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Capturing Dance - Research and development.

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Lisa Chapman

on 30 September 2014

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Transcript of Capturing Dance - Research and development.

Dance Film/ Dance for camera/ video dance – PLEASE NOTE that this form of dance making is referred to by many different titles, depending on era and author.
The work that attached to my first presentation, Edouard Locke’s LALALA Human Steps, Human Sex Duo no1. (1985) Is a dance film.

As are recognizable works such as;
Enter Achilles (Newson, 1995)
Cunninghams Beach Bird for Camera
De Keersmeakers Rosas Danst Rosas

The list goes on…

A film of a performance is like a photograph of a painting, both reflect the thing they reproduce but remain nevertheless their own object, separate from the object they record and providing only a specific and restricted experience of the original.
Burrows: 2010 p198
There are many different theories surrounding what ‘happens’ to dance once it has been captured on film. As outlined by Burrows above, the original dance and the filmed dance exist as separate forms. This is a very large, complex (and juicy!) subject that we will be discussing in detail in theory lectures, but in short, documented dance film is something that you already practice and are well aware of.

All you have to do is watch back a technique class or choreography workshop that you have filmed or, more notably a performance or other dances that you have uploaded on YouTube (Skyline dancers you are a great example of this) and you can understand the purpose of why the work has been captured; as archive, as aid memoire, as assessment evidence; basically to document the work, continue its existence and open it to an(other) virtual? audience.
Where to begin...
There are many things to consider when starting a dance film project and while there is a temptation to grab a camera, or camera phone and start shooting, it is imperative that you research first, (especially when working collaboratively) in order to shape the type of work that you and your group want to make.

It is important, therefore that we first place video dance/ screen dance/ dance film in context and explore its history and purpose a little so that you understand the differences in form before making your work.
Artists works
From Cindy Sherman's Film Stills series to Linder's collage works, to Sandro Giordano's set-ups, there are many ways that artist have explored capturing (and representing) the female, still image.

Treatment - How and what to write.
As I stated in my first presentation, the concept of the treatment is to help you to articulate what it is that you intend to make for your dance film.

Please note that you will not be penalized if your work changes from what you envision in the treatment, however you should aim to follow your vision as far as possible before taking a new route.

The aim of the treatment is also to encourage you to be decisive with your ideas. Therefore here's a checklist to help you:

To be included:

1. A CONISE explanation of the core of your idea
2. A description of the look and atmosphere of the work
3. An idea of the structure of the video dance
4. The proposed length of the work (no less than 3 minutes will be accepted in assessment).
5. A description of the soundtrack
6. Names of collaborators

Mcpherson: 2006 p18
This presentation includes:

•Types and forms of dance films - documentation, dance film /dance for camera /dance on screen.
•Artists works - noting the differences for the use of camera when capturing.
•Treatment - How and what to write.

Capturing Dance - Research and Development.
Dance film for documentation purposes
The final product that you create for your dance film will not be a presented
in a documented form, however, you may well choose to document the
making of your dance film, (film yourselves, filming the dance) so that you can receive feedback from lecturers and learn to watch the work that you
are producing with a more objective eye.
Working collaboratively, both with each other will give you plenty of opportunity to stand back and watch the work unfold. Filming
what you see as it progresses will provide you with a tool
to reflect and feedback on the progress of the work to the dancers in front of the camera and to the camera person.
This way of working -
documenting as you go along
, will also help you to establish roles, and ensure that
you work intrinsically as a duo.
Furthermore, by stepping out to document the work and provide an ‘outside eye’, you will be applying a choreographic technique – The Triadic Perspective. Again, this is something that you already practice and you will be able to draw upon your recent ‘Choreography’ module to re-establish how you do this.
As outlined by Preston-Dunlop (2002) the triadic perspective promotes ‘different modes of engaging with dance’ (2002: p12). In short, Preston-Dunlop challenges the traditional method of making dance; choreographers making, dancers moving, audience watching or ‘appreciating’, through the triadic perspective, and explains a merging of all three roles is necessary for successful, contemporary, dance works.

Therefore, before creating your dance film, please ensure that you are each prepared to work as choreographer, dancer, spectator/ documenter, as this is the only way you will be able to understand the direction that your work is taking.
While budget, time and fashion may dictate what themes are explored in these listed works, (which in turn informed and contributed to the movements - for example the gymnastic style of Louise Lecavlier became fashion in the 1980’s, and was central theme to Locke’s choreography) the essence of each of these works is

that they were made for the camera.

Another version of these works may exist for the stage, but
essentially the works that we view, are exactly as the choreographer or director intended for you to see.
It is important to note at this point that the large - scale production of dance films such as these will not be able to
be created in
the time frame or the budget that
you have, however, you may want to look at how the listed dance films have been
practically captured - (e.g. use of long shots, opposed to close ups) to help influence your work.
Unlike in the theatre, in video dance there is no ‘front’ from where the audience
will view the work. The camera represents the viewer’s eyes and…
the camera can move anywhere in relation to the dance.

Mcpherson: 2006 p12
In the first minute of the duet the we can see that the camera develops a toing and froing relationship with the dancers - its role appears to be to follow, keep up and pre-ept the dancers’ next throw, lift, pull or push. The camera acts as the viewers eye – attempting to fathom the many complex structures that are unfolding in the introduction of the duet.
However, while this way of capturing the dance directs the viewer to the physicality dancers, predominately through long shots and changed angles, there are other features of the duet that Locke is suggesting to us throughout this work. Choice of costume, sound and space all help us to reflect on the type of relationship presented here and while the dance film provokes the sexual nature of the couple, it also questions who has the power/ dominance in the relationship.
In your opinion is the power displaced or is it equal?
Notably the relationship created between Louise Lecavlier and the camera first at 2.25, and again later, suggests that we, as viewers are privy to her feelings towards her partner, but he never looks/ suggests/ comments to the camera - why do you think this is?
Therefore we can establish that Locke’s focus was to draw the viewer to Lecavlier, to share her experience, to be influenced by her role in the relationship.

Are we then manipulated through the film to develop a relationship with Lecavlier?

Is this what Mcpherson is referencing? What do you think?
Infante c'est Destroy
, a work presented on stage, but containing film, captures the physicality of the dancers in a different way. Through slow motion and repetition the type of physicality that we see in this work is very different to Duo 1. we, as audience are directed to the tactile nuances of the body and through the movement of the hair, the slow motion barrel roll into the fall to the floor and the closeness of the camera, are forced to become aware of the use of the body, the weight, the suspension – the gravity. This is all the more plain to see when, at the end of the clip, we see that the live dancers are present on the stage.

Watch this clip and consider…
What is it that the camera can show us that the live body can not?
While the majority of Duo 1 is shot from afar and editing of the dancers movements has been refined to the choice of shot, it is worth noting the differences between this work and another Locke work containing Lecavlier.
Infante c'est Destroy
Dance film is a genre therefore, that draws the eye and forces perspective, but when considering your given title;
'fashioning fiction; the facade of the selfie'
, what are the ways and means that you should be researching, what is it that you should be looking for and how will this inspire your work?
Untitled Film Stills is a series of sixty-nine black-and-white photographs made between 1977 and 1980. In them Sherman appears as fictitious characters in scenarios resembling moments in a film. She used vintage clothing, wigs and makeup to create a range of female personae which she then photographed in apparently solitary, unguarded moments of reflection, undress, or in conversation with somebody off-set and outside of the frame. The ‘stills’ are set in a variety of interior locations as well as outside in urban and rural landscapes.
Manchester, E (2001) Tate Online
Take a moment to consider the quote by Mcpherson.(You may want to go back to re-read).

This is the magic of video dance or dance film.

It is the one opportunity for you to have much more influence
and direction over what your audience will be looking at, and when.

If we look at the Duo 1 again now for a moment here, we can fully understand and appreciate what it is that Mcpherson is saying

In college I began to collect a lot of discarded accoutrements from the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, more for my own personal wardrobe as well as for the sheer fascination with what those garments stood for. It was easy and cheap to collect all kinds of things in those days. I’ve always played with make-up to transform myself, but everything, including the lighting, was self taught. I just learned things as I needed to use them. I absorbed my ideas for the women in these photos from every cultural source that I’ve ever had access to, including film, TV, advertisements, magazines, as well as any adult role models from my youth. The resulting photo shoots were very brief. In those naïve days, I would sometimes take only about six shots for one scene and move on to the next, so that with one roll of film I could have six different set-ups.
(Quoted in Contemporary Art: The Janet Wolfson de Botton Gift, p.99.)
Cindy Sherman
Peter Lindberg
If you are really struggling with how to write your treatment, why not try and a practice 200 word one, using the photograph attached as inspiration and share with your group?

Happy writing.

Sandro Giordano - In Extremis, Bodies with no regret
Consider how these images provoke questions regarding the timing of when events have occurred...
Everywhere at once...
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