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Flash week-end pick: Dancing in the light
Dance-film trek, the next generation

By Paul Ben-Itzak
Copyright 2009 Paul Ben-Itzak

Award-winning dancer and film-maker Amy Greenfield brings Nimoy to Nimoy this week-end with the premiere at New York's Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theater of "Spirit in the Flesh," which aims to impart cinematic motion to actor-photographer Leonard Nimoy's photos for his mystical "Shekhina" book, whose intent is to envision the invisible divine presence of Shekhina -- in the Jewish book of mysticism the Kabbalah, described as an all-encompassing female power of creativity and healing -- as 'contemporary woman.' The premise of the theatrical piece: Nimoy's projected nudes will light the dancers, who include Andrea Beeman, Tasha Taylor, and Vittoria Maniglio, casting them as part of the cinematic imagery along with the photos. The dancers will move to text from the book, spoken live by Emmy-award winner Maeve Kinkead, and music by John Zorn, Zohara, and Oren Ambarchi and Z'ev.

Also on the program is Greenfield's "Club Midnight: Flesh into Light," which features the film "Club Midnight" plus live dancing choreographed by Greenfield, Beeman, and Taylor, "Wildfire," screened recently at the Berlin Film Festival, and "Live Tides," in which Maniglio performs live in front of a new multi-projection version of Greenfield's 1982 film "Tides," inspired by the legendary Maya Deren's 1944 "At Land."

Tasha Taylor performing Amy Greenfield's "Spirit in the Flesh." Photo behind and projected on Taylor by and copyright Leonard Nimoy, and courtesy R. Michelson Galleries. Performance photo by and copyright Robert Haller, and courtesy Audrey Ross Publicity.

According to Greenfield, her inspiration for "Spirit in the Flesh" echoes Nimoy's for his Shekina book of photos, about which he says, "I am intrigued with scriptural mythology that tells us that God created a divine feminine presence to dwell amongst humanity. The concept has had a constant influence on my work. I have imagined her as ubiquitous, watchful, and often in motion... I am also moved by one of David's psalms: 'Thou did'st clothe thyself in light as with a garment.' And indeed, my feminine presence, or Shekhina is, to me, often aglow with an inner light of spirituality."

Amy Greenfield and co. perform Friday and Saturday at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. at the Leonard Nimoy Thalia Theater, 2537 Broadway at 95th in New York City.

For more on and of Leonard Nimoy's photos celebrating women, see also my piece on his Full Body Project.

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