The idea of dance on film is as old as film itself. More than a century ago, artists experimented with capturing lush, elusive movement using a wonderful new technology: film.
Born of the artistic collaboration between choreographer and filmmaker, “screendance” pushes dance from the confines of a theater’s stage to video.
Today, the medium’s boundaries expand with vivid possibilities, and Eugene audiences will have a chance to see a variety of dance and film collaborations at the inaugural Northwest Screendance Exposition Oct. 6.
“Both dance and film work with the shaping of time and space, and use movement as their primary vehicle for communicating story, concepts or ideas, and emotions,” says Dorene Carroll, who cofounded the festival with John Watson. “The frame of the camera lens, movement of the camera itself and the editing process become part of the choreography.”
Watson continues: “The ability to isolate a movement, a gesture, a look, and recombine them with other visual elements gives you that potential to create a piece that you could never see on a stage.”
Carroll explains how the pieces have been selected for this festival:
“John and I curated the works for the program ourselves, by selecting pieces we felt best represented this unique art form and were of high quality in terms of choreography, filming and editing,” she says. “All of the selected artists will receive an honorarium. As artists ourselves, we recognize the time and resources required to create art and believe in compensating artists for the privilege of using their work to produce this event.”
Both producers foresee the festival’s future growth. “We envision the Northwest Screendance Expo growing into a multi-day event, which would include public lectures and hands-on workshops from notable screendance artists in addition to the screening of new works in the theater,” Carroll says.
“Right now we are not charging entry fees [for artists] because we want to discover the best work out there, with no financial conditions attached,” Watson adds. “We want to maintain our business model so that we can rely on grants, sponsorships, donations and revenue from affordable ticket sales.”
The Northwest Screendance Exposition’s first presentation of screendance works premieres 7:30 pm Tuesday, Oct. 6, at Bijou Art Cinemas. There will be a special preview matinee at 4 pm, and the evening show will have a discussion with the artists with reception to follow; $8-$10. All ages.