Adventures in Screendance

2013-06-15 14.54.352013-06-16 09.13.17Friday, in the midst of packing all of our belongings to move to Michigan, James and I packed up the car to take me to Milwaukee.  I am starting my Dance MFA at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  It is a program set up for working professionals, so we come here for the summer and go back to our respective homes during the rest of the year to complete other classes without interrupting our current careers.

I must say I’m already in love with Milwaukee and (Alterra Coffee is by far the best coffee I’ve ever had).  The city is beautiful and I am living just 6 blocks away from the lake.  It is an adjustment not only being the student again after 10 years, but also this dorm life.  Although we do have a kitchen, so no dorm food for Sara.

This week is our intensive, Intro to Screendance, taught by the very talented Ellen Bromberg.  Today was our second day of the intensive and while some of the technical information is going a bit over my head (although Ellen has spent the time to explain all of the technical things very well), I am having so much fun exploring this medium.

I unintentionally used video in my last two concerts.  The first was so I could show my outdoor piece Baby Pool Etudes and Variations as part of an indoor concert.  So I filmed the piece and showed the sections between live dances.   The second video idea came to me only a few weeks before the concert.  I had to of the dancers dance in random places where it was not expected and I filmed myself dancing in the midst of Sarah Mangelsdorf teaching her Dance 100 class at Ball State (seen in the video above).

I made these videos with no knowledge of what Screendance really was and without any of the skills to create it.  I now understand the choices that I did make in terms of framing my shots.  I also have ideas as to what I could have easily done to enhance what I did shoot.

Two days in, the biggest thing I’ve learned is that Screendance is not just dance on video, but a whole other medium of using the body to create art.  The objective is to capture things and create effects and perspectives that you can not on a flat proscenium stage.