58 minutes 2003
A film by Michelle Mahrer & Nicole Ma
DANCES OF ECSTASY is a sensory journey into the mesmerizing world of trance and ecstasy. Interweaving traditional and contemporary ecstatic dance rituals Australian filmmakers Michelle Mahrer and Nicole Ma’s celebrated documentary film explores how different people around the world connect with a divine power. Whirling Dervishes from Turkey, Orisha priestesses from Nigeria and Brazil, shaman healers from the Kalahari and Korea, and dancers in a Gabrielle Roth workshop in New York pulse to the same beat as thousands of young people at an all night techno dance party in an Australian forest. DANCES OF ECSTASY celebrates the universal human experience where rhythm and dance unite us. DANCES OF ECSTASY is an innovative documentary blending exciting dance rituals, evocative imagery, interviews, and a spellbinding global music soundtrack. The film is an inspiration to dance, and to reconnect with a sense of the sacred that many have lost touch with in modern life.
Australia :- USD$16.95 plus USD$5.00 postage
New Zealand :- USD$16.95 plus USD$7.00 postage
Europe & USA :- USD$16.95 plus USD$10.00 postage
DANCES OF ECSTASY DVD is an extended 2 DVD Set ( 240 minutes total) and includes a 25 page booklet.
DVD 1 features the one hour documentary, the complete Sufi Zikir Ceremony and personal in depth documentaries about each of the rituals – including San of the Kalahari Namibia, Orisha ceremony Nigeria, Candomble Ritual Brazil, and Kut Ritual Korea.
DVD 2 includes ’THE POWER WAVE” led by Gabrielle Roth and 80 minutes of global grooves dance music with leading artists such as Cheb i Sabbah, One Giant Leap, James Asher, Banco do Gaia, Bob Holroyd and others accompanied with visuals by D-Fuse.
Best Documentary – Hollywood Spiritual Film Festival
“Dances of Ecstasy is enthralling in its evocation of a mental and physical release that most of us long for ” – The Age Australian
“Rich imagery, gorgeous music and velvety narration make for an unparallelled sensory experience” – Citybeat Los Angeles USA
“A truly awesome documentary” – Phenomena’s USA
“The film provides an insider look into seldom seen rituals. It makes for a compelling ride that replicates the flow and force of the experiences it documents” – LA Weekly
“The rhythm gets to you and the superb editing sucks you in. Fascinating” – Melbourne Weekly Magazine
2002 30 minutes
Spider, an Aboriginal elder, returns with his family to the Great Sandy Desert of Western Australia, to visit the sacred waterhole where he communicates with his ancestors through Kurtal – the Snake Spirit. This poetic documentary provides a rare and moving insight into the ceremonies and practices of a resilient Aboriginal community intent on maintaining it’s strong cultural and spiritual links with the past.
Directors: Nicole Ma & Michelle Mahrer
Producer/Writer: Nicole Ma
Cinematography: Warwick Thornton, Michelle Mahrer & Cameron McGrath
ABC Exec Producer: Richard Moore
Produced with the assistance of the Australia Council for the Arts, ABC TV, Australian Film Commission, Film Victoria, Screenwest and the Lotteries Commission of Western Australia and financed with the assistance of ATSIC through Mangkaja Arts Resource Agency Aboriginal Corporation.
2001 55 minutes
The Three Ballerinas is a one hour performance documentary that celebrates the lives of three of Australia’s greatest ballerinas – Lucette Aldous, Marilyn Rowe and Marilyn Jones. All three of these remarkable dancers were prima ballerinas in the 1970s during the golden years of The Australian Ballet when Peggy Van Pragh was artistic director.
Aldous, Jones and Rowe are still very active in the Australian dance community as teachers with Lucette Aldous and Marilyn Jones both teachers at the West Australian Performing Arts Academy and Marilyn Rowe head of the Australian Ballet school. They each talk openly about their ballet careers, featured roles, favourite partners, self doubt and physical pain to produce a candid picture of the world that ballerinas inhabit.
The program features dance sequences drawn from the archives of The Australian Ballet , ABC TV and from home movies shot by members of the ballet. Some of these include Lucette Aldous dancing with Rudolf Nureyev in Don Quixote; Marilyn Rowe in Swan Lake and Romeo and Juliet and Marilyn Jones in Lady and the Fool and School for Ballet.
Award winning film maker Michelle Mahrer has created a highly textured filmic experience using the creative tools of post production to integrate archival material, interviews and poetic images. The film resonates with emotional power and brings alive the passion for dance.
Director/ Producer: Michelle Mahrer .
Executive Producer: Richard Moore ABC TV.
1995 55 minutes
A portrait of innovative Australian choreographer Meryl Tankard, formally artistic director of the Meryl Tankard Dance Theatre, which explores her early life and works. We see how she has developed her own unique style, integrating dance, theatre, voice, imagery and music.
Director/Writer: Michelle Mahrer
Producer: Don Featherstone, ABC TV
Cinematographer: Kim Batterham
Editor: Emma Hay
1998 55 minutes
URBAN CLAN is a portrait of the Page brothers – Stephen, David and Russell; how they grew up as urban Aboriginals, developed as individual artists, and came together to form the creative core of the Bangarra Dance Theatre, one of Australia’s most exciting and internationally acclaimed contemporary dance companies.
The film features extracts from the Bangarra Dance Theatre’s production of Fish, which unfolds through rehearsal and performance. It blends cinema verite scenes with beautifully crafted cinematically conceived performance sequences that are staged for the camera. Through the choreographed works we see how Bangarra Dance Theatre has developed a distinctive vocabulary that fuses the essence of their traditional heritage with contemporary experience.
Director/Writer: Michelle Mahrer
Producer: MusicArtsDance Films – Kevin Lucas, Aanya Whitehead, Paul Humfress
Cinematography: Jane Castle
Editing: Emma Hay
ABCTV; BBC (U.K.); FFC: RONIN (Australia); /RD Studio (France + ROW)
In dedication to Russell Page who passed away in 2002. In loving and respectful memory of an extraordinary artist who was one of Australia’s most important dancers.