Re: undemanding, unambitious, uninformed and uninspired

Doug Rosenberg (
Sun, 29 Aug 1999 14:06:14 -0500

The real question at play in this thread is one of transcendence.
Does the work in question transcend its construction ie, are the
individual tools used in service of a larger vision? The artists
mentioned in response to Jeff's query all used technology, lighting,
etc. in the service of "dance" and transcended those tools and their
attendant contexts in the process creating a visionary
re-representation of dance as an art form. But at the core, all of
the tools and applications of them were at the service of dance and
the work was presented within a dance context, where dance was
privledged over the mechanics of the works construction.
The cine-dance work Jeff mentioned was "9 Variations on a Dance
Theme" with Bette De Jong and shot/directed by Hillary Harris in 1967.
The piece is a good example of the use of technology to
recorporealize the dancing body into what Marlyn refered to as
"post-dance" (I like the term) or a hybrid form of dance and
technology which transcends both genres toward the creation of a new
form which technology as well as dance are in the service of. Nine
Variations was not a threat to the dance world, Jeff.. nor I believe
is contemporary technology. The "threat" is that while something is
gained within a technological environmet/culture, something is lost as
well. It is the sense of loss perhaps that some incorrectly percieve
as representing a threatened community.
>>> mary-lou <> - 8/30/99 3:05 AM >>>
Jeff Miller wrote:
> I have a question for the dance-historians among us:
> Is there a record of the ways in which dance changed (if any) with
the advent
> of electrical lighting? Aside from time of performance, that
is--did the
> ability to have, for example, a spotlight focusing attention, or
the upstage
> area well-lit change the way choreographers made dances? I've had
a bit of
> theory in the dramatic theatre on this subject, but dance wasn't
I think Iris answered this well... but I wanted to add a bit off the
of my head about Alwin Nikolais... In his time he was considered a
"Multimedia artist". There was a short footage of his work in the TV
series "Dance of the Century" has anyone seen it? Anyway, he talked
about abstract lighting, and how he wanted to strip the stage of
light, he used lighting from the side and coloured deckled light
above, he used set pieces that reflected light. His dance reflected
abstraction, in that he wanted to move away from the then
"boy meets girl" narrative, to something more abstract, where the
was an object in time and space.
I think artists working with new technologies today, tend to opt for

abstract themes... and yet perhaps as we have seen with stage
in history, this will change. So perhaps as artists become more
with technology and it is beyond the point of justification, or a
"threat"... they will begin to use technology in more diverse ways.
goes back to my theory about "play". Creativity begins from here...
> Part of my frustration with this thread is the lack of
acknowledgement of the
> amount of technology used in "non-tech" dance. Source 4's,
lighting boards,
> compact disc players, portable stereos, all are accepted as tools
of the
> trade...but suddenly the video camera and the projector and the
computer is
> seen as a threat. To me, saying that a dance for the camera isn't
dance is
> akin to saying that a CD of Mozart's Requiem isn't music. It's
different in
> terms of convenience, and yes, sometimes in terms of quality.
Yes.. I is fascinating to see similar arguments reoccur.