Dance on Camera Festival
Posted 18 January 2003 - 08:39 PM
I caught two of the six internationally flavored programs: the "American Moderns" program, which highlighted the works of Molissa Fenley, Sean Curran, and Elizabeth Streb, and the "Stravinsky/Balanchine," of which more in a moment.
The Fenley and Curran films offered illuminating (if conventional) insights into the creation of dance. Streb, on the other hand, is very articulate and offers a wide-ranging rap on the nature of dance, the role of women, and on and on. We also get to meet the dancers willing to take on her very risky manoeuvers. For what it's worth, no one in her company has suffered a serious injury, perhaps due to the intense physical discipline she imposes on her dancers.
The much balley-hooed Balanchine/Stravinsky film proved to be a major disappointment. It is, essentially, a detailed scholarly monograph, written by Stephanie Jordan, and published on video.
Jordan offers a lot of interesting insights, but they are buried in a deep, deep bed of boring theory. When even the dancers she has engaged to demonstarte her points look sleepy, you know she has gone over the line.
The primary focus is certainly important: the shifting and often amazing uses of rhythm by Blanchine and Stravinsky. But after the 7th or 8th demonstration of polyrhythm in Agon, especially the contrast between music and dance counts, I got the message and didn't need anothr 15 or 20 demos fo the same points....
Posted 19 January 2003 - 02:48 PM
Posted 23 January 2003 - 05:56 AM
Posted 23 January 2003 - 10:34 PM
Even more interesting is the chance to record the same movement from several perspectives at once. The viewer can choose a point of view, go back and forth, switch point of view at will, and analyze every move. In practice, this would mean that a battery of digital cameras would record the same performance; software would integrate the different views on a single disc. This is not pie-in-the-sky, by the way; the technology exists today.
Clearly, this would be vastly superior to the "archival" tapes most ballet companies depend on, which are usually recorded by a single camera in the back of an autorium or in a rehearsal studio -- tapes that require the additional interpretation of a dancer with first-hand knowledge of a work to re-create key details. A well-planned DVD recording could be at least as useful to future Balanchine dancers as written scores are today's Mozart musicians. And digital discs outlast tapes by decades.
I hate to see this discussion close on a negative note, since the future of dance film and dance video is very exciting indeed.
Posted 29 January 2003 - 11:18 PM
Also thoroughly enjoyed "The World Turned Upside Down". The dogs were the dancers, the people the set. Talk about technique!
"Guguletu Ballet" was awe inspiring.... not perhaps in the technique of the dancers but in how ballet thrives in some of the least likely places. A study of inspiration perhaps. It was the first time I've ever enjoyed the performance of the traditional "chinese" section of Nutcracker.
Was it "Minou" or "Sancesse" that happened in the girl's apartment with all the animation, etc.? I've lost track now... but I did find it very imaginative, more ideas packed in to it than most things that length. Very enjoyable & recommended.
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