Over the next two months I’ll be contributing a series of posts featuring links to screen works, curated with an eye for creating awareness of screendance history and context during November/December 2019. This post is the “Early Pioneers” where modern dance meets motion picture.  Watch for my next post titled: “Pushing the form; Hollywood to Indie Cinema.”

Early Pioneers

Moving image technologies developed in the early 1900s inspired artists, and in the case of Modern dance history; Modern dance pioneer Loïe Fuller (1862 – 1928). Fuller pioneered dance at a moment in history where the moving body and moving image technologies were simultaneously experimenting with motion, theatrical lighting techniques and photographic reproductions. These technologies were explored with experimentation and fascination. Fuller’s “Serpentine Dance” is considered to have advanced the relationship between dance and technological innovation. Fuller’s movement vocabulary is grounded and consists of large, abstracted gestures with kinetic range and a quality of flow. Her moving fabrics were coupled with coloured lighting effects to create a spectacle of moving image and dance, distributed by Edison Manufacturing Company in 1895/1896.


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.