Re: Why dance on the Web?

Richard Lord (
Thu, 7 Jan 1999 14:29:15 +0000


It's wrong to assume that small video clips are the only options for
dance on the web. I've created three web dances myself, and am working on
another at the moment, and only one of these uses video. The web is a new
medium. It has different possibilities and different limitations. The
error that many people make is to simply view it as a resource for
delivering material created in/for another medium - print/video/audioCD
etc. The possibilities are new and we are only just scratching the

A couple of examples:

Bandwidth creates many problems but also possibilities - using the
tension it can engender is one example possibility. Bandwidth limitations
also push designers in a direction which choreographers are uniquly
experienced to exploit - much less bandwidth is required to move an
object on a web page than is required to replace it with another object,
so choreographing movement is a very useful skill. The problem with video
on the web is that it replaces each frame of the video with a new frame,
rather than just moving the objects contained in the frame.

And what of the audience. The browser software itself sets up
expectations due to the visual and interactive structure within which a
site is displayed. And consider that most people viewing a web dance are
alone, seated at a desk, and maybe surfing when they should be working. A
situation very different from a theatre or television audience. And a
situation that must be considered when creating the work.

And of course interactivity. Interactivity is not essential to a web
dance, but it is one of the interesting possibilities we have for
experimenting with.

A century ago, film existed but none of the possibilities you mention for
it had been realised yet. Now the medium is understood and we accept that
dance on film is a reasonable idea. Don't dismiss dance on the web just
because we haven't discovered, explored and understood the possibilities


Richard Lord
Big Room

Web dances:

>I would like to pose a question: Why dance on the web?
>Dance on video makes sense - OK so there are some elements that don't work
>so well on video, but there are equally a wealth of new possibilities
>opened up by special effects, camera angles, focus, etc. A sort of
>sideways slipage of the field of possibilities. But why the Web? Dance
>on the Web must necessarily be presented as video clips, so there are no
>new opportunities in terms of form and content. Infact the field of
>possibilities has shrunk - literally - because of downloading times and
>tiny video frames on screen.
>The reasons which I have come up with are:
>1. global communication
>2. mass availability for minimum charge (free if you are lucky enough!)
>3. interactive possibilities (which is where my field of research lies).
>What does anyone else think - especially those who are currently working
>with the Web?
>Incidentally, thanks to those who responded to my previous request for
>information on interactive dance web sites.