The Heart Dances

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The Heart Dances

Year: 2018

Duration: 99 minutes

Genre: Documentary

Classification: Check the classification

Producer: Rebecca Tansley and Robin Laing

Director: Rebecca Tansley

When celebrated Czech choreographer Jiří Bubeníček and his production designer brother Otto arrive in New Zealand to prepare their work The Piano: the ballet with the Royal New Zealand Ballet, the stage is set for a voyage into uncharted territory for everyone involved.

For Moss Patterson, engaged by the RNZB as Māori advisor, the work epitomises cultural appropriation. His response challenges the concept of freedom of expression so important to the Bubeníčeks while raising important questions about representation with the ballet company.

The dancers face challenges of a different kind as they come to terms with the famous characters of Ada, Stewart and Baines and the love triangle they are caught up in.

As the company works to bring this memorable story to the stage, aspects of the film that inspired the ballet continue to be played out – old world versus new, new relationships, new challenges – while Jiří and Otto discover the responsibilities of storytelling in dance are more complex than they ever imagined.

Features a stunning soundtrack from the ballet, including Michael Nyman, and a range of New Zealand tracks from Aldous Harding, Bic Runga, Minuit, Hirini Melbourne and Richard Nunns and Flavio Villani.


★★★★★ 5 Stars – “very recommended”
Graeme Tuckett – Stuff

“a seductive behind the scenes look at the dance world”
Camille Khouri: Urbis Magazine

“beautiful to the eye and to the ear”
Richard Swainson: RNZ – Radio New Zealand

“more than just another peek behind the scenes”
Adam Fresco: Flicks