REVIEW: E T A (2018)

Directed by: Talia Shea Levin

WRITTEN BY JESSICA PEÑA

Talia Shea Levin’s latest project E T A celebrates community and identity as one woman (Alexis Floyd) combats the need to isolate herself at a bus stop and instead begins to reach out to those around her. Through song and dance, the short video creates an all too real narrative of feeling alone in a crowded space, not feeling like you’re enough for the mold society creates, and even that lingering self doubt. Like breaking the glass ceiling of social confines, our leading gal opens herself up to the community, segueing into a gracefully choreographed dance that represents the power and potential of individuality, and even the strength of women working together.  

This is the second dance narrative film collaboration between Levin and Floyd, having teamed up previously on an unofficial music video project for Alabama Shakes’ song “Gimme All Your Love,” a video that’s garnered over 36 thousand views on Vimeo. Alexis Floyd, who’s so masterful at inviting the camera to her choreography, is full of life and wonder in her performance work. Here in Levin’s non-traditional short, performance art takes soul by the hand and guides us to a divine sense of belonging, to yourself and to the little parts that make you who you are. The rich choreography, combined with facets of film and even an originally composed song (“Enough,” by performer/actress Alexis Floyd), creates a blossoming turn of events for Floyd’s character, a woman who is fighting the urge to remain isolated and instead uses that energy to invite positivity.

E T A’s supporting cast of dancers fill the room, twirling, leaping, and welcoming the change of pace. The community that forms onscreen and in our hearts is both a testament to Levin’s narrative guidance and Floyd’s charismatic, felt performance. It makes a viewer reach within themselves and take flight. The result is a self-satisfaction like nothing else, reminding us that we can take the simplest of risks and be heard, something that may otherwise seem insurmountable to some. When we decide to open our hearts and battle isolation and choose a collective support system, miraculous things can happen. What’s communicated in Levin’s project is reinvigorating. It’s a collaborative ensemble of dancers, musicians, and filmmakers all coming together to create. Much like its production, the finished product is a unique collection, merging dance, sound, and film for big causes. It marches on like a creative protest against division and even doubt, the veiled force against us all.    

E T A is a form of unity, confidence, and empowerment. Talia Shea Levin embraces many arts to tell us a condensed moment of time we all come to grips with and it works on the soul. Wonderfully edited and paced, the short bounces off the screen and interacts with you, as lush as its message. Not only will its original track have you humming all day, but it’s a constant reminder to never sell yourself short or doubt your worth, and that’s a message art can never ignore.

Jessica’s Verdict

4

You can find out more about the film, and watch it, here

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