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 Post subject: Controversial: dance and other media
PostPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2002 5:45 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 05, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 38
Location: London, UK
Following on from Stuart's post regarding dance and technology, I was interested in hearing other people's opinions on how well dance translates across to other media.<P>I have to say, that whilst I find it useful to watch rare performances on video, I do not think that dance works well on film. <P>In general, performances are not choreographed for film, and rather like a film of a stage play, they fail to engage the film audience sufficiently. A lot of the artistry is lost and the result can be alienating.<P>Also, rather like watching tennis on the TV, the sheer virtuosity, speed, and skill of the performers can not be captured by (in the case of, for instance, ROH performances) a largely static camera. <P>Whilst, I do not doubt that new media, particularly film, may play a role in reaching new audiences for dance, I think that care needs to be taken with it. I sometimes find myself gritting my teeth through some video performances: and I LOVE dance. I really fear that if sufficient care is not taken to ensure that suitable dance pieces are captured in sophisticated and engaging ways, then we risk putting off potential audiences rather than encouraging them into watching dance. <P>What does everyone else think?


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 Post subject: Re: Controversial: dance and other media
PostPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2002 8:13 pm 
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Joined: Wed Dec 27, 2000 12:01 am
Posts: 921
Location: US
Thanks for your comments MariaR. Before I write my comments I 'd like to clarify something: are you speaking soley of performance caputred on video (i.e. a documentary recording) or are you speaking of dance on film in general (video dance included-projects specifically created for the camera)?


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 Post subject: Re: Controversial: dance and other media
PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2002 1:18 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 05, 2002 12:01 am
Posts: 38
Location: London, UK
Misa, I did make a distinction between work choreographed for film and those that are not. <P>Dance choreographed for film, and captured by an expert cameraman can be engaging, but I still think that some of the sheer force of a dance performance is lost through the film medium even in these circumstances. <P>Obviously it can be substantially more effective than documentary films both in terms of bringing new and diverse audiences, and in terms of artistic merit.<P>I was just wondering what other people thought, and whether they had ideas out there of how to overcome some of the difficulties that filming dance creates.<P>Also, other media: I mean, how well do you think dance translates to the written word or photography/painting for instance? Do you think it can be captured in this way, or is the essence of dance so strongly connected to movement that it is futile to utilise static media?<p>[This message has been edited by MariaR (edited March 27, 2002).]


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 Post subject: Re: Controversial: dance and other media
PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2002 2:54 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2001 12:01 am
Posts: 1876
Location: New England
Dance is a visual art form. My artistic director, for example, has an art history background. A number of scenes from his dances make for striking still photographs.<BR>


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 Post subject: Re: Controversial: dance and other media
PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2002 5:30 am 
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Joined: Mon Oct 02, 2000 11:01 pm
Posts: 13071
Location: San Diego, California, USA
Dance even in live performance is not the same as being within the dance. Just as film distances us from the performance, so does sitting in the audience. Film takes it one step further away. Nevertheless I would rather have film than not have film.<P>Let me explain my first two sentences. If you sit in the audience within the first several rows your experience will be quite different than if you sit further back, or even further back in the balcony. The impact is not the same - perhaps not better or worse - just different.<P>Consequently, the impact of someone's dance is different when seen in ballet class. For instance, I had the experience recently of being in class with a Bolshoi dancer, male. I had seen him in performance and was quite impressed. However, being just a few feet away from him in class as he rehearsed was a totally different experience. The impact of his dance at close range was over powering. It was virtually mesmerizing.<P>Film adds one more layer of distance between the viewer and the performer. But, I would rather have that than not see the dancer at all.<P>As for the written word....I can't recall a really good work of fiction about dance. I am very much interested in biographies and other descriptive matieral about dance, but that is probably because I am able to filter it through my involvement in dance. I don't know if it would capture the attention of someone who is not interested in dance. In other words I don't know if, say the auto-biography of Valery Panov, would be as interesting to someone unfamiliar with dance.<P>Photography lends itself to dance...but it comes across much better in black and white, in my opinion, than color. And, I have often wondered why. While ballet is so colorful in life on the stage, when it is captured in color photography it seems too 'busy'. <P>What else? painting...I have painted it as well as enjoyed the paintings of others. I think it does much better when the painter captures quiet moments rather than trying to capture moments of great movement. Most of Degas' work is of quiet moments.


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