ALIVE & KICKING
(director/writer: Susan Glatzer; screenwriter: Heidi Zimmerman; cinematographer: John MacDonald; editor: Nick Andert/Heidi Zimmerman; music: Steven Argila; cast: Emelie DecaVita, Rebecka DecaVita, Stephen Sayer, Chandrae (Chanzie) Roettig, Evita Arce; Runtime: 88; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Susan Glatzer; Magnolia Pictures; 2016)
“The dancers do the talking rather than any fancy filmmaking.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
An upbeat documentary about swing music created in America during the Great Depression. It’s joyously directed and written by the film executive turned filmmaker Susan Glatzer, in her first effort. The dancers do the talking rather than any fancy filmmaking.
Swing was dormant until the 1980s VHS boom that introduced youngsters to old dance films such as Swing Kids and Swingers, as the director explores the emergence of Swing and of the Lindy Hop as international crazes.
The film captures the fun the dancers have for swing and also portray it as an art form.
Of all the dancers, the DecaVita sisters from Sweden, professional therapists, best caught my eye on the dance floor.
Using film of dance concerts and of archival and recent interview footage of the late Frankie Manning, who helped originate the art form at the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem, the pleasant film educated me about a form of music I mostly took for granted all my life without knowing much about its roots. Ms. Glatzer, a devotee of Swing, advocates it as a cure-all for loneliness and as a way to keep forever young.
REVIEWED ON 11/13/2017 GRADE: B-