An open letter to the videodance community

I have just started the 3rd week of Move the Frame blog, and I am completely amazed at the impact and reach it’s already had. It’s exhilarating and a bit nerve-wracking having an open forum like this, but I can tell by the comments I’ve received that it is a much needed outlet about a subject many people have passion for.

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Mid-court line in a Brooklyn park, Photo: B. Brooks

On Tuesday I received a few more amazing comments on my post “A Wiki barn-raising for videodance.” Those, along with all the other comments I’ve received thus far, have sparked a conversation that is fueling the growth and advancement of this form. This dialogue among all members of the community – new and old, experienced and novice, amateur and professional, viewer and artist – is exactly what I hoped to achieve with this blog. If I appear to have any sort of agenda, I hope this is it: I want to see videodance flourish both on small scales and large scales, above ground and underground, be made and enjoyed by all people. Ultimately this vision is a subsidiary of my greater hope, which is to help move dance as a whole into a position of greater prominence, participation, and presence in the cultural landscape.


What is so exciting (and perhaps frightening) about these times is that hopeless idealists like myself have at their disposal one of the biggest social networking platforms ever: the internet. Like everyone else, I’m just experimenting with what one can do with this incredibly powerful tool, but what continually amazes me is how quickly things can manifest here. A week ago when I posted “A Wiki barn-raising for videodance” I was wondering where does the average person go to find out information? How can we make ourselves (this community and art form) more available and accessible to this person? Already my call has been answered, and news is spreading throughout the established videodance community. I am thrilled about this, and to hear that it will be addressed at the next Opensource:{video-dance} 2007 Symposium in Scotland. Details about this fantastic gathering of artists, academics, curators and producers can be found at the Video Dance Forum Blog.

This form (videodance/screendance/dance film/whatever you call it) has been around for a long time, and was present at the very birth of the motion picture. I don’t know at what point in history practitioners of the form became aware of what they were doing as a separate facet of film from other genres. This moment is shrouded in mystery for me and I would love to know if anyone out there that has done the research has an answer. It seems to me that the key to our future and our ability to tell the world what we do is to know our origins. This is why I wanted to propose to the community to create an article on Wikipedia. Right now I see many new people encountering videodances and becoming curious about this form. It is a wonderful thing to see, however I also see many of them unaware of the legacy of the form, especially when they pick up a video camera and start to experiment themselves, innocently trying to reinvent the wheel.

I’m very grateful for the comments I’ve received and the great suggestions proposed. I encourage you all to go to the Wikipedia article I’ve started and make your edits! If we all chip in with our knowledge, research, and connections we can build a comprehensive, informative, and educational article of great value both to our established community and new people just encountering the form. I’m sure there is much debate and hashing out of ideas still to be done, but I look forward to joining the dance and seeing where this moves us all.

With great respect and thanks,
Anna

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3 Responses to An open letter to the videodance community

  1. Shoshana Rose says:

    Dear Anna,

    Another FABULOUS post today–da** you are amazing and fast! Do you sleep? LOL!

    Personally I would like to see an article/blog about videodance as a saleable, passive-income earning commercial product. I mentioned this before in a comment and think that it is an important aspect of what can be done with videodance productions; even amateur videos.

    In the Israeli Folk Dance community*, the choreographers videotape and sell their dances, distributing them around the world to IFD teachers. There are over 7000 original IFDances to date, and dozens more added to the list every month. Rather cultish. If you ask me, IFD is a religion!

    Nonetheless, it is perhaps a model (of sorts) for choreographers of other genres, to possibly model their videodance approach after? Not sure on this one, because I am not certain that the average dance enthusiast would *pay* for an instructional dance video?

    I would like to see the videodance revolution become a viable income source for dancers in all their various fields.

    What say you?

    http://www.bekalut.com/ifdvideos.html

  2. Anna Brady Nuse says:

    Great comment Shoshana. I am definitely interested in ways to generate revenue for videodance-makers and dancers of all types through videodance. Tomorrow’s post will deal with this somewhat.

    Thanks for the link to the IFD database of web videos, these are great! My husband was very excited by this, he grew up doing all those dances. His parents met doing Eastern European and Middle Eastern folk dances in the 60’s. You just can’t help but smile when you do these dances. Thanks for sharing.

    And yes, I’m not getting enough sleep these days. Running a blog is a lot of work! I think I need to post for a blog-walker. Someone to feed it and let it out to play with other blogs while I’m at work all day!

  3. Anna, perhaps you would like to join the IFDance yahoo group? You can introduce yourself/your blog, and open a discussion about your passion for videodance and tell about your project/s.

    There are a lot of highly intelligent and friendly Jewish dancers on the group, from all over the world. They might be inspired to say quite a lot on the subject of videodance, I can’t say for sure? But I think it’s a great connection for you to have for your dance blog.

    Here’s the link to the group
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/rikud/

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