Improvement Club | SXSW 2013

Choreographer/Dancer/Writer/Director Dayna Hanson brings us Improvement Club – a hybrid feature film that uses dance and music to tell a story of the exhilaration and humiliation of making art in America today. When their New York gig falls through, a ragtag, avant-garde performance group with a political message struggles to find their audience– and the motivating force behind their work.   This mockumentary includes Hanson’s live, dance-driven rock musical inspired by the American Revolution, GLORIA’S CAUSE and traces the fictional creation of the actual musical and choreographed dances. Their desperate desire to express themselves takes the Seattle-based ensemble into the backwoods of the Pacific Northwest on a surreal pursuit of trust, togetherness, and the true meaning of creativity.

improvement club picture

This is a great example of life imitating art as we get a sense of what seems like an autobiographical account of Hanson’s personal struggles as an actor.  The film follows the performance group as they present their art for critics and audiences who just don’t seem to understand how Avant-garde they really are and don’t really appreciate what they are doing.

I must say as I was watching the movie I did find myself questioning what exactly I was supposed to be getting out of the movie as the narrative cleverly dissolves into some experimental dance numbers which are quite entertaining at times. Incredible direction and clever camera angles kept me engaged enough to follow the film to completion when I realized that the joke is really on us as the audience, surely the question this movie is asking us “Are we ready for this?”  I especially appreciated the fact that the score for the movie is integrated and comes from the real band playing in the movie.

Ultimately I came away with a sense of the trials and tribulations that many such performers must face on a daily basis, the constant battle between the desire to follow you H-art or get a real job that pays a decent wage.  If you are a fan of dance or alternative performance or just an alternative movie, make sure you view this one.

This is a great example of life imitating art as we get a sense of what seems like an autobiographical account of Hanson’s personal struggles as an actor.  The film follows the performance group as they present their art for critics and audiences who just don’t seem to understand how Avant-garde they really are and don’t really appreciate what they are doing.

I must say as I was watching the movie I did find myself questioning what exactly I was supposed to be getting out of the movie as the narrative cleverly dissolves into some experimental dance numbers which are quite entertaining at times. Incredible direction and clever camera angles kept me engaged enough to follow the film to completion when I realized that the joke is really on us as the audience, surely the question this movie is asking us “Are we ready for this?”  I especially appreciated the fact that the score for the movie is integrated and comes from the real band playing in the movie.

Ultimately I came away with a sense of the trials and tribulations that many such performers must face on a daily basis, the constant battle between the desire to follow you H-art or get a real job that pays a decent wage.  If you are a fan of dance or alternative performance or just an alternative movie, make sure you view this one.

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