Stating the obvious, the Covid-19 pandemic has drastically effected everyone and among the arts, dance has arguably suffered the most because it is such a physical contact art form. Many dance artists have continued to create, however, via film, video, Zoom, and Instagram and Facebook Live. Judith FLEX Helle is one such dance artist. Judith FLEX Helle has performed and choreographed around the world and is the Managing and Artistic Director of Luminario Ballet, a Los Angeles-based contemporary ballet company which also presents classic modern dance repertory and aerial dance.
On May 3, 2021, Luminario Ballet will premiere L’INVALIDE, a short dance film choreographed and directed by Judith FLEX Helle. The premiere, which can be viewed on the Luminario Ballet website, is free and open to all. Viewers may arrange to be notified and/or reminded in advance by signing up on the same website. The film is the first film that Judith FLEX Helle has directed, and it will be submitted to dance film festivals in 2021 and 2022.
L’INVALIDE, produced by Judith FLEX Helle, Allen Walls, and Luminario Ballet, is “Alice in Wonderland meets Dracula meets the ghosts from Giselle, the Wilis. It’s a ballet, a story, a music video (three songs, actually!), and a dream (a nightmare? a fantasy?), all rolled into one wild trippy twelve minute dance film (Luminario Ballet press release)”. The music in L’INVALIDE includes “Black Rabbit” by Prince Fatty and Shniece; “Angelica in Delerium” by G.O.L.; and “I Lie” by David Lang. The dancers in the film are Shannon Beach, Sadie Black, Jasmine Perry, Alexander Stabler, Miguel Reyes Santiago.
It is best to let Luminario speak for itself:
The fevered covid dream story of L’INVALIDE: Our darling invalid, Juliette, is at the hospital, where she is being treated for her desperate illness. She is forced by her parents and the medical staff to take experimental medications, they hope it will cure her; and the side effects cause her to hallucinate wildly, and slip into a coma. While unconscious, she dreams vividly of being menaced by sensual vampires, who then devour her. Alas, during her vampire coma dream, she dies. She returns as a ghost, surrounded by other, helpful and loving ghosts, who although they themselves are trapped in an endless loop of haunting between worlds, help her ascend to the heavens, where she will be at peace.
Judith FLEX Helle says that L’INVALIDE is a semi-autobiographical story taken from her soon to be published memoir, “Wild Animals I Have Known” which is in its second draft. The memoir describes her “odd, sickly New England childhood, wacky adventures at her SF art school, hobnobbing with London’s aristos, becoming a professional dancer/trapeze artist in Germany”.
Luminario stated that the film closely adhered to the LA City Film and TV Covid Compliance Regulations, which include having a Covid compliance officer on staff during the entire pre-production, rehearsal, and production. In spite of these precautions, however, five members out of the 25 cast and crew had to be replaced due to Covid sickness, positive tests, or close contact.
What: L’INVALIDE – A film choreographed and directed by Judith FLEX Helle.
When: Premieres FREE on May 3, 2021
Where: Online at the Luminario Ballet website.
- Viewers may arrange to be notified and/or reminded in advance by signing up HERE.
To learn more about Judith FLEX Helle and Luminario Ballet, click HERE.
Written by Jeff Slayton for LA Dance Chronicle.
Featured image: Luminario Ballet’s L’Invalide – Photo by Ted Soqui