Monday, July 08, 2013


After backing it as Kickstarter project, I was so psyched to get my own copy of Furious Beauty, a film about the dance company Versa-Style.  (See my post about the film HERE.)

I was so moved by the film that, after watching it, I thought "I should really call the director and tell him how amazing this is!"  I didn't know how to reach him, so I sent this tweet:

Eleanor Traubman @creativetimes
Just watched and was blown away by @furious_beauty, the documentary about Versa-Style dance company
So deeply moved!
 04:58 PM - 18 Jun 13

A day or two later, I received a friendly email from Calvin Leung, Director of Furious Beauty, letting me know he would be in NYC that weekend to screen his film. Talk about good karma!
During their visit to The Big Apple, I met up with Calvin and also with dancer Daniel Norwood - aka DSoul - to talk about dance, community, and a whole lot more. 

Calvin on Dance

Calvin observes that the dance community, built around the greater good and not just around the individual, has a sort of surrogate family structure that involves lots of mentorship. "To create a family structure," he shared, "you have to make a conscious to look after someone.  Our culture is propagated by sharing it with more people on a one-to-one basis."

Calvin also speaks to the creative aspect of dance, noting that, like other art forms, it's "interpersonal" and "can cut through our analytical side, which is important in an increasingly digital world."

Daniel on Dance

Daniel, who has been dancing for 3 and a half years, is grateful to the people and classes at Homeland (a neighborhood cultural center in Long Beach) who helped him "get past a barrier of feeling awkward, [of] being the white boy who couldn't dance." In dance, he is constantly challenged to expand his comfort zone. When he first started dancing, peers at Daniel's college thought that what he was doing was strange.  His mom, however, was supportive.  And one of the things working in his favor was his familiarity with discipline: Daniel had a history of being a competitive golfer."

Notes Daniel about dance "It brings us all to the moment; unites us in the moment; connects us to the people around us; connects us with ourselves and with the music.

Dance on Film

Toward the end of our time together, I ask Calvin and Daniel about what dance films inspired them
Daniel appreciated RIZE, a movie about some of the original Krumpers, for the freestyle and non-repetitive aspect of the movements.  Calvin, as someone who makes dance films, noted Dirty Dancing for the way the dancers conveyed affection through their hands.  He also treasures mime Robert Shields' Celebration of Imagination, sharing that  "Shields does what I want to do as a dancer, which is to own the moment."

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