Performing the Dance/Screen Duet:

A Phenomenological Analysis of the Integration of Video Technology into Live Contemporary Modern Dance Performance

A thesis submitted to the Department of Dance of The College at Brockport, State University of New York, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Fine Arts.


ABSTRACT: For decades now, dance artists have managed to continually invent and uncover new ways of merging technology with movement, allowing man to dance with machine. However, what happens when a human and a computer share the stage? Is it still a solo, or does it become a duet? How is dancing with a two- dimensional image different than dancing with a living, breathing body? Does the dancer control the technology or does it control her? What is she experiencing throughout that partnership? It is through this lens of considering dancers’ lived experiences that I approach my research. By placing dancers’ embodied experiences at the forefront, this paper employs phenomenological analysis to investigate the following question: What happens when dancers and technology interact with and respond to one another on stage? Individual phenomenologies will be conducted on seven dances in order to gain a broader understanding of how dancers and technology interact with each other on stage. The results of this research reveal trends related to the lived experiences of the dancers inside of each technological consideration. Ultimately, how dancers are situated in relationship to technology influences the sense of personal agency experienced by the performers, the implications of which should be considered by all art-makers who use the human body as a medium.

Dancing Cameras: An Analysis of the Use of the Moving Camera in Video Dance
The III International Meeting of Screendance, Valencia, Spain, September 2016
The College at Brockport Scholars Day, Brockport, NY, April 2016 [excerpt only]


ABSTRACT: Advances in video technology over the past fifty years have led to a surge in popularity of the genre of dance known as video dance. Video dance includes any dance made specifically for the camera, so while it does necessitate that the dance itself is filmed, it should also be dependent upon the medium of video through elements such as moving cameras, close ups, video editing, and special effects. It is the first of these elements—the use of a moving camera—that I seek to further investigate, as making a video dance often requires more choreography than just the movement of the dancers. I will first consider the greater historical context of both dance and film in the 1960s that led to the wide-spread emergence of this hybrid field. I will then establish a foundation in film theory in order to examine general filmmaking strategies, focusing predominantly on those involving the use of a moving camera. Finally, I will analyze the ways in which these techniques are utilized in video dance and the impact they have on the physical choreography of the dancers.

Dance on Camera: Engaging Students Through the Integration of Dance and Technology
Tufts University-Wide Teaching Conference on “Inclusive Excellence: Teaching and Learning in an Increasingly Interconnected World,” Co-Presenter with Jaclyn Waguespack, Medford, MA, May 2016

EXCERPT FROM TUFTS INNOVATES! GRANT PROPOSAL: What is Dance on Camera? Dance on Camera, also referred to around the world as dance on screen, videodance, dancefilm, or screendance, is a visual and kinesthetic experience in the form of a film or video work. Dance on Camera prioritizes dance over conventional dialogue and acting to tell a story or convey an idea. Dance on Camera is itself, an innovative genre in the field of dance and has made radical developments with the advancement of technology over the past few years. This grant proposal is centered around the teaching and learning in the Dance on Camera course taught by Jaclyn Waguespack through the Department of Drama and Dance. [...] The overall expected outcome for the Dance on Camera course and for this experience [is] to improve digital and media literacy among Tufts students through the integration of movement and dance, and the use of advanced digital video technologies.  Several methods including, but not limited to, written assignments, video projects, reflection papers, viewings and class discussion, questions, observations and digital portfolios [will be] utilized.

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Cassie Burns / CB Dance Project

Home Photo: Cassie Burns | Header Photo: Matt Yeoman