MOVING FORWARD, LOOKING BACK #2020 – new documemtary explores the impact of the pandemic on the performing arts
Arts association and independent film makers Abundant Art today release a new documentary charting the effects of the pandemic on the performing arts.
MOVING FORWARD, LOOKING BACK #2020 follows three dancers, as they navigate the succession of lockdowns and the sudden shutdown of their working lives – each one at a different stage of their professional development, each one experiencing that development grind to a halt.
So many times, during the pandemic we heard art being labelled as non-essential.
It may be too early to really assess the effects of such misplaced messaging on our society as a whole; as damaging the perception of art puts our ability to project ourselves in the future at a considerable risk, weakening the social fabric and alienating us from our true identity.
In a context where the functional took centre stage, this beautifully understated film performs a task that only art can deliver upon. It provides a fitting allegory to what our collective experience has felt like over the past year.
The footage was taken by the dancers themselves and has the authentic feel that only undoctored films can convey, with no attempt to dress up the scene as something it is not.
The challenges the protagonists are faced with are somewhat different for each of them as the dancers open up to us, giving a personal perspective on their life, that is strongly contrasted by their in-character performances, that punctuate the film.
Despite the innate technical limitations of such format, the film slowly induces the viewers to tune in to the rhythm of the modern dance performances, allowing the twists, breaks and turns of a modern dance routine to provide structure where there had appeared to be none.
Dance becomes the key to unlocking what first may appear as chaos. Elegance of movement, energy and a sense of ever-threatened balance, provide a welcomed framework not just for their performances, but also for the way they approach their respective personal lives, during the pandemic.
Despite the fear that surrounds them, they find the warmth to cultivate their emotions, to find better connections with their families and their communities.
They prove themselves to be essential workers in their own way – as art; the very thing that society seems to have turned away from, gives them the means to forge meaning from the chaos.