In the age of the Anthropocene, this is a call to get out and dance with your camera, shoot low budget, make; on issues that concern, interest or inspire. Use your phones, leave little behind, be part of a larger screendance community.

Dance pulls us together in a time where we call for awareness within our natural environment. At a time where we require wellbeing, moving bodies and care-full practice is a deliberate way to stay engaged. Dance is in us and it makes us well!

Dance with the camera is a means of sustaining practice. It supports the dance artist as we are sometimes isolated, financially challenged to produce or challenged by the needs of our bodies, through the seasons.

Dance film, screendance, video dance, cinedance … these are terms applied to how the form is made, with what equipment and where the product is exhibited/experienced.

Moving image technologies developed in the early 1900s invited film and dance artists to collaboratively explore motion as frames of reference while experimenting with cinematic time. Early pioneers of Modern dance such as Loïe Fuller utilised contemporary technology: motion picture and lighting implements. Experimental filmmaker, Maya Deren in her essay Amateur versus Professional (1959) recognized the role of the camera as relying on the mobile body and imaginative mind of the dancer; a choreo-cinema. For me, Deren explored what Douglas Rosenberg echoed (2006) for camera-looking as a performance that in itself frames an event. Then, enter the millennium. Smartphones and social media support experimenting with the moving image and recording devices, posting for public consumption via affordable means. Dancers have camera-looking embedded in how we move and experiment with choreo-cimema. We are moving image studies with endless possibilities.

STUDY #1- a dance and motion capture collaboration between Gregory Bennet and Jennifer Nikolai

In the age of the Anthropocene, we aim to positively impact our environment and connect to communities with shared values. Find and join communities. The SCREENDANCE COLLECTIVE hosts archived screen works to inspire us. There are also many festivals inviting screen works including: Dance for the Camera, Screen Dance International, Videodance, ADF’s Movies by Movers, Cinedans, Tiny Dance Film Festival, Dance on Camera Festival (Dance Films Association), Sans Souci Festival of Dance Cinema, Festival Quartiers Danses (Québec) and Toronto Smartphone Film Festival.

I’ll be posting links to screen works curated by me, towards greater awareness of screendance history and context during November/December 2019.

See also Mile Zero Dance’s Reeling: Dance on Screen (2018).

Jennifer Nikolai (PhD) is an Edmonton-born contemporary dancer, choreographic researcher and lecturer at AUT University, Auckland New Zealand. Jennifer’s playfulness engages digital recording devices, motion capture technologies, virtual reality and animation. Jennifer can be found with camera-in-hand, between her country of origin and her country of residency.