More Moving Pictures

Feature in Issue 17-2 | Summer 2005

Dance film (aka screen-based dance and various other monikers) has grown in recent years to become a major area of work for many movement-based artists, both nationally and internationally, as evidenced by the growing number of screenings, festivals, competitions and awards.

One such award, Capture, is Arts Council England's screen-based dance production fund – managed on behalf of ACE by independent producer Portland Green. The artists chosen by the Capture panel all bring new developments to the relationship between dance and the screen, which is one of the priorities of the Capture strand.

One of the innovations is that practices in dance and the moving image are developing beyond single screen / broadcast-friendly format and themes – and Capture offers an opportunity for artists (rather than funders or programmers) to 'define the screen'.

'Artists are exploring new screens, new spaces and more contemporary issues,' says Portland Green, who feels that part of her role as a creative producer is to explore new distribution and exhibition models for dance and the moving image. 'The increased take-up of DVD internationally, the continuing proliferation of broadcast outlets and increased broadband speeds make the possible distribution outlets for dance and the moving image very exciting,' she says.

Arts Council England has recently announced the names of the recipients of the Capture4 awards. The commissioned works will be premiered at the ICA London, The New Art Gallery Walsall, and a SCAN venue in early 2006. The artists receiving Capture awards include: Ravi Deepres and Saburo Teshigawara; Ricochet Dance Productions and Goat; Keith Armstrong and Charlotte Vincent (who have been awarded the ICA / Arts Council England co-commission award); and Billy Cowie and Liz Aggiss (who have been awarded the New Art Gallery Walsall / Arts Council England co-commission award).

Cowie and Aggiss are pioneers of this strand of practice in the UK. The University of Brighton Dance/Music/Theatre with Visual Arts BA that they have been associated with for many years has produced many artists who create screen-based dance or who incorporate film/video into their work – including our featured artist/diarist Miriam King. South East National Dance Agency acknowledged and supported this emerging strand of practice by creating the Dance 4 Camera and Take 2 commissions

The Dance 4 Camera International Screenings 2004 showed a wonderfully eclectic selection of new work – including Becky Edmunds' delightful Have You Started Dancing Yet? an investigation into the very nature of dance; the extraordinary Icelandic film Burst which features a physically exuberant bedroom-battle between a couple and their burst pipe, and Magnetic North by Miranda Pennell, a soulful evocation of teenage melancholy and desire – a girl skating on a frozen lake, a boy strumming a guitar-played out against a beautifully choreographed landscape of trees, buildings and snowy fields.

The Dance 4 Camera pilot commission was won by hybrid circus/theatre/dance artists Lyndsey Butcher and John-Paul Zaccarini working with filmmaker Carl Stevenson. The pilot shots for From Where I'm Standing showed interesting possibilities around the theme of restraint, constraint, passion and perspective – a mix of aerial dance and tango set in and around a large box structure and using bungee ropes and harnesses. The resulting commissioned work will form part of Butcher's forthcoming Gravity and Levity show Taking Flight (touring May-June 2005), and will be premiered as a standalone film at the major bi-annual international IMZ dance screen festival and competition which this year comes to the UK.

This major event, taking place June 2005, includes dance films and dance videos from around the world, world premiere special screenings plus site-specific works and installations, discussions, lectures, and multimedia activities.

THE CAPTURE INSTALLATIONS TOUR recently toured venues around the country. The tour included seven installations from Capture 1, 2 and 3. See

SCAN is a new media arts agency with a commitment to the delivery and facilitation of collaborative projects and initiatives using emergent technologies and practices. See

DANCE SCREEN 2005, IMZ's 10th International Competitive Festival for dance film & video, takes place 16-19 June 2005 in Brighton. The competition covers five categories: live performance relay, camera re-work, screen choreography, documentary and DVD release. Competition rules and details of how to submit an entry will be posted at and a full programme will be available on the South East Dance website.

SOUTH EAST DANCE is known nationally and internationally for its excellent work in dance film and video, including the Take 2 commissions. They have built a national network for the screening of dance film and video and are currently working in collaboration with both Capture and IMZ. See

Additional research and reporting by Dorothy Max Prior.

This article in the magazine

Issue 17-2
p. 10 - 11