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Variations on Euclid [1938]

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Film Identifier: F.2011-05-0022a
Run Time
0h 4m 24s
Date Produced
"Variations on Euclid" is a ballet choreographed by Ruth Page.  It premiered as "Expanding Universe" on November 2, 1932 at Festival Hall, Agricultural College in Fargo, North Dakota.  It re-premiered as "Variations on Euclid" on January 16, 1933 at the Loyola Community Theater in Chicago.  The ballet is part of a larger collaboration with artist Isamu Noguchi, who designed the "sac" dress at the center of the ballet and created a sculpture based on the image of Page in said dress: "Miss Expanding Universe," 1932.

This film appears to represent a 1938 recording of the ballet, though container notes on a duplicate copy suggest it may also have been filmed in 1950/1951 for submission to NBC.
The film opens with a shot of a closed curtain covered with eyeball-like abstract designs.  It opens to reveal three female dancers posed onstage, one at center wearing a "sac" and one on each side of her (the "branches"), swinging long sticks as the center dancer moves in the sac.  The backdrop is a series of variously colored rectangles.  As they all dance, four more dancers who have been lying on the ground (the "ropes") begin to flex their bodies, such that the ropes attached to them are pulled taught at angles with each other.  While the branches remain standing and manipulate their sticks, the sac dancer writhes on the ground.  The then stands and the branches dance more actively, eventually moving to stage right together while the ropes rise and begin moving as well.  The sac dancer kneels on the ground as geometric designs unfold on the bodies of those around her, with the rope dancers in particular bourréeing en pointe.  She lays down again as the branches bourrée in front of her, only to rise again and move in ways reminiscent of Noguchi's sculpture.  As she moves around more quickly, the ropes bourrée a circle and the branches bend down in place on stage left.  Then, the sac dancer joins the ropes for an ensemble dance while the branches move their sticks sharply to various angles and positions.  Soon afterwards, all strike a final pose and the curtains close.  The film fades to black and ends there.
Additional Credits
Page, Ruth (is choreographer)