Rhythm is It - film

TAPAC Theatre, Western Springs, Auckland

08/10/2010 - 08/10/2010

Tempo Dance Festival 2010

Production Details

In 2004, two hundred teenagers from different and often difficult backgrounds united under the leadership of choreographer Royston Maldoom, conductor Sir Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Over six weeks they choreographed a work to Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring. For many of these young people, it changed their lives. Share their journey in finding discipline and self respect in this inspiring documentary.

Germany 2004, 104 min

Friday, 8 October 2010, 2pm
Duration: 104 mins

Tapac, 100 Motions Rd, Western Springs
Free Parking and Station Cafe Bar will be open
Prices: $10 | $1 for online bookings | $4 for phone bookings

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Ph: 09 845 0295
Phone Bookings are open Mon – Fri: 9:30 am to 5:00 pm
Box Office open 1 hour prior to show

The necessity of dance

Review by Jennifer Nikolai 09th Oct 2010

Rhythm is It is one of the most inspirational films I’ve seen all year.

The film opens cinematically with shots of Berlin. We see images of freshly falling snow landing gently on tree branches, row houses, apartment blocks framed by train tracks and commercial signage. It is 2003 and we are about to embark on a journey through the rehearsal process of Rhythm is It.

Director Thomas Grubes tells this classic tale of underdogs in the face of adversity, as he documents the gathering of professional musicians from the Berliner Philharmoniker, professional choreographers and 250 young people between 8 and early 20s, to rehearse and perform a piece performed to Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Spring).

Individual stories of troubled teenagers from Iraq, Iran, Greece, Russia, Nigeria and Germany are paralleled with that of professional choreographer Royston Maldoom and conductor Sir Simon Rattle who state that at one time they too were directionless or misunderstood youths.

What brings the parties together is art. This documentary is an uplifting illustration of how dance, music, and rhythm can change lives on a very deep level. 

Rhythm is It tracks a five week process of gathering children and teens from a range of schools, to rehearse in gymnasiums and dance studios across Berlin. Choreographers Susannah Broughton and Royston Maldoom facilitate the students through this arduous process. We meet teens Martin, Olayinka and Marie and follow their journey and become attached to them, throughout the duration of the film. 

Initially with some students, there is a resistance or lack of engagement with the rehearsals. The youth goof off, smoke, and talk trash to each other and their mentors. But gradually they are won over by the process and we start to push through the clichés of disenfranchised, isolated youth and see the real characters behind the teenage masks. 

There is an emotional rush as the performance date arrives. Images of youth who have never danced before, and some more experienced, all enter backstage, and then walk on the enormous stage to perform for the first time. 

Equally satisfying is the amount of time spent on the Berliner Philharmoniker rehearsals and conductor Sir Simon Rattle. He is an articulate and engaging subject whose poignant statements indicate key turning points in the film.  

The cinematography is engaging, employing effective use of close-ups of musicians playing oboes, violins and timpani’s, intercut with more close ups of ‘new’ dancers, falling into a side-fall in canon, or circling the gymnasium floor with leaps.

As the film closes we hear young voices saying: “I want to perform for myself, not for anyone else.” Choreographers saying: “You are absolutely capable of being the best performers in the show.” 

The inspiring message of Rhythm is It is succinctly stated by Sir Simon Rattle: “We need this, this is not a luxury it is a necessity.”
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News. 


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