A Curatorial Platform for Dance Thinking Students

During the second week of summer intensive, dance thinking students presented an online dance video to their peers, and explained how their curatorial choice related to the larger conversation within the dance discourse and/or Music Moves Festival.

Amber Hopkins – La Luna Incantata

La Luna Incantata (translated from Italian to The Enchanted Moon) is an enigmatic contribution to the world of dance film. The film was originally produced for the public television network Rai Due, and received critical acclaim at Cannes in 1992. The production is laced with stars, from prima ballerina, Alessandra Ferri, to prolific minimalist composer, Wim Mertens. Despite its experimental allure and dramatic themes, the work has fallen into relative obscurity. As such, it seems to take form after the Sardinian ruins it was filmed in. From the few fragments posted on Youtube (like this one) seven years ago, I draw the following questions:

Who is dance on television for? Perhaps this video creates an entry point for an audience that would never ordinarily see experimental approaches to ballet.

What kinds of mythology does this this work draw on? The video is visually stimulating, but it is also full of allusions to ancient tradition and popular culture for discerning viewers.

Does the placement of ballet in alternative settings invite other forms to take the stage? If pointe work is to be carried out in the dust of hypaethral remains, maybe ritual or social dances ought to grace the stages of opera houses.

What are the criteria for realizing longevity in a canon? Every time I watch these clips, I wonder why we don’t talk about this video like a De Keersmaeker (Rosas Danst Rosas was founded the same year as Merten’s opus, “The Stuggle for Pleasure”). Personally, I’m holding on to hope for a remastered version to crop up as the interest in dance film surges among a developing global audience.

Belgica Del Rio – Stronger

This film, created by Joel Daniel and Wilkie Branson of Champloo Dance Company, was chosen in response to the Music Moves Festival’s exploration between music and dance and to further Hope Mohr’s conversation about creating pure movement. The word “champloo” means “something mixed” in the Okinawa dialect and thus the choreography mixes bboy movement vocabulary with the forwarding thrusting trajectory of parkour, while the music contextualizes the journey between two men. Historically, both bboy and parkour arose in urban landscapes and have a rich history of community. A question arises, in appropriating dance forms which have rich histories, can their use create movement that is free of its usual connotations, and furthermore, can movement be made that is truly free of connotation?

Kathryn Puckett – In Flagrante

The experience of art should be an encounter with the ‘different’. For me ‘good’ art should cause you to look inside yourself and examine something within. Whether this is revisiting something you have always held as part of your values or approaching something you did not realize you were holding as a value, the point is the art made you look more closely at your point of view, your approach, your beliefs and values. Additionally this work makes a rather niche fetish more accessible. While ‘pony play’ isn’t my personal preference, this video helps me to understand what may attract others to it.

Also, in the dance thinking conversation, we’ve talked about how people want to see something that compels them to talk to someone else about it. People want to engage a social element, to relate. People also want spiritual awakening and intellectual stimulation. Depending on your experience of this video, you may experience one or the other, or even both. How did this work make you feel? Why? What does this work say about women? Would it say something different if the choreographer were a man? “I wanted to repudiate some of the orthodoxies of burlesque female sexuality; that women are capable of being bad, not just coquettish avatars,” choreographer Mary Jane O’Reilly says about In Flagrante.

Peter Cheng – Any Which Way

We were each asked to find a dance film or video that would act as a platform in which to invoke further discussion, while bringing a curatorial aspect to choice making when presenting a specific artist or set if works — similar to how the Music Moves festival encompasses a wide selection of artists, musicians, and choreographers with a through line of the varying ways music moves the body.

The video I chose poses the following question: What if Music Moves was reimagined to awaken the visual senses instead of the kinesthetic?

I was most interested in understanding: if one heard a song, could it evoke specific images, colors, or textures? How does one see music? Are there visual cues or references that one senses given a familiar score by Mozart versus a contrasting score by Bjork?

In my personal opinion, in this video, you’ll likely find nuanced parallels with Dance Heginbotham’s “Twin”, the experimental – and at times nonsensical – Dandelion Dance Theatre, or the song will make you want to just get down and boogie like Keith Terry and Corposonic (or like Christy did when I first previewed the video in class this week). While you watch, I encourage you to reflect on how you see music.




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