Modern or Classical? Two Opposing Styles That Seem to be Merging in New Dance Media

We are about to embark upon the fourth week of our Videodance Contest, and as always, we greatly appreciate all the creativity and effort given by the artists who have submitted so far. If you have yet to participate, we strongly encourage you to do so, or nominate the work of others for a chance to receive publicity and feedback among this burgeoning community. Scroll below for information on next week’s theme, “Summer or Winter.” Submissions are due by Tuesday June 23rd, and the contest winners will be announced here on June 26th.

Modern or Classical

This week’s theme was Modern or Classical as it applies to the styles of filming, choreography, and music. We discovered in viewing the submissions, that there were a great deal of gray areas in trying to categorize a piece under one specific style. If a piece was comprised of both choreography and music that was highly classical, but used a filming technique that was hi-tech or contemporary, which category did it fall into? What about if the dancing style was modern, but the piece was filmed using a strictly classical technique? We found that it was often tricky to determine which style predominantly overshadowed the other in each work. Out of this ambiguity one submission emerged that we felt represented both styles strongly and in equal measure.

Our winner for both categories this week is…

“Arabesque” by Peter William Holden


While the complicated technology used to create the kinetic sculpture in this video seems to categorize it as a modern work, other aspects of the film are highly classical. For starters, the piece is choreographed to the renowned Blue Danube Waltz by Johann Strauss. Additionally, the kaleidoscopic choreography that Holden creates with the mechanical arms and legs, as well as the aerial camera view, are reminiscent of Busby Berkley’s classic films. Holden’s innovative dance video combines classical film and choreographic styles with modern elements such as the technology needed to operate and coordinate the sculpture. Therefore, this video is both highly modern and classical.

Refreshingly, this is the first video we’ve showcased that was made by an artist from a visual arts background. We love to see artists of all disciplines working with kinetic forms and media. Video artists, animators, installation artists, and film-makers of all kinds are encouraged and invited to submit their work!

About the artist:

Peter William Holden was born in a decaying post industrial town in Northern England in 1970, and from an early age became fascinated with moving imagery, transformation and technology.

The abstract pixels of the 1980’s home computer gave him a glimpse into the wonderful world of mathematics. Early Electro and Hip-Hop with its synthetic sound introduced him to the complex dance routines of break-dance and acquainted him with the beauty of choreographed movement. These and countless more experiences are incorporated in his installations in a collage of movement, light and sound.

His work has been exhibited at various international events Ars Electronica, Linz. Technologically Expanded Dance, Lisbon. Kapelica Gallery, Ljubljana. e-Arts, Shanghai. boDig 08, Istanbul. Vooruit, Gent. Cinéma Le Miroir, Marseilles. More info:

We would like to open up some questions to our audience regarding Classical versus Modern Styles.

  • Do you prefer Classical or Modern Styles?
  • Do you feel that you work in a particular style, or a combination of styles?
  • Do you think that videos of Classical styles or Modern styles work better for online viewing?  For example, Classical dance styles often value symmetry and a balanced composition, and tend to be more story-based.  On the other hand, Modern dance styles often showcase abstract themes, such as social and political views, and movement that is based in individual expression and having the artistic product relay that intellectual or emotional process.
  • Do you find more Classical style dance companies using technology to post their works online than Modern styles?  Why might there be a difference?

We would love to hear your comments.

Next Week’s Categories for Movement Media’s Online Video Dance Contest

Theme Four: Summer or Winter

Submissions are due by June 23rd.

Winners will be announced on Move the Frame on June 26th.

We felt that in honor of the first day of summer, it would be fun to explore the theme Summer or Winter, and if you live in the Northeast U.S. it is actually feeling more wintery these days than summery…This is a theme that can be very literally interpreted, but at the same time presents the potential to inspire a vast array of site-specific works. We are looking for any interpretation that you may have of summer or winter. Does a film fall into the category of summer simply because it is filmed in a warm location? Can a sense of warmth between individuals evoke a feeling of summer? Does cold weather immediately classify a film as winter? Often a site specific piece can unintentionally be classified into one of these two themes. While we created this theme with the intention of focusing mostly on the location of each film and how it is incorporated into the piece or why it is chosen, we are open to any interpretation that you may offer us. Just make sure to tell us which category the work falls under and why.


* Submissions may be made by anyone – artists, film makers, and anyone who knows of online videos that fit the weekly themes.
* The video submitted must be under 10 minutes long.
* Pick/Submit one video to represent only one of the weekly themes.
* Send the link of the video to Movement Media
* The video submitted needs to be embeddable, ie hosted on YouTube or another sharable online video platform.
* Include a short biography/artist statement (if it is your work).
* For every submission, include a short summary that describes why you have chosen a particular video for the contest and describe how it relates to the weekly theme.
* Include a brief synopsis of the video.
* Include a link to your website (if you have one)
* Include your email address
Email all information to
If your submission is chosen for the weekly contest, we will contact you directly

Impetus for Contest Participants

* Have your videos seen by an online audience who’s interested in movement-based video.
* Receive publicity for your work/work of others
* Receive comments and feedback
* Automatic consideration for live screening at Kinetic Cinema in NYC.
* Automatic consideration for Movement Media’s Online Dance Film Festival in September 2009 (information and submission guidelines to be announced in late June).

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