To watch Grace Fury is to watch love and joy, meditation and celebration all worn upon the physical being of Laura Carruthers, a magnificent tour-de-force who is a six-time national champion and world-ranked Scottish Highland dancer, a former member of Ballet Arizona, and, in case that wasn't enough, an award-winning filmmaker whose portrayals of dance are both intricate and accessible to mainstream audiences. Grace Fury is her latest film, an autobiographical journey through dance, imagery, spoken word and the power of presence that redefines everything you've ever expected dance to be in a documentary that is more appropriately termed by Carruthers as a dance-umentary.
Grace Fury is just getting started on its festival run and it has already picked up several award nominations at the Glendale International Film Festival along with screenings at the San Francisco International New Concept Film Festival, the World Music and Independent Film Festival, the LA Underground Film Forum, the World Music and Independent Film Festival, the International Women's Film Festival and there's simply no doubt that there's more on the way.
Grace Fury is mesmerizing practically from frame one, weaving into its tapestry full stage performances, behind-the-scenes footage, and the most wondrous hybrid of Scottish Highland dancing with ballet, a weaving together that is impossibly infectious and yet simultaneously meditative in presentation. Carruthers wrote, produced, choreographed, directed and stars in the melding together of these two dance forms with accompanying narrative, movement and performance. The multimedia video release blends classical, contemporary and Celtic choreography with the original works of composers Fritz Doddy of ELIAS Arts, John Allan, the Scottish supergroup, Capercaillie, and Eric Rigler/Bad Haggis.
While it may seem like a footless paraplegic who primarily utilizes a wheelchair wouldn't be the prime target audience for a work such as Grace Fury, the simple truth is that the film left me speechless and in awe of Carruthers' artistry and wonder, radiated joy and magnificent discipline. The dance that unfolds on the screen demands maximum skill and technique I could never and would never begin to imagine, yet this marvelous film had me swaying to its rhythms and caught squarely within the vibration of dance and life that Carruthers created.
Grace Fury is the type of film that leaves you ready to watch it again while rushing to the internet to find out everything you can about Carruthers, whose ability to weave together all these artistic disciplines into a cohesive whole is nothing short of miraculous and impossible to forget.
Thought provoking and freeing, immensely entertaining and trailblazing, Grace Fury is an absolute must see for connoisseurs of the arts and unique, compelling artistic expressions. It's a film I just watched...and it's a film that I immediately sat down to watch it again.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic