The Emergence and Definition of Screen Dance

스크린댄스의 등장과 정의

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  • ABSTRACT

    무용과 미디어의 역사를 살펴보면 그 두 영역의 관계는 밀접하다. 무용은 영화나 비디오, 텔레비전 등 미디어의 역사 초창기부터 미디어에 도입됐다. 방송국은 현대무용과 관련된 프로그램을 편성해 왔고, 영화산업에서 춤 혹은 무용은 빼놓을 수 없는 소재로 활용돼 왔다. 미디어 아티스트들과 미술가들 역시 무용을 작업 소재로 활용해 왔다. 실험적이고 전위적인 현대 무용가들이나 안무가들도 다양한 방식으로 미디어를 활용해 왔는데, 대체로 무대 위에 일종의 무대 디자인 개념인 기술적인 장치로 활용하거나 미디어를 통해 무용 영상을 보여주는 양상을 보인다. 무엇보다 스크린을 통해 무용을 보여 준다는 것은 단순히 무용을 상영한다는 차원을 너머서 ‘스크린 댄스’라는 하나의 장르로 발전됐다. 오늘날 많은 무용가들과 안무가들은 오직 스크린을 위해서만 존재하는 무용을 창작한다. 즉 스크린 댄스는 미디어의 스크린을 통해 펼쳐지는 무용의 한 장르로, 안무가, 무용가, 영화 제작자들이 협업해 제작된다. 스크린 댄스를 정의할 때 ‘댄스 필름 혹은 무용 영화’, 즉 무용이 테마로 활용되는 영화와 그 개념을 명확하게 구분할 필요가 있다. 스크린 댄스는 단순히 3차원의 공연이 2차원의 평면으로 변화되는 것이 아니라 클로즈업 같은 카메라 테크닉, 편집 등의 영화 기법을 통해 실제적인 평면에 내재돼 있는 가상의 잠재력을 펼치는 것이다. 이것은 시간 속에서 진행되는 움직임이라는 무용의 개념을 보다 강화시키고, 무용수의 표정, 손가락의 움직임 같이 객석에서 잘 보이지 않는 세밀한 것들을 보여줄 뿐만 아니라, 일상적인 지각의 영역을 벗어나 카메라 혹은 기계의 눈을 통해 주어진 전혀 예측할 수 없고 상상할 수 없는 새로운 이미지 혹은 움직임을 읽어내고 생각하도록 우리를 고무한다.


  • KEYWORD

    modern dance , screen , screen dance , film dance , dance film , video dance , media dance , cinedance

  • Introduction

    The statement that, in our postmodern societies, almost all aspects of visual culture are now synonymous with the cultural phenomenon of digitization, may or may not be an exaggeration. It is obvious that most live events and works, including live performances and visual events such as plays, concerts, dances, exhibitions, films, and even television programmes, have all been subjected to the process of digitization and as such can be experienced via websites (such as www.youtube.com). Due to digitization, we experience most events in an audiovisual form. As a result, most live events and visual works are deeply related to screen. Therefore, we live in a predominantly ‘visual’ culture, a culture in which visual media has produced new ways of signifying. In this sense, I consider that this visual culture is related to cinematic innovations. Artist, programmer and media theorist Lev Manovich (2001) states:

    D.N. Rodowick (2010) also makes a diagnosis of twentieth century culture in relation to cinema:

    Manovich theorises about what represents a significant change in our culture, although his statement has been criticized as retrospective by media theorists such as Mark Hansen (2006) because Manovich tries to connect the digital to cinema, the analogue media of the past. However, whether it is digital or analogue, no one can deny the fact that our current culture is dominated by audiovisual forms.

    Among live events, dance performance has been produced or reproduced in audiovisual formats such as video, DVD and CD-ROM for circulation or archiving. In recent days, moreover, choreographers and dancers have produced dance work as an audiovisual form only for the purpose of screening. Now we go to cinemas or galleries to watch dance, and can easily access dance performances at home or on the move. For example, there are many dance festivals held in cinemas around the world under the title of ‘cine dance’ or ‘film dance’ or ‘dance film’ or ‘screen dance’. Apparently dance faces a new phase.

    Throughout the history of dance, it has been influenced by the development of technology, in particular media such as film, video, and television, etc. Dancers and choreographers have adopted these media into their choreography and dance style. Throughout media history, film-makers, producers, and media artists also have adopted dance and choreography into their work. This paper focuses on how the relation between dance and media has evolved until an audiovisual form of dance emerged.

       1. Dance Adopted by Media

    1) Film

    In film history, dance has been adopted by both commercial andavant-garde film-makers from its inception. In the early days, there were generally two types of films which show dancers directly, or adopt a feature of dance, such as rhythm. One of these first films, The Serpentine Dance produced by the Edison Kinescope in 1896, shows two dancers performing the serpentine dance which Loїe Fuller1) had choreographed. The Lumière brothers also produced The Serpentine Dance with Fuller in 1899. By showing a dynamic dancer, The Serpentine Dance emphasizes movement itself as a potential ontology for the gestation of the motion picture.

    One of the early experimental film-makers, Hans Richter, carried out experiments mainly with the rhythm of film itself. His black and white film Rhythmus 21 (1921) subtitled ‘Film is Rhythm’ shows rhythmical movements of rectangular images. Lichtspiel Opus 1 (1921) by Walther Ruttmann is also an experimental film which shows dynamic and rhythmical movements of abstract images such as circles, triangles, and lines. This work emphasized metrical/rhythmic aspects because it was originally produced for the purposes of a musical accompaniment. Also, Man Ray’s Return to Reason (1923) depicts fast motion of spinning images. The master of montage techniques, Eisenstein, also aimed at a musical and/or metric quality in his films. In particular, Eisenstein considered such rhythmical features to be an effective way of conveying emotions (O’Pray, 2003, pp. 13, 17, 19, 29).

    The Hollywood film industry has adopted dance as an entertainment form. In 1928, the specific genre of ‘dance film’2) emerged as a type of musical comedy. From the 1930s to the 1950s, musical films proliferated in America. During the 1970s and 1980s, films depicting dance were increasingly incorporated into mainstream movie-making. Hollywood film studios produced a lot of films featuring dance during this period including Saturday Night Fever (1977), Fame (1980), Flashdance (1983), Staying Alive (1983), Footloose (1984) and Dirty Dancing (1987) (Dodds, 2005, pp. 4-7). Still, dance is one of popular themes in the film industry. Billy Elliot (2000), Shall We Dance? (2004), Step Up One, Two, and Three-D (2006, 2008, 2010), Black Swan (2010), Pina (2011), and First Position (2012) etc., are recent examples.

    Avant-garde film-makers also adopted dance and performance to experiment with aspects of affective arousal. Maya Deren, one of the most influential avant-garde film-makers, filmed dance and choreographed for film during the 1940s in parallel with her involvement in the Katherine Dunham Dance Company. Five films out of her eleven works involve dance. In particular, a black and white silent film A Study in Choreography for Camera (1945, 3min) is one of the representative works. In this film, collaborating with dancer and choreographer Talley Beatty and cinematographer Hella Heyman, Deren used montage techniques to create an ‘irrational’ concept of spatio-temporality. She edited different places such as landscapes, museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and pastoral backgrounds in which Beatty leaps and turns. By experimenting with such techniques, Deren arguably pioneered the genre of ‘screen dance’. She (2005, p. 222) pointed out the close relationship between dance and film in her essay “Choreography for the Camera”: “I intend this film mainly as a sample of film-dance-that is, a dance so related to camera and cutting that it cannot be”performed “as a unit anywhere but in this particular film.” Above all, Deren (in Odom ed., 1977) explored the relations between film and dance in terms of time, focusing on metamorphosis and becomingness:

    Deren’s examination of the relations between film and dance in terms of shared concepts of the temporal provides an important critical clue in explaining the reason why contemporary dancers and choreographers have striven to utilise screen dance beyond the mere recording of dance as documentary.

    As film dedicated itself to visualizing the trajectory of movements, British Animator Norman McLaren produced an experimental animation dance in order to examine these trajectories. Pas de Deux (1968), one of his celebrated works, was awarded in the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) in 1969, and shows the separate trajectories of the movements of two ballet dancers. In this animated film, the abstract moving lines extracted from the dancers ‘bodies are mingled and multiplied, tracing the trajectory of the moving dancers. As a result, the dancers’ corporeal bodies become abstract indiscernible lines and forms. This animation presents McLaren’s interest in movement as an essential component of animation film (Manning, 2009, p. 116).

    2) Television

    Television too has depicted dance from the earliest days of broadcast media. In 1936 when the BBC was launched in London, ballet was broadcast regularly for the next three years. Since 1954 when Margaret Dale became a BBC producer, she, as an ex-dancer, started to produce large-scale dances for television. In 1971 and 1974, she produced A Mirror from India (60min) and Gene Kelly respectively. The BBC broadcast A Mass for Man choreographed by Robert Cohan and produced by Bob Lockyer in 1985 (Dodds, 2001, p. 7). During the 1980s, the BBC and Channel Four launched several programmes featuring dance including Dance For Camera. For example, Boy (1995), filmed and choreographed by Rosemary Lee and Peter Anderson, was commissioned by the Arts Council and BBC2 and broadcast BBC2 in 1996.3) For the United States, in the 1930s and 1940s, a pioneering television station in New York, WRGB, broadcast events focusing on live performances including various musical groups and dances (Auslander, 2008, p. 15). The CBC-TV in Canada also broadcast a full-length ballet Romeo and Juliet for 120 minutes in 1965 (Odom ed., 1977, p. 40). Many live performances have been broadcast via television, but the style changed. Live performances are adapted for television, rather than a slavish adherence to the original version. This was due to the introduction of more sophisticated television technologies including enhanced camerawork methods and extended editing techniques. It became more common to broadcast recorded versions, therefore the previous relationship between ‘live’ and ‘recorded’ is essentially reversed.

    3) Media and Visual Art

    On the basis of the interaction between dance and film, media and visual artists have also adopted dance with regard to the same elements of rhythm, time, emotional expression, and becomingness into their media works. English film-maker, artist, and photographer Sam Taylor-Wood has mainly filmed and photographed performative gestures and movements. She would depict people in emotive states such as anger, sadness, and boredom. One of her films, Ascension (2003) shows a man who has put a dove on his head and the proceeds to tap dance behind a dead man. It looks as if the dancer is dancing on the dead man’s chest. In this short film, Taylor-Wood actualizes the concept of ‘ascension’ via a depiction of a dancer literally dancing ‘on death’.

    Austrian media artist Klaus Obermaier is one of the representative artists creating dance work with new media.4) As media artist, director and composer he has introduced experimental environments onto the stage for dancers. For example, Apparition (2004) shows the dynamic visual images on a big screen interacting with two dancers’ movements. Sometimes the two dancers’ bodies become a screen and video is projected onto them. It gives an impression of the corporeal bodies changing to abstract elements such as light and line. In The Rite of Spring (Le Sacre du Printemps) (2007), Obermaier produced an experimental screen dance for the London Philharmonic Orchestra in collaboration with Ars Electronica Future lab. In this work, a big screen installed behind the orchestra showed the performance of dancer Julia Mach in virtual spaces. The dancer performed in the corner of the stage and the live dancer’s movements and body were distorted with an interactive computer programme in real time, resulting in new images and movements. Obermaier (2007) explains why he has worked with dance in an interview: “Sounds and rhythms do not have any particular meaning, but are moving us a lot. Here I see similarities with dance, which is also a very abstract medium for me. Movements cannot really tell us something concrete, but like music, they can open new ways of perception and experience.”5)

    Avant-garde artists have adopted video, television, and digital devices into their performance pieces, but more recently, it has become common to show an event through media such as big screens in both live concerts and theatre. Goodwin (cited in Auslander 2008, p. 26) depicts this situation succinctly: “attending a live performance… these days is often roughly the experience of watching a small, noisy TV set in a large, crowded field.” And Albright (2010, p. 21) states “where even at live games, most of the viewers are watching the enormous screens to see what” really happened “in those split seconds before the foul.” In fact, these statements are hardly an exaggeration. The adaptation of media has become common in live genre of arts. Artists have created artistic events which can be seen through television or via the screen/computer monitor beyond adopting media onto the stage as a set device. Filmmakers and producers also have collaborated with performers to create a ‘screen work’ beyond featuring performance as a part of their work.

       2. Choreographing and Dancing for the Screen

    While the visual media have incorporated dance, dancers and choreographers have shown their passions for screening dance, that is ‘screen dance’. There are other various reasons why choreographers and dancers have screened dance. Through media, performance could be demonstrated differently from the presentation on stage, depending on the camerawork and editing techniques. For instance, by manipulating the inherent ‘speed limit’ of the motion of human beings, it is possible to produce more dynamically arresting effects on stage. Also, through close ups, the screen can present movements in minute detail, and even deliver a sense of the dancer’s facially inscribed emotions. Furthermore, camera moves us to experience a new way of watching beyond our perception. In relation to the camerawork, Erin Manning (2009) examines the special effects and meanings which the film potentially suggests:

    As Manning suggests, screen dance provides us with new and unconventional mechanisms for experiencing movement. Also, the backdrops of dancing could be diversified to vistas that go beyond the normal stage space. As a result, screen dance could affect the audience in different ways from normative concerns of the traditional stage, as well as creating new audiences for dance. For these reasons, dancers and choreographers such as Pina Bausch, Merce Cunningham, Rosemary Butcher, William Forsythe, and so on have all tried to produce dance for screen.

    In the case of Cunningham, he was attracted specifically to the visual effects of media, and used them in diverse ways in his works. Cunningham has applied film and television structures and idiomatic editing techniques to his choreography (Dodds, 2001, p. 32). When he choreographed for television, he considered carefully how content would be presented on a small screen. For example, in Points in Space (1986) Cunningham arranged dancers to fill a rectangular space in close relation to how this movement would be subsequently shown on a television monitor. Furthermore, Cunningham often translated television or video dance pieces for the stage by changing the structure. This entailed the adjustment and manipulation of original pieces such as Fractions (1978) and Channels/Insets (1982) for staged versions. The new adaptations of media led Cunningham to collaborate with various other artists. For example, he created the video dance Merce by Merce by Paik (1975-1978, 30min) with video artist and performer Nam June Paik for a television programme A Video Event. The work consists of the two parts ‘collaged’ by Paik via a creative process; Part One is entitled Blue Studio by Cunningham, Part Two is Merce and Marcel by Paik. Thisvideo shows dynamically the moving images of Cunningham, the outlines of the dancer’s body against various backgrounds, such as flying birds, waterfalls, and strange manipulated images by using a video synthesizer which he constructed with the Japanese engineer Shuya Abe in 1964 (Dixon, 2007, p. 96). This video dance is reminiscent of Cunningham’s output perse, as this work evidences some of the exact same features as Cunningham’s philosophy of/for choreography (David, 1997, pp. 206, 215, 220, 231; Dodds, 2001, pp. 10, 68-9).

    In particular, Cunningham had a long standing creative relationship with video and film-maker Charles Atlas. In 1973, he choreographed Walkaround Time (44min) for screening with Atlas. As a homage to Marcel Duchamp, American visual artist Jasper Johns designed the stage by adopting the features of some of Duchamp’s artworks. The piece is composed in seven sections, and each section runs for about seven minutes (Odom ed., 1977, pp. 46-7). Torse (1977, 55min) was designed to be projected onto two screens or a split screen. It was produced by using several cameras at the same time whereby each screen shows different angles and shots of one piece; one focuses mainly on the group of dancers, whereas the other usually features a close-up of a dancer or a part of the group. Thus different viewpoints of the same work appear, so the piece reveals how film can show diverse points of view of a live event simultaneously, in opposition to the previously restricted viewpoint ‘from the auditorium’.6) Above these works, he used a filmic device in Westbeth (1974), Roadrunners (1979), and Channels/Inserts (1981).

    Bausch is one of the representative dancers and choreographers who adopted media and approached dance in an unconventional way. Bausch tried to make connections between dance and theatre as a way of expressing inner emotions and creating new artistic forms. She specifically changed the original dance company’s name Wuppertal Ballet to Tanztheater (‘Dance Theatre’) when she became director of the Tanztheater Wuppertal in Germany in 1973 (the term was originally Rudolf Laban’s). For Bausch, the integration of other media such as film, theatre, video, television and so on into dance was a way of expanding the boundaries of the dance arena as well as embracing what were considered to be ‘ordinary’ or ‘pedestrian’ gestures. She also used video as a tool to remind the dancers of their movements in order to develop their ideas (Climenhaga, 2009, pp. 10, 14-5, 17, 55).

    Bausch also remade her original performance work into a film version. Cafe Muller (1978) which was recreated as a film (52min, Inter Nationes) in 1985. Also she directed another film The Plaint of the Empress or Die Klage der Kaiserin (103min, Inter Nationes) between 1987 and 1989. These films show dancers’ ‘ordinary’ movements or gestures in various locations, a narrative that opposes previous conceptions of dance and specific dancing subjects. The motto here might have been:‘all life is dance’. In fact, Bausch had been involved in films already. She was cast as a blind princess in And the Ship Sails On by Italian film director Federico Fellini in 1983 (Kiefer, 2010), and a part of her piece Cafe Muller was also included in Talk to Her (2002) by Spanish director Pedro Almodovar. Furthermore, her death in June 2009 interrupted a planned documentary 3D film of her with German film-maker Wim Wenders (Shoard, 2009).7)

    Most of all, however, her direct connection to film is evidenced in the structure of her dance vocabulary and choreography, that is, in terms of the process of choreographing itself. Bausch (as cited in Climenhaga, 2009, p. 47) used to complete her works with an open-ended structure, that is, in processing and collecting small pieces and fragments and editing them at the end as if she was a film-maker or producer: “I don’t think from the beginning to the end, but with small parts that slowly become larger, and so the piece slowly comes together and expands.” In this sense, it can be understood that these dances have a similar form to film on the basis of their shared sense of time and utilisation of editing techniques. Bausch’s process of choreography pioneered the new relations between dance and media. As a result, she has produced a lot of followers, such as Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker and Wim Vandekeybus (Climenhaga, 2009, p. 36).8)

    Following Bausch’s experiments, Belgian choreographer and dancer Keersmaeker remade Rosas danst Rosas, into a film in collaboration with director Thierry de Mey in 1997. It was 14 years after the first performance on stage in 1983, when she also launched her company, ‘Rosas’. The film is different from the original performance in terms of location, camera technique, and sound. The piece shows four dancers dancing without any background music for 57 minutes. The camera makes a close-up on the dancers’ faces and fingers in order to film detailed gestures and expressions. The only sound is the breathing of the dancers, as well as a rapping sound produced by the hands on the wooden floor. Dependent on the camera’s movement, this creates a unique experience for viewers which cannot be experienced in conventional auditoria. The close-up images combined with the dancers’ breathing sound, allow it to be experienced in a more sensitive way than in traditional settings.

    Frankfurt ballet director William Forsythe has adopted electronic devices and media onto the stage in an attempt to challenge ‘traditional’ conceptions of dance from the 1970’s onwards. His works have been controversially criticized by critics as being difficult works to comprehend because of the complex style of stage settings, including aspects such as puzzling lighting, and the adaptation of electric devices including headphones and microphones: these are sometimes used to amplify dancers’ breathing and sobbing/crying sounds and are accompanied with loud music, as well as Forsythe’s technique of ‘distorting’ the vocabulary of traditional ballet movements. In 1995, he created a black and white video dance Solo with film-maker Thomas Lovell (Martha Bremser ed., 1999, pp. 110-14). This video shows Forsythe dancing in close up or in full shot accompanied by creaking and breathing sounds, voices from out-of-frame, and classical music extracts. This video was created as a part of a new choreographic series for Forsythe’s dancers. Each video shows a dancer with a superimposed white graphic line, which indicates a direction for the body to move towards. The CD-ROM Improvisation Technologies produced with ZKM (Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie) in Karlsruhe, Germany, a part of the four-gigabyte archive of the Frankfurt Ballet’s movement systems, was published in 2000 (Birringer, 1989, pp. 95-6).

    In the majority of cases mentioned above, the adaptation of media reflects not just an interest in media for its own sake but a passion for expanding the boundaries of dance form. To do so, artists have worked with collaborators in other areas, such as sound and visual art, architecture, and technology. Due to this, it is arguable that this reflects an expansion of the traditional role of ‘choreographer’ to that of ‘visual artist’. Butcher is perhaps a case in point. Typically, Butcher has performed in non-theatrical spaces including gallery spaces or the street; for example, in the Whitechapel Art Gallery and Tate Modern in London for Touch the Earth (1987) and The Hour (2006), respectively. In the galleries, films are projected onto screen or installed with paintings, installations, and photographs in collaboration with fine artists, architects, film-makers, and composers. Sometimes, only film or video itself is used. For example, After the Last Sky (1995), filmed and edited by David Jackson, is an installation work showing dance ‘as if’ it was a purely visual artwork.

    According to a review from Frieze, “her interest is more sculptural: it lies in a reductive attention to the most ordinary movements of the human body” (Butcher and Melrose eds., 2005, p. 138). Butcher deals with the body as if it were a sculptural edifice, a style well-suited to the emerging installation concept in dance. Therefore, Robert Ayers (cited in Butcher and Melrose eds., 2005, pp.20, 24) defines that “Butcher’s work is ‘a first cousin to the visual arts’” and Josephine Leask notes, in addition, “Rosemary Butcher feels more comfortable with the worlds of visual arts and architecture.” In doing so, the boundary between the dance and visual art world has been blurred, and at the same time dance elements or conventional dance aesthetics has been deconstructed and recreated in a new form (Butcher and Melrose eds., 2005, pp. 77, 151). Such a break opens the possibility of a new and extended concept of dance. In addition to this, Butcher has choreographed specifically for films, and examples here include Undercurrent with Cathy Greenhaulgh (2000-2001), Vanishing Point with Martin Otter (2004), Aftermath with Cathy Greenhaulgh (2006), and Lapped, Translated Lines with Daria Martin (2010).9) In these films, a moving body appears in an open space such as underwater or in a desert. For Butcher, space is an element which supports the performer’s movement, but at the same time, represents something that cannot be controlled solely by artistic intervention, intervening as it does in and between movements. In this sense, Butcher’s work can be seen as an exploration of the relationship between the movement of a vulnerable body and space that encloses it (Butcher and Melrose eds., 2005, p. 76).

    Yvonne Rainer has also been strongly influenced by visual art, working with American avant-garde artists such as Robert Morris and Robert Rauschenberg. Since the 1960s, Rainer started to integrate short films into her choreography. And film had been a constant preoccupation since disbanding her company The Grand Union by 1972 which last performed in public in 1975 (Brown, Mindlin, and Woodford eds., 1998, p. 157; Rich⋯ et al., 1989, p. 37; Green, 1994, p. 4). Rainer is interested in the expressive capacities of the body as a sculptural object, something which reveals the influence of modernism, which reached its apex in the Unites States during the 1960s and 1970s. Rainer’s work also stresses the limits of what dance can achieve. B. Ruby Rich (et al., 1989) explains:

    Rainer has mainly focused on sexuality, power, and emotion in her films by using narrative and text, which are usually excluded from dance, under the influence of the French film-maker Jean-Luc Godard and American pop artist Andy Warhol. Today, Rainer has firmly established her position as one of the major avant-garde film-makers, producing extended films including Lives of Performers (1972, 90min), Film About a Woman Who⋯ (1974, 105min), Kristina Talking Pictures (1976, 90min), Journeys from Berlin/1971 (1980, 125min), The Man Who Envied Women (1985, 125min), Privilege (1990, 103min) and so on (Rich⋯ et al., 1989, p. 3; Green, 1994, pp. 8, 125-29). She (cited in Green, 1994) says the reason why she left the field of dance:

    As well as these narrative films, she also reproduced her original dance performances in film, such as Trio A (1978, originally performed in 1965).

    DV8 Physical Theatre based in London, UK is one of the representative dance groups which deal with emotional issues in the area of dance by adopting theatrical elements and film as Bausch did. It has produced screen dance for television (mainly commissioned by the BBC and Channel 4) including Dead Dreams of Monochrome Men (1990), Strange Fish (1992), Enter Achilles (1996), and The Cost of Living (2004) since it was established in 1986.10) Character of dancers and dramatic elements are the main feature of these works. This has been achieved by sharing the inner emotions, vulnerability and weakness of individual dancers with audience. Director of DV8 Physical Theatre Lloyd Newson said in an interview: “I often set tasks that ask performers to reveal something their inner selves that they may not want to show in public.”11) For example, filmed in collaboration with British film director David Hinton, Strange Fish describes the relationship between friends or lovers and emotions such as loneliness and isolation dramatically and humorously. This film is closer to theatre dealing with the issue of coupling rather than dance as DV8 Physical Theatre pursues. In particular, filmic techniques including close up and the performance of dancers emphasize this theatrical aspect of the work.

       3. Definition of Screen Dance

    Screen dance is important in both the history of film and dance. The monumental figure Fuller tried to film dance in 1919, as well as being a heroin in one of the first films The Serpentine Dance produced by the Lumière brothers in 1899. Almost 100 years has passed since then but the study of dance on screen or film is minimal in comparison to film. In fact, since the 1990s, many countries have launched dance festivals only for the screen. One of the first screen dance festival organizations, the IMZ (International Music+Media Centre) in Vienna has been organizing the festival ‘dancescreen’ in various cities annually since 1990. According to Johannes Birringer (1998, p. 69), over two hundred video and film dance pieces have been collected for this festival every year. For dance for the screen, this demonstrates considerable growth, both in terms of artists and audience.

    Some studies have catered for the interests of screening or filming dance. In 2001, Sherill Dodds wrote on media including film, television, and video featured dance in Dance on Screen: Genres and Media from Hollywood to Experimental Art. Erin Brannigan (2011) wrote on ‘dancefilm’ in her book Dancefilm: Choreography and the Moving Image. Also, The International Journal of Screendance was launched in 2010. However, the two representative books deal with dance for the screen in the context of film. In particular, Brannigan tries to position dancers and choreographers who created dance work for the screen such as Pina Bausch and Wim Vandekeybus, with regard to experimental or avant-garde film history. Brannigan uses three terms including dancefilm, screen dance, and screen performance. As she also points out, Fuller, Deren, and Rainer are important women artists who influenced avant-garde film-makers. However, I argue that these artists should be considered in the context of dance history as the art of dance for camera or screen rather than film history. Although many performers and choreographers have produced dance for the screen, there is no a definitive term for it. The terms depend on the choreographers’ or film-makers perspective. Generally, one group considers it as dance produced with cinematic techniques. The other considers it as film or video dealing with dance. With ‘dancefilm’ used by Brannigan and the Canada based dance company La La La Human Steps, DV8 Physical Theatre categories it in ‘dancevideo’ on the website and Cunningham calls it ‘film or videodance’. Nam June Paik calls it ‘videodance’. Deren used both ‘film-dance’ and ‘dance-film’ to define the term of ‘choreography for the camera’ in her articles. Although a film can feature dance as film, dance work for screening or filming exists under the term of dance choreographed with cinematic expressions and techniques. I call it ‘screen dance’.

    What is screen dance? This thesis defines the term screen dance as a genre of dance which is unfolded through screen of media such as television, video, film, and electronic devices. It has been created in collaboration with choreographers, dancers, and film-makers with cinematic techniques. Some works may be produced only for screening, and some works could be reproduced from originally staged works or vice versa. The definition of screen dance was already established in the dance field. ‘Take7’ Study Pack was written by choreographer, film-maker, and lecturer (University of Brighton) Liz Aggis and published by South East Dance in 2008 to guide dance students and teachers to screen dance. In the pack including DVD of screen dance collections, Aggis (cited on the British Council website) defines screen dance clearly:

    Also, Douglas Rosenberg and Claudia Kappenberg, the editors (2010, pp. 1, 2) of The International Journal of Screendance defined the term of screen dance in the introduction of the first issue in 2010 as a hybrid-practice developed from the fields of dance and moving image which has been described with terms such as video-dance, cinedance or dance film. Brannigan (2011, p. vii) also defined the term of screen dance although she prefers to use dancefilm; “short films and videos made by collaborative director/choreographer teams.” From these definitions, we could understand what screen dance is.

    However, one question should be answered; How could the different areas of screen and dance be merged? Before answering this question, the question of what dance is should be answered. As a person who was never trained as a dancer, I define dance as an art form expressing ideas or emotions through movements of the body. The Oxford English dictionary defines dance: as verb, “1) move rhythmically to music, typically following a set sequence of steps, 2) move in a quick and lively way,” and as a noun, “a series of steps and movements that match the speed and rhythm of a piece of music.” However, while the dictionary and my definitions emphasise ‘movement’, a dancer, choreographer or dance theorist emphasises the time quality in dance. Based on her career as a dancer for 21 years, Schiller (2003,p.49) defines ““dancing” as a process of transforming one’s quotidian bodily inner state.” Claire Colebrook (2005,p.7) defines dance as “at each moment of its actualization a dance.” or an “image of human creative becoming.” Schiller and Colebrook consider dance as a process or transforming or becoming. According to their definitions, dance is more dynamic and abstract beyond a moving action in a space. Based on these definitions, screen dance is a creative process unfolding through screen.

    How could the different areas of film or video and dance be merged? Deren and Nam June Paik provide inspiration for an answer. Deren and Paik dealt with media and dance performance as avant-garde artists collaborating with dancers and choreographers. Deren pointed out the significant common features between film and dance such as ‘time’ and ‘movement’, and explored dance with camera. She considered filmic techniques such as editing or camera work as a tool which can expand the restricted stage to the world or infinite space for dancers. Ritual in Transfigured Time and Choreography for the Camera were suggested as samples of screen dance (she used the term film-dance) (McPherson ed., 2005, pp. 221, 222, 252).

    Paik also created the concept of video dance or a video dance with editing or collage technique in Merce by Merce by Paik. This work gives an impression as if the video itself was choreographed with complex movements and images based on the common features of two areas. In particular, Paik was interested in destroying the boundary of different genres of art or transforming the ontology of art. As an artist who possessed the first Sony portable video recorder, Paik experimented with media. He created an interactive system with television, Participation TV. This manipulated television system was created to respond to visitors’ voices as one of his musical practices, the so-called ‘Postmusic’ (Neuburger ed., 2009, p. 65). His ‘Moving Theatre’ as a happening was planned for people to take part in the event unexpectedly in the street (Kaye, 2007, pp. 37-9). Zen for Film, produced in 1964, was also a creative work destroying the boundary between art and performance. It was a film without any images and sounds, illuminating “particles of dirt and dust” (Handhardt, 2000, p. 95) or “providing the audience with the empty white wall which is usually used in Zen meditation” (Decker-Phillips, 1998, p. 151 cited in Kaye, 2007, p. 42). However, at the end, it transformed into a performance where Paik appeared in front of the screen and the audience. In 1965, he twisted video images of McLuhan’s head on a TV screen with a powerful ring magnet in Demagnetizer, and critiqued classical music in collaboration with Charlotte Moorman, cellist and performance artist, by using nudity and electronic equipments such as ‘TV bra’ and ‘TV cello’ in Opera Sextronique (1967) and TV Bra for Living Sculpture (1969). Paik also created historical video installations such as gardens, forests, towers and robots (Dixon, 2007, pp. 94-6). Through these innovative and mediated artworks, he attempted to undermine fixed concepts and ideas. There are potentialities of transformation in the combination of different materials or art as Paik’s works show us.

    Although one cannot deny the dominant effects of media, it also cannot be said that media changes the ontology of performance fundamentally. Rather, it seems that the involvement of media in performance enforces or even creates new ontological features, such as the ‘liveness’, ‘presence’, ‘catharsis’, ‘disappearance’, and ‘creative transforming’ in its own unique manner. It leads audiences to experience dance alongside new images and with new senses through the ‘mechanical eyes’. Therefore, it can be said that screen performance or dance ‘is’ a performative work on the basis of the reproduced features by media. Deren (McPherson ed., 2005, p. 252) said: “In this sense, this film is a dance.”

    1)American dancer and choreographer Loїe Fuller (1862-1928) experimented with different lighting effects and invented a “Garment for Dancers” in 1894 which was soon adapted by other dancers and filmed for one of early silent movies (Salter, 2010, pp. 225-27). Also Fuller introduced a new way of using media in theatre by projecting film on huge gauze robes which operated as a screen in 1911 (Dixon, 2007, p. 73). Futhermore, she produced Le Lys de la Vie, 35mm colour film, to experiment with light and movement in 1919 (Dodds, 2001, p. 5). Erin Brannigan (2011, pp. 34-7) argues that Fuller is an innovative figure in early cinema history and led avant-garde film-makers.  2)Brannigan (2011, p. vii) defines the term ‘dance film’ is “a modality that appears across various types of films including the musical and experimental shorts and is characterized by a filmic performance dominated by choreographic strategies or effects.”  3)The Centre for Research into Creation in the Performance Arts, Middlesex University http://www.robat.scl.net/content/ResCenSite/Rosemary_Lee/rose01.html http://www.artsadmin.co.uk/projects.boy  4)Gretchen Schiller (2003, p. 12) calls these types of dance “mediadance”. According to her definition, “Mediadance is one of many art forms that integrates computer-based technologies,” such as “interactive-art, CD-ROM based interactive art, virtual reality, netart, telematics, and technologically-mediated performance and video gaming.”  5)From an interview by Siouxwire in June 2007. http://siouxwire-annex.blogspot.kr/2007/06/interview-klaus-obermaier.html  6)Torso was first released on 28 August 2010 in the Tate Modern Turbine Hall, UK during the series of Tate Film: Charles Atlas / Michael Clark, 28-29 August 2010.  7)This film Pina was premiered in the Berlin film festival on 13 February 2011. It started to shoot two days later Bausch died (Higgins, 2011).  8)Also Johannes Birringer (1998, pp. 76-7) mentions Keersmaeker, Alison Murray, Lisa Cochrane, Edouard Lock, Lloyd Newson, Jean Claude Gallotta, and Vandekeybus as outstanding video dance makers.  9)From the Rosemary Butcher website: www.rosemarybutcher.com  10)From the DV8 Theatre website: www.dv8.co.uk  11)Lloyd Newson on Dance in Dance Now (Summer 1993), pp. 11-13. From the website: www.dv8.co.uk/about_dv8/interview_dance_now_lloyd_newson_on_dance  12)British Council website: www.britishcouncil.org/new/forward-motion/Forward-Motion-Articles-Folder/What-is-Screen-Dance/

    Conclusion

    In the digital era, in fact, we can experience almost every type of visual art through screen regardless of the type of media such as film or video. These types of media would be embraced in digitalization. We face only screens of electronic devices to access visual and performing arts. In this sense, screen has replaced stage and is ‘becoming space’ for performance. This two dimensional space has a lot of potentiality for performers. Maya Deren (McPherson ed., 2005, pp. 221, 230) filmed dance to give dancers “the world as a stage” or to “make the dancer transcend space, to be everywhere and anywhere” and “nowhere”. This space could be “any-space-whatever” in terms of Deleuze.

    When we examined the history of performance arts that incorporate new media, it could be seen that there was arguably more fundamental relations between the two areas. From the early history of media, choreographers and dancers such as Loїe Fuller and Merce Cunningham have experimented with media to examine the movements of the body and the way of perceiving, and dance has been incorporated into media by film-makers, media artists, and television programme producers. Particularly, the life of American dancer and choreographer Yvonne Rainer, who turned her career towards being a film-maker, seems to prove the close relation between dance and film. These artists have worked on the basis of the similar features between the two areas including time, becomingness, motion, rhythm, and so forth. Many artists and choreographers have continuously produced or screened dance beyond making documentaries or simply recording pre-existing dance works.

    It could be argued that watching moving bodies in the auditorium is a more direct and real way of experiencing dance than watching via screen. However, according to many choreographers who have tried to create screen dance, film or video has the possibility or potentiality to express specific philosophies and intentions, as well as leading the audience to inspect dance on a more detailed level. In this context, screen dance has had the potential to consider dance and spectatorship into a more expanded conception of itself. Cunningham (cited in Dodds, 2001, p. 71) states: “movements can be seen clearer and in more detail on the screen than stage.”

    Film, video, and other media could create ‘striking visual images’ and ‘unconventional perspectives’ when combined with artistic effects and new camera techniques such as the close-up and long-shot as well as interacting with new editing possibilities and the possibilities afforded by the extension of the dance space.

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