Thursday, November 15, 2007

Dance for the Camera or Cine Dance

In this post I will be talking about the diverse genre of dance for the camera also called cine dance, video dance and screen dance, as well as covering some of the history of the art form. Dance for the camera is movement-based work that is conceived and choreographed for viewing that exists as a work in its own right. I am using the term dance for camera as an overarching term to describe this relatively new art form that fuses avant-garde approaches to dance making with technological innovation.

Dance for the camera can be based on already existing live dance works, but the work will often have gone through a complete re-working to create work unique to the screen, where dance and film/video are both integral to a work. This separates dance for camera from archival records of stage or site-specific dance compositions. The inclusion of the camera, the process of editing, the collaboration between the cinematographer and choreographer adds to a dance, so that it becomes work that could only be realized in this way.

Still and moving images of dance can be profound, and timeless. A dance filmmaker can incorporate the imagination of the dancer, which can restore that dimension lost in filming dance. Dance on film can expand one's understanding of dance as a metaphor. For example, instead of seeing only moving bodies, films can emphasize the dance of nature or the rhythms of emotions. Ideally the viewer is led into a world directed by poetic and abstract thinking.

Up until recently the idea of dance for the camera was not widely spread or even taught much in schools, even though dancers, choreographers and filmmakers have been filming works for well over a century. Visually, when dance was filmed, it was taken linearly and viewed and thought of as how the video and camera related to dance on the stage. However, the camera can look at movement from any point of view, through the camera eye, dance is not limited to the stage in a formal sense. The audience doesn't have to watch the work from the classic audience perspective. Instead, it can see a whole new aspect of dance, thanks to editing and splicing. For me, it's about an expression of two different ways to convey an idea and how those ways can come together. Not only do I feel dance for the camera is a study of the dancers' movements, but also a study of how the camera moves to capture the subject, to make a piece that stands on its own.

No comments: