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Dance My Heart Out

A documentary directed by Susanna Edwards, about Swedish choreographer Mats Ek trying to convey his artistic vision to a young Cuban dance company. The film was awarded the Václav Havel Prize at the Golden Prague TV-Festival 2013.

World famous choreographer Mats Ek decides to produce his own ballet “Casi Casa” with a young dance company in Cuba. He does not want to charge for his work, as he thinks it’s time to pay back for everything that the dance world has given him. But language confusions, injuries and a very small budget put obstacles in the way. “Dance my heart out” is a film about striving for perfection and to express something universal with your body as the instrument.

The ballet “Casi Casa” was originally created for Opéra National de Paris. The dance revolves around everyday objects in a home, like a vacuum cleaner, a bidé, a cooker or an armchair. Everyday things in Western Europe that is, but will the ballet be able to come across in Cuba? At Teatro Nacional in Havanna, where La Danza Contemporanea rehearse and perform, there are not even any working toilettes.

A week before the premiere Mats Ek arrives in Havanna. Time is scarce and the choreographer demands precision in every detail. Language and cultural confusions stir up problems, as well as injuries in the ensemble. The hard work to get everything in place continues right up to the big premiere.

The success of the performance “Casi Casa” has brought La Danza Contemporanea de Cuba on tour to Poland, Great Britain, Spain and even New York.

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Biography of Mats Ek:
Mats Ek (born 1945) is a leading Swedish dance and ballet choreographer, dancer and stage director.

At the age of 17 Mats Ek went to a modern dance class taught by Donya Feuer. He pursued theatrical studies in Sweden and from 1966 until 1973 he acted as the director for the Marionette Theater as well as the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm. In 1972 he joined the Cullberg Ballet. In 1976 he made his first choreography titled “The Officer’s Servant” for the Cullberg Ballet. In 1978, Ek became – together with his mother, Birgit Cullberg – artistic director of the Cullberg Ballet, until 1985 when the responsibility became his entirely.

Mats Ek uses classical as well as modern dance techniques. Social engagement of psychological dilemmas combined with subtle humour, form the basis of his choreographical work. For well over 30 years he has been a highly esteemed choreographer throughout the world. He created “Sleeping Beauty” for the Hamburg Ballet (1996), “A Sort Of” for the Nederlands Dans Theater (1997), and “Apartment” for the Paris Opera (2000), to mention but a few. Several of Mats Ek's ballets have been adapted for television and two of them received international Emmy awards.

Genre: Music & Culture
Original title: Dance My Heart Out
Sub-genres: Ballet  
Year: 2012
Duration: 58'
Director: Susanna Edwards
Produced by: Eden Film & Trapio and SVT
Available in HD: Yes
Format: 16:9

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