Blending Art Forms, Blending Realities

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The Ohio State University

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The development of cinema and the development of modern dance are so deeply intertwined, that two leading inventors of the motion camera, Thomas Edison and Louis Lumière, focused their lenses on two leading creators of modern dance, Ruth St. Denis and Loie Fuller. Since the early 20th century, dance film has developed with work from artists such as Maya Deren, Merce Cunningham and Elliot Caplan, and Wim Wenders. Today there is a medley of screens for dance film, including theatre screens, televisions, hung projections, computers, and cell phones. At the present moment, screens seem to fall into two categories: ones that immerse the audience in a film, such as movie theatre screens, and ones that are immersed into the audience's life, such as laptop screens. Given this, the purpose of my study began as an investigation into audience reception of dance film on theatre screens versus Internet screens. By producing three dance films, I discovered that the type of screen greatly influences the creative process itself, demanding screen-specific choices about scale, duration, narrative, and pacing. For example, in order to highlight the smaller screens of laptops and smart phones, I shot wide angles for the Internet film, which exaggerated small-scale dancers. I edited short, fast paced films for the Internet, where brief videos are customary, whereas I used longer takes and gradual shifts for the theater screen to influence the state of a theatre audience. In the process of my research, I discovered that making dance film requires an explicit awareness of the type of screen being used. This awareness should be present from the start of a creative process and should be taught in dance film courses. Attentiveness to the specific type of screen in dance film creation increases originality, clarity, and audience access to the work.



dance film, art, film series, Internet art, Video Art, Modern Dance, art and the environment