Welcome to a selection of our short films. These are generally films under 10 minutes in duration. In this collection you will see films made by the Ballet Black company and also films that we think are important that have been created by former company dancers and friends.

"Burn from the Inside" is not your typical narrative work. It delves into the exploration of music and its origins, examining why we have an innate desire to dance or move when we hear music, sound, or voices. It seeks to understand the essence of what triggers our movements and the emotional responses evoked by music - Mthuthuzeli November The profound question arises: why do certain things compel us to jump up and dance, while others make us want to sit back and do the opposite? The most significant realisation in this exploration is that from the very beginning, we were destined to be moved by sounds. Consider the musicality present in the way we speak. Every language has its own unique cadence and rhythm. For instance, the Khoi people of South Africa employ clicking sounds in their speech, creating a rhythmic quality. Even before externalising it, our own bodies possess inherent musicality. We can observe this in the heartbeat and even in the rhythm of our walking. These natural rhythms can transform into music, affirming that our inclination to move has been woven into the fabric of our existence since the dawn of creation. Reflecting on personal experiences, a childhood memory emerges from the Eastern Cape. Gathered inside a hut, family members would chant while a fire crackled in the sand. The ambiance created by this ritualistic chanting became a favourite lullaby, transporting the young narrator to a state of pure tranquility. In that space, devoid of pain, sadness, or happiness, they found a place of profound stillness. The intention was to preserve the sense of communal togetherness experienced around the fire, a shared moment of deep connection. In creating "Burn from the Inside" Mthuthuzeli sought to capture this communal feeling through the film's unique approach. By immersing oneself in the collective experience, viewers have the opportunity to delve into individual journeys and explore the expansiveness of the depicted space. The film aims to evoke a trance-like state, reminiscent of the personal experiences of the creator. The focus shifts from visual imagery to capturing the essence of being in a trance. It becomes an exploration of what it feels like to exist in a space where time and space lose their boundaries, and the driving beat becomes the guiding force. In this boundless expanse, one may question the vastness or confinement of their surroundings and the proximity of others. Solos are portrayed with individuals appearing distant yet close, creating an otherworldly sensation of unity while simultaneously keeping a distance. The concept of being grounded on Earth while simultaneously transcending it becomes a central theme. It mirrors the imagined realm of an ancestral plane or a space between reality and the afterlife. If one were to encounter their ancestors, it is envisioned as a place that is unfamiliar, yet still connected to Earth. This in-between world, neither fully alive nor dead, allows communication with one's ancestors. Such a trance-like state embodies a similar feeling—a sense of being aware of one's earthly existence while simultaneously occupying a realm that defies explanation. Despite feeling the ground beneath their feet, the soil and dust, and hearing their breathing, there exists a profound sense of existing in an entirely different dimension. About The Music In his exploration of music, Mthuthuzeli drew inspiration from African dance, recognising the profound impact of percussion and voice in transporting people beyond their ordinary experiences. This ignited his aspiration to create music that could elevate listeners to a different realm, where they could immerse themselves in the rhythm and transcend the boundaries of their surroundings. The essence of this transformative experience lay in the rhythmic breathing and pulsating heartbeat, evoking something deeply personal yet universally shared. Moreover, Mthuthuzeli found inspiration in the communal nature of music, symbolised by gathering around a fire, where stories and melodies were shared. Despite the individual interpretations of the sounds, all participants were transported to a place beyond themselves, blending their unique experiences with a sense of unity and belonging. Throughout the creative process, Mthuthuzeli realised the pivotal interplay between making music in real-time and responding to it. This symbiotic relationship became integral as the music guided the dancers, while simultaneously being influenced by their movements. Initially, the music was mere potential, with only the tempo and a few sounds providing a foundation for the choreography. In a dynamic and evolving exchange, the dance began to shape the music, blurring the boundaries between the two art forms. Taking a step back from the project enabled Mthuthuzeli to grasp the unique narratives conveyed by the dancers. It became a captivating exploration of how the music could enrich and harmonise with their stories. In this transformative process, the dance seamlessly intertwined with the music, resulting in a profound fusion where the music adapted organically to the dancers' expressions and movements. The artistic collaboration transcended individual roles, creating a powerful and unified experience where the boundaries between dance and music dissolved, giving rise to a harmonious relationship.
This film is dedicated to the inspirational Filipino fashion designer, Jeffrey Rogador. My love. He and I would talk at our table about art, dance, fashion, and of course, love. His clothes were for everyone and this dance is for everyone. Jeffrey Rogador (1978-2020)
2021All ages Free To Watch ,

Like Water

LIKE WATER acknowledges the resilience of our ancestors, passed down from generation to generation. A world unkind to our people, yet somehow we survive. A world that that has conditioned us to not see the beauty of our skin, hair, culture and our people. But like water we flow, like water we change shape. We remain resilient.

"For Those Who Struggle With Life." - A collaboration between founding Ballet Black dancer & actor Jake Nwogu and Filmmaker & Director Dan Lowenstein, with Music by Mad EP

During a difficult period of my life, I had a series of panic attacks, to a point that my body shook uncontrollably. Sometimes I was so broken that I couldn't focus my mind, and other times my mind worked but the shaking continued. I asked Film Maker Daniel Lowenstein to capture one of these episodes.

The symptoms in this film are genuine and I continued to shake between takes. However, I managed to use the shaking to inform some of the movement.

With the awful moments comes amazing life lessons.
Therefore life is always amazing, even if it doesn't seem to be at the time. - Jake Nwogu

Directed, Shot & Cut by Dan Lowenstein - Film Director http://www.danlowenstein.com/
Music by Mad EP https://soundcloud.com/mad-ep
“Mute” – written and directed by Mark Donne Segment piece from wider film installation “Listening With Frontiersman” commissioned by Estuary Festival. Directors note: The piece looks slightly “warped” on a flat screen as it was shot anamorphically and projected in vast scale with an anamorphic projector (to the curve of the ancient Fort wall) for impact. ‘Sound On’ to listen to the ambient sounds of the estuary and Cira’s movement. Written and Directed: Mark Donne DOP: Mark Nutkins Samples: Thom Yorke Sound Recordist & Design: Jim Carey Connell/Inventive Audio Editor: Joe Morris Dancer: Cira Robinson “The series was really about the nebulous idea of borders and zones, and the less than nebulous execution of the rules relating to them by those who get to apply them. Watching “Mute” again after some time, now in lockdown, I yearn, first and foremost, for the space, seascape, solitude and sheer purpose and beauty of each of Cira’s expressions and movements. Secondly, what travels is the theme of peril and danger, and the total (thematic) contrast of fleeing home to save your life, with staying at home for the same purpose. Viewed like that, our current sacrifice seems reduced? And thirdly, the defiance and resilience of Cira performing in silence, on a treacherous waterway, with a tide incoming, directly in front of a live missile testing range! There’s something in that resilience and defiance we might apply when facing this horrible, microscopic murdering pathogen” – Mark Donne Read more about Marks piece through his narrative ‘A Modern Water Story’ #BalletBlack #BBonFilm #BBMute

Showing all 5 results