"Ritual" Honors the Spiritual Power of Dancers' Daily Work

April 10, 2017

We’ve never seen anything quite like “Ritual,” an extraordinary short film by Stacey Menchel Kussell.

It’s certainly striking visually: In a beautiful, meditative montage, six dancers—Navarra Novy-Williams, Doron Perk, Makeda Roney, Xavier Townsead, Isaies Santamaria Perez and Chisato Yanagisawa—warm up, take class and rehearse. We feel the comfort and happiness they get from these familiar routines.

But the film is also set to poetry by black and Jewish spoken word artist Aaron Samuels, which adds another layer of meaning. The text muses on Samuels’ family memories of Passover, and Kussell connects those deep-rooted traditions to dancers’ own traditions.

In Kussell’s own words: ” ‘Ritual’ examines the tenacity and resilience that motivates us to keep our traditions and honor our histories, no matter our heritage or creed.”


from Stacey Menchel Kussell on Vimeo.