Re: Research dance film

Scott deLahunta (
Sun, 26 Apr 1998 09:08:56 +0200

In response to Jos Neutgens' interesting description of his dance/film concept:

Jos -- there is a long and evolving tradition of dance for camera work which
is not merely registration/ documentation of a performance. I have included
here a paragraph from something I wrote a while ago which gives VERY brief
(and inadequate) introduction and points in the direction of some
informational sources. In particular, you could locate the August 1997 issue
of Tanz Aktuell/ Ballet International (you can purchase back issues from
their website which has a
couple of articles devoted to the topic. Also, seeing as how you are in
Holland, you might consider a trip to the Netherlands Theater Institute's
library to see what they have to look at.

Maya Deren may have been the first to make dance for the screen, but at this
point fifty years later, *Dance for the Screen*, whether recorded on film or
video and whether presented on TV or in the cinema, has become its own
Īmedia artā genre. The exact origin of the moment the category came into
being is unclear. In the August 1997 issue Tanz Aktuell/ Ballet
International, an issue focussing on Īdance and technologyā, Elisa
Vaccarino cautiously suggests that the name Īvideodanseā might have been
coined in 1988 for a showcase at the Centre Pompidou. Dance made it on
Television in Britain in the 1980s with Michael Kustowsā series Channel 4 ö
these were initially adaptations of stage works. However, soon Kustows began
to commission new works only for the screen. Now there are video/ film
archive sites like SK Stiftung Kultur ( in Cologne
with literally hundreds of titles available. There are competitions for
Īvideo danceā such as the Grand Prix Video Danse in France and Springdance
Cinema in Holland.

Incidently, the development of this 'genre' seems quite well supported here
in Europe -- in contrast to the USA. I don't know if I ever sent any
comments to the list after an interesting F2F talk I had with Dennis Diamond
in December. Here in Holland we periodically have weekly television (Dans Op
3) devoted to dance for camera projects. The UK has had BBC backing the
movement and other countries also support 'videodans/ video dance' in a
variety of ways -- backing archival projects, funding festivals and
competitions, etc.

According to Dennis (a video artist working with choreographers now for
years and based in NYC), there is currently nothing similar going on in the
states. I think Boston a while back had a public broadcasting station which
had a 'dance for camera' series, but what happened to that? It is also
remarkable that none of the downtown dance venues (DTW, PS, DIA, Kitchen)
seem to host screenings of dance for camera projects.

If anyone in the states or Europe has contradictory or new information I
would be very curious to read it.


Scott deLahunta and Susan Rethorst
Writing Research Associates, NL
Sarphatipark 26-3, 1072 PB Amsterdam, NL
tel: +31 (0)20 662 1736
fax: +31 (0)20 470 1558