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Black Magic Piano is a multimedia project that seamlessly merges music, film, and dance, disregarding convention in favor of truth. Inspired by a giant grand piano in a small studio apartment in Greenwich Village, documentary filmmaker Teddy Symes, a neophyte piano player, wrote 14 songs in the course of a single month. With the help of husband and wife duo, Doran Danoff (professional composer and musician) and Elizabeth Wilkinson (modern dancer and choreographer), Symes and company spent six long years invoking the piano’s “black magic,” piecing together a new kind of artistic medium.
Black Magic Piano has the endearing aesthetic of Once and the episodic formula of Lemonade, all in a unique multimedia package that is entirely its own. Over the course of 40 minutes, colorful overlays of NYC ephemera, impassioned Tom Waits-like ballads, and informative dance sequences guide us through a love story, unencumbered by dialogue. The film is rooted in both Symes’ own broken relationship and the unforgiving and singularly beguiling New York City art scene. En masse, Black Magic Piano is as open as the wounds and wonder that inspired it, and it’s as inviting and as beautiful as the piano that originally wrested the story.