Dance on screen:

Rapt, Dance on Camera Festival 2007

Rapt, Dance on Camera Festival 2007 © the artists

RealTime is a leader in developing critical writing around dance screen in all its various manifestations. Dance Screen is a relatively new term that has replaced others such as videodance, describing a much broader field of practice than the single screen works that established the field through television and dedicated festivals in the 80s. In typical style, choreography has demanded much more of the two-dimensional screen than videodance allowed, forcing a shift to multiple screens and then interactive environments, forging new experimental partnerships with science and emerging technologies.

RealTime has published reviews of individual films and installation exhibitions, coverage of local and overseas festivals, profiles on major new media/science projects in the field, and interviews with leading artists. In so doing, it has helped establish dance screen not only here in Australia, but internationally. As both a writer and curator in this field I appreciate the rigorous discussion RealTime has encouraged on dance screen and the regularity of commissions and comprehensiveness of the coverage. Festivals and related institutions provide links to RealTime on their websites and it has thus become a significant resource for collecting and exchanging information.

More importantly, RealTime has progressed debates on a form that is morphing much more rapidly than often lumbering theoretical discourse. Along with English language critical activity in the 80s in the US and the UK in the 1990s, this archive represents a concerted effort to develop and circulate writing on choreography and the screen, and joins the work of Opensource [videodance] in the UK and Screendance conferences at Duke University in the US in providing a platform from which things can progress.

Major festivals such as the Austrian-based IMZ Dance Screen, Moves in Manchester, Dance on Camera in New York and iDN in Barcelona form the backbone of this archive as these festivals and their committed directors have really advocated for, and framed the parameters of, this slippery interdisciplinary form. Significant space is also given to Australia’s ReelDance Festival with coverage from a broad variety of writers. Also important are interviews with key artists such as UK-based David Hinton and Gina Czarnecki, New Zealander Daniel Belton, and Australians Margie Medlin, Gideon Obarzanek and Sue Healey. These in-depth discussions provide an invaluable resource as case studies for inclusion in teaching and learning about the form.

While the archive includes articles written by experts in this field such as the UK-based artist and curator, Chirstinn Whyte, this body of writing also represents the work of many emerging, local writers who tackle this interdisciplinary relative of dance, providing critical feedback for Australian artists and curators.
Erin Brannigan

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