A Wiki Barn-raising for videodance

Move the Frame hand

If you are interested in learning about something where do you go first? In my case and for millions of others, we look it up on Wikipedia. Just about everything in the known universe that anyone has ever cared to think about is there. Being a user-generated site, the more interest there is in a subject the more comprehensive the Wikipedia articles on it will be. And the theory goes that this makes their encyclopedia more trust-worthy, up-to-date, and objective than any other reference source around, because it’s constantly being checked and edited by its users.

So I decided to look up my area of interest which is videodance.  Immediately I ran into a problem, because while I call this genre videodance, there are at least 5 other names it is known by (see my first entry “What’s in a Name” for further discussion on this dilemma).


I decided to go with my first pick anyway, and I looked up videodance. Results: One entry for the Thessaloniki Video Dance Festival in Greece. That’s cool, but it only tells me about one festival of about 150 that show videodance work. I still don’t know what videodance is. At the bottom of that entry the only link for further information is the film festival’s official website. I’d hit a dead end.

Now my cockles were up. Do so few people care about this type of work that there is only one article on Wikipedia, and it’s not even about the art form, it’s a promotional blurb for a film festival? Why is there no information about this genre which is as old as film itself, has a huge and illustrious body of work from some of the world’s most prestigious filmmakers and choreographers, and could possibly revolutionize the entire art form of dance for the 21st Century?!

Before spontaneously combusting, I looked up the other known names for the genre (dance film, screendance, cinedance, kinodance, dance for camera). These also produced very poor results. “Dance film” and “Dance for camera” were the only searches that came up with any real articles and they both seemed to be written by single authors who have very obvious
agendas.

OK, my mission was becoming clear. It was time to put my wiki where my mouth is!

I’m proposing a Wikipedia barn-raising for videodance.

We need to get some info up there and quick!  I will start an article on “videodance” and post a link to it here on this blog. I encourage every one of you who has ever worked in this form, or had an opinion about it to comment here with your suggestions and thoughts. Once the article is started please go up there and edit it (or start one under your own genre name of choice, but be sure to link to the others), share your
knowledge and keep this going until we get a full, comprehensive, coherent, evolving, and useful set of articles up there that anyone with a spark of interest in this subject can refer to and get some answers.

Please help raise this art form up and spread the word!

As inspiration, below is one of my favorite videodances which always puts a smile on my face and reminds me of why I think this genre is so f***king phenonemal…

“Weapon of Choice” Fat Boy Slim, dir. Spike Jonze

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9 Responses to A Wiki Barn-raising for videodance

  1. As we use our energies to promote dance via video technology, let us remember to define the goal of our work.

    For me, as a self-declared “Dance Missionary”, the ultimate goal is to see a revival of community dancing; of the type that is done in a spirit of love and goodwill.

    I’m all with ya on the building of your wiki articles/video barn raising. I tried once to edit an article on that site, but to no avail; it’s tricky. Perhaps you can provide a link in your blog, directing readers to information on how build wiki articles, edit, add info, etc?

    Thank you for your sharp, observant mind, and for all of your well written, inspiring blogs!

    YOU ROCK!

    shoshana rose

  2. Anna Brady Nuse says:

    Thanks for the great suggestion Shoshana. I have never started a wikipedia entry before, or edited one, so I will be learning as I go as well. I will definitely share my tips and experiences here to help others contribute to the article. I agree that it is important to stay high-minded in this pursuit and keep the needs of the community in mind. One thing I have great faith in is the community aspect of wikipedia, and that through the input of lots of people a truthful glimpse into a subject can be revealed. We all have our personal agendas, I know I certainly do. However I don’t plan on being the sole author of this article. Only by having multiple voices will we create something of use and relevance for the advancement of this form.

    Good luck spreading the gospel of dance!

  3. Dancepiration says:

    So Anna,

    Regarding videodance and wiki, do you think they (wiki) would let us write articles about living artists, linking the bios to our articles on videodance?

    One of the goals of my ‘dance missionary’ efforts, is the promotion of dancers, dance teachers, choreographers, and the like. I think that more living artists should have wikipedian articles written about them.

    One of the rules on wiki, is that they do not allow the writing of autobiographies. So I thought that if people like you and I, could become wikipedians, we could offer to write biographies of living artists. In this case, dance related artists. Why wait until someone is dead?

    shimmies,
    shoshana

  4. Anna Brady Nuse says:

    Hi Shosana,

    Yes, you can link to any articles about a person, place, or thing that is in Wikipedia by creating an internal link. In their formatting code you can make an internal link simply by double bracketing around the word. So for instance if I’m talking about Maya Deren I just need to type [[Maya Deren]] and it will automatically show up as a link that will connect to the Wikipedia article on her.

    There are already a lot of articles on people living and dead in Wikipedia. You should search for them in Wikipedia first, and if they don’t show up than you could start articles on them. This could be a full-time job! Also, if you don’t have the time and energy to write articles on everyone you want to see up there, you can just create a stub, as I have done with the videodance article and it will alert people that the article needs to be expanded.

  5. Karen Pearlman says:

    Hi Anna,
    Been to the videodance entry on wikipedia, nice work getting it going! I added a link to an article I wrote called ‘a dance of definitions’ about the ADF Screendance conference in 06, which starts out with the question of what to call it! (http://www.realtimearts.net/article/issue74/8164) Probably a good idea to link to the DFA Journal, Katrina MacPhereson’s book, and Capture, too? Hope you’re well, and lots of people join in your efforts!
    Karen
    p.s. I definitely prefer screendance to videodance as one might work in digital media or film rather than video, and ‘screendance’ doesn’t nail the form to a specific format (though it does nail it to a screen!). Also, I suspect that video media won’t be with us much longer – it will all be straight to disc!

  6. Definitely we need to get something up that is clear on Wikipedia. I pasted in below what we have on the education page for DFA. Could some of this be helpful in terms of posting on Wikipedia.

    What is a dance film?
    Purely speaking, a dance film is one in which dance and film/video are both integral to a work. This simple definition separates dance films from archival records of stage or site specific dance compositions. The makers of dance films consider the placement and movement of the camera, the lighting, the balance of foreground and background, and the composition within the framing of each shot in the overall choreography. A dance film can take many forms: documentary, dance designed for the camera, a screen adaptation of a stage work, animation, or kinetic abstraction.

    “The dominant principle (behind directing a dance video) is curiosity, fascination, investigating concepts, preparedness, identity and ultimately personal style. There is a deep sense of planning, motivated by structure, vocabulary, environment and trusting your intuition and instinct.”
    says the award-winning Belgian director Thierry de Mey

    The essential difference between an archival record of a stage work and what we are referring to as a dance film, a dance for the camera, is the involvement of the choreographer in a collaboration with the videographer or filmmaker.

    How can I educate myself about dance for the camera?

    If you are a dancer, the next time you hire a videographer to make a video of your performance, spend as much time with him/her as you would with a lighting designer. But before that meeting, start breaking down for yourselves what is the key movement vocabulary of your work. Communicating how you see your work to someone else is crucial to building a collaboration. If you are a filmmaker, try to see the work in rehearsal before you do a shoot and ask to see other videos of their work. Ask the choreographer to talk to you about his/her intentions and to give you a sense of what they deem important and how they see their work.

    If you are a filmmaker, start by getting to know dancers and choreographers. Learn about their world. Examine how patterns of energy are directed in commercials and action films. Look and feel the rhythms around you in urban and rural environments.

    Que es danza en cámara?

    Cualquier forma – documental, narrativo, animación, grabación de un espectáculo; danza en cámara es una integración de imagen y movimiento, una integración de la tradición de cine y las tradiciones de la danza. Danza en cámara puede mostrar – con mas facilidad que un espectáculo vivo – sol y sombra, los dos lados de cualquier realidad, y los contextos de las ideas. Y por eso, lo mejor de la danza en cámara es que como la poesía, es una abstracción o una esencia,… como un buen vino.

    Why should I study dance on camera?

    The innovations of technology are so accessible and inexpensive now that dance on camera is becoming a new language universally understood. A global network of dance film festivals is opening up and film festivals are also celebrating dance on camera as a genre to be honored.

    On a practical level, dancers need to have audition videos; dance companies need videos to represent them on-line and at booking conferences. With a wide frame of media reference, dancers can greatly improve their videos to make them stand out above the competition.

    Serious, meaty subjects are often the substance behind many of the dance on camera titles these days. The films are filled with unusual collaborations between artists from extremely different cultures and circumstances. While capturing the joy of dance and its ephemeral spirit, the filmmakers also tackles knotty problems such as identity, showing how dance on camera can contribute towards global understanding.

    Still and moving images of dance can be profound, and timeless. A filmmaker can incorporate the imagination of the dancer to restore that dimension “lost” in archiving a live performance. Making a film with the intent to enlighten the viewer as to the context of the choreography may add layers, often inaccessible to viewers of stage dance. Why not explore on film what cannot be expressed in a live performance.

    Taking dance beyond the proscenium stage, the dance filmmaker can naturally include nature’s dance, the rhythms of emotions and environments. The viewer is led into a world directed by poetic and abstract thinking.

    For an overview of the art, read papers from Screendance: State of the Art Proceedings sponsored by American Dance Festival: http://www.videodance.org.uk

  7. Dear Anna Brady Nuse,

    In the community of people related to dance film and videodance I used to be part of, there was respect, friendship and support to each other’s work. Does blogging annulate the above? “Promotional blurb for a film festival”, is not the phrase one should use for an article explaining what a festival is, even if this was the only article you found in Wickipedia related to videodance.
    I don’t really know who mounted this article about the festival I run in Wickipedia, but whoever did it, should be thanked, because this festival is part of history – something you probably would like to ignore as I can see in the frame you have already posted on Wickipedia “videodance” page. One page for each dance and film or media and dance festival in Wickipedia does not prohibit having a separate page about the genre or the category.
    Visiting the site of this festival is according to you a “dead end”. According to me it should be a beginning. You have probably not taken the time to do it, as in the archive of this site, in the first, educational editions of the festival, you would have found theoretical texts defining what videodance is and proposing a historical review. More texts about videodance history and its defining parameters as a genre can be found in other festivals’ sites or in related sites like videodance.org.uk.
    Your idea, to propose to all interested parties to write an article on videodance is probably emerging from your good will, but I think it is the wrong policy to alter a Wickipedia page without asking people involved first – even more so, since my e-mail address is public and you could have easily let me know or asked. Since you referred to it this way in your comment, I suppose you are the one who changed the title of the Wickipedia page about my festival into “Thessaloniki VideoDance festival”, which is completely wrong. First of all this is not the official title of the festival, anyway. Second, it is not even held in Thessaloniki. This festival is being held mainly in Athens and it has only been funded by an organisation called the Thessaloniki International Film Festival. So, if you are the one who changed the title of this article (which up to now was “VideoDance” only), I will kindly ask you to log in again and change it into “VideoDance festival, Greece”. If it is not you, excuse my suggestion and please advise how this can be corrected.

    As far as it concerns the idea of an article written in common by whoever would like to contribute, it is quite romantic, but I am afraid the result will be a superficial approach full of common places, with no historical perspective and opinion. As an art historian, I still believe in historians and in commitment in writing an essay. I suppose one could have found a general article in the already published litterature and asked permission and copyright to post it. Or, even better, one could ask the community to decide to assign to an involved specialist – who would of course have the time and would accept – to do it.
    Finally, I will permit myself to add three common places to this blog:
    a. Democracy is a scheme, the products of which depend on the good or ill use.
    b. Méfiez-vous des bénévols!
    c. May Gods save us (and history) from good-will fanatics

    Regards

    Christiana Galanopoulou
    VideoDance festival artistic director

  8. Blanco says:

    Check this:
    http://es.groups.yahoo.com/group/filmdance/
    Is a group I created to discuss exactly this the definition of videodance: I called it filmdance because of a romantic idea of an specific format. And because nowadays it already has got more… Glamour?.

  9. Anna Brady Nuse says:

    Excuse the quick reply, I will write more soon… But to address Christiana’s concerns about the wikipedia entry on the Videodance Festival, no I did not change the name of that article. That was how I found it when I searched “videodance” two weeks ago. You can edit any part of a wikipedia article that you wish. Simply register with them and click “edit” on the article you want to change. There is a place where you can explain what kinds of edits you made so that other editors can go back and see how the article has been changed. I don’t think there is any problem changing an article’s title, but I haven’t done that type of edit before.

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