in Final Project, My Work, Process, Research

Frames Dancing: Dance Research and Does Screendance Need to look like Dance?

Susan Sentler provided a whole list of dance videos that I could watch and it was tremendously helpful. I’ve listed down the videos which I find useful. I’d love to use Susan’s work to start off the very first dance example/inspiration. In ‘A Preparation’, she shot dance in stills as well as still imagery of architecture. Within the film, Susan played with the duration, some quick and some slow.


  • Changing the frame of the camera as well to show relationship with the space.
  • Sounds are industrial repetitive.
  • Body movement is almost mechanical.
  • Preparing a ‘machine’, preparing the body.

I could extract some of her ideas of using still imagery and moving images in the video.

Susan Sentler – A Preparation

Steve Reich – Violin Fase
Performed by Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker

Through time, the sand gets wiped and it changes.

  • Very repetitive.
  • Very minimalistic era, minimalist art.
  • Subtle changes in differential in repetition.
  • Different shots, overhead, close frame, really tight.
  • Goes on and on and on.

Rosas Danst Rosas – Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker

Use of multiple dancers in one coordinated scene/set

Comment from Susan (In relation to the video above)

“Dance doesn’t have to have sound, because dance itself, has sound. Dance involves body, space and time. Time encapsulates rhythm, pulse, relation to music but it doesn’t have to. It works with breath which also gives a sense of time. Very gestural. Be aware of the folly sound, live sounds. Capture everything.”

William Forsythe – Solo (Choreographer)

  • Use of tight frames. 
  • Black and white.

One Flat Thing, Reproduced by William Forsythe

  • Static throughout
  • Archive film but also site specific
  • Setting up of tables is part of the dance.
  • Playing with positive and negative space, spatial content, in relation of tables and the human body.
  • Come in and out in time.
  • Only movement sound, no music at the back.

Nowhere and Everywhere by William Forsythe 

  • Created with both normal people and dancers.
  • Objects having movements, shifting to dancer, creating sense of rhythm and space.
  • Feet shot to full body shot.

HANDS by Jonathan Burrows

  • Just the hands. Close shot of the hands.
  • Repetition, subtle, soft movements.
  • Black and white to showcase lighting and intimacy.

Early Works of Trisha Brown

Post minimalist period
Activity where the dancers mount on it, and find ways to go inside the clothing and nest in it, and hang for a minute or so. Then they begin again.

  • Using multiple dancers to mimic mirror like sequences. 
  • Tight frame, different shots.

Becky Edmunds – Recall

Talking about dance. Tight frame, eyes closed, going through the movements.

Note: Could have Isabel face, and another frame is another body part, and another frame is another body part.

Rosemary Butcher – Hidden Voices

  • Fading into black to show the duration of time.
  • In and out of the light. Sort of like a frustration with the activity
  • Consider using repetition, focusing on different body parts
  • No sound

Rosemary Butcher – Body as Site

Shooting overhead, different kind of perspectives.

Underline by Surjit Nongmeikapam Bon

My favourite work out of the other films. In this video, the body becomes the architecture.

  • Using real sounds
  • From shoes to barefoot
  • Doesn’t have to be ‘the typical language of dance’. Works really well with the space



60 sec dance
60 seconds dance contest:

Condense a film to 60 seconds


More dance research (Dance Styles and Film Techniques)

Welcome Home by Spike Jonze (Contemporary Dance)

  • Interaction of the human body with the interior, environment
  • Expanding of frames
  • Use of dance double, mirror

Delicate by Joseph Kahn (Contemporary Dance)

Changing of frames – Transition from one place to another

Most of the works that Susan provided me to reference are relevant and useful. I could extract small ideas and details from each video and experiment.