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The Equus Projects dancers Audrey Stanley (left), Jenna Pollack and Tal Adler in Elizabeth, Colorado, shooting a dance film, Earth Poem (2015). Photo by Andi Parmelee, courtesy of Shaw

A group of dancers, clad in long maroon dresses and armed with garden rakes, are scattered over a gentle hill. Suddenly—clearly visible despite the camera's considerable distance—two white horses appear on the hilltop. The dancers stand stock still, as if frozen in time, as a man and woman carefully lead the majestic beasts around and among the motionless dancers in a twisting pattern. At the bottom of the hill, more dancers enter a horse pen, kicking up dirt and darting in front of and around three chestnut horses, close enough to touch their muzzles and swishing tails. Soon the dancers sprint in a circle, occasionally diving and sliding to the dirt, with the horses at a fast clip behind them. It's a game both playful and perilous. One dancer stays on the ground, rolling, spiraling and twisting in the dirt, as the 1,500-pound equines gallop ever faster toward him. At the last second, the horses halt, just inches from crushing him beneath their hooves. It's a dangerous, exhilarating and magical spectacle.

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