If the Dancer Dances

2019

If the Dancer Dances

Critics Consensus

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93%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 15

93%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 14

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Movie Info

IF THE DANCER DANCES invites viewers into the intimate world of the dance studio. Stephen Petronio, one of today's leading dance-makers, is determined to help his dancers breathe new life into RainForest (1968), an iconic work by the legendary choreographer Merce Cunningham. With help from three members of the former Cunningham company, the film tracks Petronio's dancers as they strive to re-stage this great work, revealing what it takes to keep a dance -- and a legacy -- alive. Timed to coincide with Cunningham's centennial, IF THE DANCER DANCES is the first documentary on the subject of Cunningham's work since his passing in 2009.

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Critic Reviews for If the Dancer Dances

All Critics (15) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (14) | Rotten (1)

  • The film may not compare to seeing RainForest in its purest form, live and sans context, but no matter: dance nerds and visual art obsessives will find much to appreciate.

    August 16, 2019 | Full Review…
  • Modern dance devotees and fans of legendary choreographer Merce Cunningham will find much to appreciate in the lovingly crafted documentary "If the Dancer Dances."

    May 3, 2019 | Full Review…
  • Although repetitive at times and, like so many show business documentaries, displaying a tendency toward self-congratulation, the film will prove fascinating for dance buffs.

    April 25, 2019 | Full Review…
  • As Wechsler allows rehearsal scenes to play out at length, the perfectionism of dancer-to-dancer lessons becomes improbably poignant.

    April 25, 2019 | Full Review…
  • If the Dancer Dances is reminiscent of witnessing a philologist or literary translator at play, trying to get into the mindset of someone who works in a different language.

    February 25, 2020 | Full Review…
  • Director Maia Wechsler and her editor Mary Manhardt stayed on point with a difficult editing job to make this film hang together. It is almost too repititious...If you're not into dance particularly modern dance, this might not be for you.

    May 10, 2019 | Full Review…

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