The dancer camera pas de deux

Lewis-Smith, C (2016) 'The dancer camera pas de deux.' In: Payri, B and Arnal, R, eds. Proceedings of the International Screendance Meeting: Valencia 2016. Editorial Universitat Politècnica de València, Valencia, pp. 29-37. ISBN 9788490485453

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Writing about her 1945 work A Study in Choreography for the Camera, Maya Deren described the film as: ‘as a film that she and dancer Talley Beatty made together’. Screendance making is, for the most part, a smaller scale and more intimate process than is the filming of dance for mainstream cinema productions, and Deren’s statement implies a sense of equality between dancer and filmmaker that would be hard to create on the set of a larger scale work. Where the film industry tends to draw on the dance community from the outside, screendance productions often take place within a community of artists with dance sensibilities. This paper proposes that, in spite of the more intimate processes that are common in screendance production, an imbalance of authorship usually persists. The camera is still in control as the senior partner, and the camera-person, the director, is usually the dominant partner, and the dancer the junior partner. Through reference to my own practice, and that of other screendance makers, this paper examines films that are shot as single takes, using a single dancer and a single camera person operating a mobile camera. These productions can favour the sense of equality that Deren suggests existed in the production of A Study in Choreography for the Camera. I propose this relationship, as a Pas de Deux, as one that engenders a unique sense of equality in production, and a subsequent viewing experience that reflects it.

Item Type: Book Chapter or Section

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Keywords: dance on camera, screendance
Subjects: N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
Divisions: Bath School of Music and Performing Arts
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Date Deposited: 28 Jul 2016 11:15
Last Modified: 15 Aug 2021 09:42
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