Screendance, a conversation.
(photo: still from Circling)
The Notion Collective is looking forward to the start of the Dance on Camera Festival! Two of us worked prominently on Doug Rosenberg’s new film Circling that is being screened on Monday the 4th at 6pm. Come see it!
In light of our own screening a few months ago, Doug Rosneberg’s new book and the recent wellspring of film and video that feature movement as a central component, we attempted to delve into what makes screendance, screendance.
Andy: Does anybody have Doug’s book on hand? It would be nice to find a succinct definition of screendance for this email invite … maybe a quote from his book?
Jason: I left Doug’s book at the studio.
You could use Richard James Allen and Karen Pearlman from Physical TV in australia. They say their work is “Stories told by the body.”
But I am not convinced. This definition seems to leave behind the inscription of the body via a capture device and subsequent mediation of the body and stories via all the possibilities that a screen allows as a site. A mediation that is perhaps even required through a historical set of preconditions surrounding how any story is told via a screen.
We could split it up. Screen: computer monitor, television, projection surface on either a theater or any other surface etc… Dance: stories told by the body
Andy: This is what I have drafted:
Screendance is an emerging genre of mediated choreography focused on capturing the moving body for the screen. While dance has been captured on film from its earliest stages, “screendance” is a creative practice that moves toward a merging of dance and cinema — not a dance performance that happens to have been documented, or film/video that just happens to contain dancing, but somewhere in-between.
Michael: I just checked his book, and while he doesn’t flatly define it, he says (I’m paraphrasing) Screendance is works of dance architected with the ultimate intention of being shown on a screen. He contrasts this with mere documentation of dance, though it’s tangentially related.
Andy: Actually, I feel like the ”stories told by the body” doesn’t work, as it implies that all screendance should be narrative… (although it does have a nice ring to it)
Do you prefer the “architecting” language to what I have drafted?
Screendance is an emerging genre of mediated dance that is intended to be framed by the screen. While dance has been captured on film from its earliest stages, “screendance” is a practice that moves toward a merging of dance and cinema — not a dance performance that happens to have been documented, or film/video that just happens to contain moving bodies, but somewhere in-between.
(maybe drop “mediated”, kind of redundant)
Jason: Hmmm, there are some tricky parts to your drafted definition andy.
I agree, nix mediated.
Using “Cinema” there is a little misleading. You defined ”Cinedance” which is a subset of Screendance (along with Dance on Camera, video-dance, etc).
Also not just “in between” documentation and moving bodies.
Corporeal inscription, mediated by the screen which is a historical and physical site.
Dance Documentation is tangentially screendance since its main goal is to record a dance (thus it fits the above “corporeal inscription…). But it does so with integrity to the site the dance is physically being performed in, commonly a proscenium. Recording is done to accurately show such staging and stage direction. Screendance on the other-hand should exploit the structures that presenting a dance on a screen allows… Lack of gravity, fast and slow motion, extreme close up, extremely wide, other locations, Kuleshov notions of juxtaposition, montage and meaning.
Andy: How is “Cinedance” different than screendance? I thought it was kind of a historical synonym. Do you think it implies film as a specific media too strongly? Keep in mind I am trying to keep this definition accessible.
…jason cannot respond due to riding the subway.
Andy: I might have to just go with what I have if we want to send it this morning, as I’m not quite sure how to incorporate Jason’s notes.
Jason: Just wanted to note, that what you wrote Andy, is totally in line with the current mainstream screendance lexicon.
I think that a lot of Doug’s book is an argument about being more specific with these terms that are loosely thrown around the dance world so that a theoretical and critical discourse can frame and inspire work and ultimately pull screendance out of its perpetual adolescence.
Andy: Well, that email went out to doug so hopefully he isn’t grumbling about it…
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