Re: New web dance

Richard Lord (
Thu, 22 Jul 1999 12:05:59 +0100

>>All this quoted text from Richard Lord:
>And all this quoted text from Bud Blumenthal
>>Any dance on video is pixels lighting up a screen. Does this mean none of
>>them are dance?
>Yes those pixels are not dance. They are pixels helping to make up a video
>image of a dance.
>Is the video image of dance dance? No.This is a video of a dance. Or it is
>video-dance or computer dance. Subsets of the big "D".

If video dance is a subset of Dance (the big "D"), then it is dance.
While also being pixels lighting up a screen.

>However if Cunningham makes a CDROM it
>is not a dance, just as if he paints a painting it is not a dance. Even if
>its a picture of a dance!

It depends on the CD-ROM or the painting. I've never seen a painting that
I consider to be dance (or one that the painter considered to be dance)
but I have seen a CD-ROM that is, in my opinion and that of the creators,

>>BTW, Progressive 2, one of my web dances, involved a number of
>>collaborators, a personal investment of about $4000 even though noone
>>involved was paid, and took many months to complete. It also took many
>>years to acquire the skills to create this and the other web dances.
>>Don't belittle it.
>I do not mean to belittle it. I enjoyed it very much in fact. The question
>now is does calling it dance belittle my dance? You know the other day I
>saw a "GameBoy" on a coffee table. While it is of the same genre as your
>net experiments I couldn't bring myself to call it dance.

A gameboy is not the same genre as my web dances. A gameboy is computer
games and the hardware for using them, while my web dances are dances
created for viewing and interacting with over the web.

This idea that my web dances could belittle anyone's dance work is new to
me and I fail to understand it. My niece makes dances. She's only six,
and consequently the dances are very short and naive. There's little work
or experience invested in creating them. However they are still dance.
This doesn't belittle the work you create.

My web dances are short and experimental and as such not as rich and full
as I hope your dance productions are. However the experience and skill
deployed in creating my web dances is no less than the experience and
skill deployed in making my theatre dances.

>My work falls into the category of "Contemporary Dance". This is perhaps
>more of a European apellation for the moment but getting generalized. In
>the USA, "Modern Dance" is still used quite a lot and many people don't
>even use the word dance but insist on "Performance Art".
etc. I won't quote everything you said, or the email will be very long.

Contemporary dance is a very general term in Europe. For some it includes
the work of William Forsyth, while others prefer to classify that as
ballet. For some it includes work in other media, particularly
television, while others like yourself believe that live dancers are
required for dance.

The video of Pina Bausch's "The Rite of Spring" is a video representation
of a dance, but there are many dance video's where the dance is created
specifically for video. The choreographer doesn't care what the movement
looks like in reality, only what it looks like through the camera lens.
They create dance which is performed within the boundaries set by the
television, and which takes advantage of the ability of that medium to
manipulate time and space. The dance, as a combination of movement
elements structured through time, doesn't exist until the video footage
has passed through the edit suite and been compiled into the finished
product. This product is the dance, not the short start/stop/repeat stuff
that goes on in the studio where the work is recorded. The dance has no
existence outside of the video medium. Either the video is the dance or
there is no dance. In my opinion the video is the dance.

With one breath you seem to be happy with terms like 'video dance' and
'computer dance', but with the next breath you deny that these are
actually dance. I find this confusing.

I believe that dance is about movement, whether presented by live bodies,
robots, images on film, cd-rom or the web. Not all movement is dance -
that distinction is about purpose and context and is best left to the
artist creating the work.

Using another artform as an example, if I listen to a CD of a Mozart
symphony I believe I am hearing music. I am not hearing the performance
of this work by the Berlin Philharmonic, I am hearing a recording of that
performance. But the result is still music. Also, a number of modern
musicians never do live performances, choosing only to produce work on
CD, but their work is still music.

I believe that work presented on the web can be dance.


P.S. Johannes (and others) I have no intention for this debate to be
competitive and I was unaware that it was percieved as such.

Richard Lord
Big Room
See the web dances at