) was founded as an amateur dance group in Montréal. It grew into a professional company. In this film the group performs two dances that demonstrate the dancers' virtuosity: the first, an interpretation by the non-Indigenous troupe of a First Nations dance described as a "Plains betrothal dance"; the second, a more frenetic exhibition of go-go dancing.
(Please note that this film was produced in 1966 and reflects the attitudes and thinking of its era. To modern audiences, parts of the film may be perceived as offensive, but it must be seen as a cultural product of the era in which it was produced. The perspectives of Canadians (and the NFB) have evolved and become more conscious of Indigenous rights, realities and points of view since the making of the film. Through its rich collection of Indigenous-made films, available at Indigenous Cinema , the NFB continues to strive to challenge stereotypes about Indigenous people and accurately depict the diverse experiences of Indigenous communities. )
From a festival of folk dances at the 1966 Canadian National Exhibition, an exciting selection of Canada's best amateur groups. The dances range from the seductive Hawaiian to the familiar Cossack. From all the major language groups of Canada, here is evidence that traditional cultures are expressed and maintained through the art of the dance. A film without words.
This short documentary profiles the traditional music and pageantry of Polish-Canadians in Manitoba. The heritage and national traditions of Poland were brought to Canada by immigrants and sustained across generations. The colourful traditional dress and lively music of Polish-Canadians is captured by ethnomusicologist Laura Boulton, a pioneering woman in the educational documentary film movement whose goal was to “capture, absorb, and bring back the world’s music.”
This short documentary is a portrait of Sylvie Mazerolle, a young woman for whom dance is as vital and fundamental as breathing. Tracking her process, the film also takes a look at dance in her home province of New Brunswick. In French with English subtitles.
This documentary was made as part of the Tremplin program, with the collaboration of Radio-Canada.
When Mavis Staines took the helm of Canada’s National Ballet School in 1989, the pedagogy of ballet was due for an evolution. Driven by a belief system that honoured tradition but challenged outdated practices, Staines set in motion a paradigm shift that has transformed ballet training in Canada and around the world.
This 1959 feature documentary is a foray into Canada’s art milieu. What is it like to be a Canadian artist? Answering this central question are Teresa Stratas, winner of Metropolitan Opera auditions; acclaimed lyric tenor Léopold Simoneau and his talented wife, soprano Pierrette Alarie; the National Ballet Company of Canada’s artistic director, Celia Franca and leading male dancer, David Adams; as well as jazz pianist Oscar Peterson, whom we visit at 3 o'clock in the morning at Boston's Storyville Club. The film also includes interviews with radio and television actor John Drainie, Christopher Plummer and Jean Gascon, director of Montreal's Théâtre du Nouveau Monde.
Seated in the middle of a square room, choreographer Ginette Laurin looks back at revealing key aspects of her artistic process. What initially seems like a simple filmed interview takes a twist when a young dancer explores the same work, seeming to defy gravity. O Vertigo !
Produced by the National Film Board of Canada in co-operation with the National Arts Centre and the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards Foundation on the occasion of the 2018 Governor General's Performing Arts Awards.
The NFB’s 8th Academy-Award winning film. This short film is an impressionistic record of a flamenco dance class given to senior students of the National Ballet School of Canada by two great teachers from Spain, Susana and Antonio Robledo. The film shows the beautiful young North American dancers—inspired by the flamenco rhythms and mesmerized by Susana's extraordinary energy—joyously merging with an ancient gypsy culture.
The NFB's 24th Oscar®-nominated film.
This short film by Norman McLaren is a cinematic study of the choreography of ballet. A bare, black set with the back-lit figures of dancers Margaret Mercier and Vincent Warren create a dream-like, hypnotic effect. This award-winning film comes complete with the visual effects one expects from this master filmmaker.
This short film addresses the revolving cycles of human conflict through contemporary dance. Celebrated choreographer Crystal Pite and dance filmmakers Marlene Millar & Philip Szporer commemorate the fading legacies of WWI, while also creating a moving homage to Pite’s mentors and contemporaries, whose lives and short careers are pitted against the fleeting nature of the dance art form. Featuring Theodore Ushev’s haunting and distinct artwork, the film explores the themes of conflict, loss, and rescue we all experience as we cycle through states of love and war.
Warning: Although this film was shot in 3D, the streaming and downloadable versions are available in 2D only.
Made in 1975, as part of the Challenge for Change program, this film takes a long, hard look at marriage and motherhood as expressed in the views of a group of young girls and married women. Their opinions cover a wide range. At regular intervals glossy advertisements extolling romance, weddings, babies, flash across the screen, in strong contrast to the words that are being spoken. The film ends on a sobering thought: the solution to dashed expectations could be as simple as growing up before marriage.