The Power of Dance and Film
By Elyssa Berg
Choreography, when combined with different mediums can create incredible results. It allows for a chance to create something in which each element would not be able to stand alone. Dance for film is an example of just that. When you combine film work and dance you are able to create things that can not be created for the stage, which opens up many doors creatively.
As a choreographer, I have found a great interest in creating not only work for the stage but also for film. The process can be quite different than that of creating a piece for the stage. When I find myself creating or preparing a new piece there is a lot more preparation time involved. You have to think of each moment in the film; the shot, the movement, what the environment is like, how the shots and the cuts are driven by the music, and much more. This involves a lot less studio rehearsal and a lot more planning and testing when it comes to the actual creation of the piece.
For myself, the most exciting part of choreographing for dance film is having complete power of exactly what the audience is seeing. By deciding the frame of each shot you are in control of what the audience's exact focus is, which is not always achievable when creating work for the stage.
You also have control of the entire environment that affects the film. This gives you great artistic power in your creation. You choose the lighting, the location, the weather or time of day you want to film in, and you can add elements that might not be accessible to the stage. For example, in dance films that I have created I have used elements that interest me such as water, dirt, and architecture. All of which I wouldn't easily be able to use in work that I want to present on a concert stage. Each of these choices of the environment is another choreographic decision that you would make and through these the lines of what is considered dance/movement can begin to blur.
A dance film doesn't always have to look like what we may all think of as "dance". A dance film could be every day movements, or actions, or maybe it has nothing to do with bodies and instead the movement of objects, nature, or even animals. The one constant in all of these possibilities is the filming of movement. To me this is quite exciting as it gives viewers a different perspective of what dance can look like. This is also a chance for artists to reach a wider audience as films and videos, especially in this time of technology, are more accessible than going to a theater to see a performance.