This Week’s Contest Winners: Summer or Winter

Thank you to everyone who has submitted or nominated work for our contest thus far. If you haven’t participated yet, there are plenty more chances to submit your work or nominate the work of others. Below we have posted a list of the themes for the month of July. Next week’s theme is “Rehearsal or Performance.” All submissions are due by June 30th, and the contest winners will be announced on July 3rd. Please scroll to the bottom of this post for more information on how to submit.

This week, as a tribute to the first days of summer, we explored the theme, “Summer or Winter.” Here in the Northeast United States at least, summer has not really been evident yet. We’ve had weeks of rain and coolish temperatures. Solstice was marked by more of the same. While no one relishes sweltering heat and humidity, it would still be nice to know if summer is ever going to arrive… Against this strange weather back-drop, it was delightful to watch the submissions for this week, which were unambiguously rooted in their appointed seasons.

Most of the works we received were site-specific and dealt with the elemental nature of the seasons. Others took an abstract/conceptual approach, and explored the inner psychological states of winter (isolation, sparseness, coldness) and summer (nurturing, abundance, warmth). For us, this pair of themes seemed like a good opportunity to acknowledge the attraction dancers have to making site-specific videos. One of the first things most dancers do with a camera is to escape the studio and the stage, and go outside to dance. Who can resist frolicking in the grass or rolling in the snow? Dancers are endlessly fascinated with trying to capture the experience of moving and interacting with the natural world. Just like most poems are about nature, most dance films are too. As humans, we tend to think that we are separate from the rest of the animal kingdom, but our biology seems to belie this belief. Dancers, being more grounded in their bodies than most, are particularly attuned to the wild/animal sides of our natures. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that they use the camera to practice their craft closer to the elements that truly inspire them to move.

Without further ado, the winners this week are…

“Thaw” by Marta Renzi to represent the winter category


“Summer Day Daily Dance” by Lee Atwell to represent the summer category.

“Thaw” by Marta Renzi

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Thaw“, posted with vodpod

“Thaw” emanates a sense of winter through every aspect of the piece from the landscape and lighting to the choreography. The bare trees and wintry colors accentuated by the lighting of the film render a bleak portrayal of the season, as well as the earthly magic that a thawing winter creates. The film explores the fluidity and beauty that emerges from the seemingly lifeless frigidity of winter. The gracefulness of the dancers’ movements accompanied by their long flowing costumes personifies the melting of the ice. Additionally, the use of the swan, a symbolically graceful animal, further emphasizes the constant flow of the seasonal cycles.

Marta Renzi’s first dance video was YOU LITTLE WILD HEART, a half-hour for PBS, to music by Bruce Springsteen, made for the WGBH New Television Workshop in 1981. In 1989, collaborating with independent filmmaker John Sayles, she made MOUNTAINVIEW, for Alive From Off-Center. Many years after those well-funded projects, Renzi began self-producing video dances in 2005. They have shown in festivals nationally, internationally and on the web.

“Summer Day Daily Dance” by Lee Atwell

Similarly to “Thaw”, this video portrays an deep relationship with the landscape and embraces the spirit of summer. Although initially the camera is focused on Atwell, as the view pans up, it captures the absolute beauty of the surroundings. This video doesn’t try to make a statement or define summer in a particular way. Rather, it embraces the ever-shifting presence of the moment, a core value of the Eastern inspired Butoh dance form that Atwell practices.

Lee Atwell writes: i am new to dance and butoh (less than 6 months experience), and my mentor is maureen ‘momo’ freehill who created ‘daily dance’ honoring 50 years of butoh in 2009.  i have been dancing daily and recording them since the beginning of january of this year. it is my hope and intention to embody the soul through this incredible creative expression.

Let us know what you think about site-specific dance videos, this week’s winners, and anything else you’d like to share!

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

Theme: Rehearsal or Performance

Submissions are due by Tuesday June 30th.

Winners will be announced on Move the Frame on Friday July 3rd.

Video is an important part of most dancers’ rehearsal processes, as well as documenting the finished work in performance. Sometimes, when approached creatively and with attention, the documentation becomes a work of art in itself. We are seeking interesting ways of capturing rehearsals and performances on video. Please let us know which category your video applies to, 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 UMOVE, Movement Media’s Online Dance Film Festival in October 2009 (information and submission guidelines to be announced in early July).


Week one: Rehearsal or Performance
Submissions due by June 30th. Weekly Contest winners will be announced on July 3rd.

Week two: Classroom or Stage
Submissions due by July 7th. Weekly Contest winners will be announced on July 10th.

Week three: Private or Public
Submissions due by July 14th. Weekly Contest winners will be announced on July 17th.

Week four: Pop Dance Phenomenon
Submissions due by July 21st. Weekly Contest winners will be announced on July 24th.

The final week of July will be guest curated by Doug Fox of

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2 Responses to This Week’s Contest Winners: Summer or Winter

  1. Marta Renzi says:

    Thanks for selecting THAW, and writing about both pieces intelligently. Funny: in SUMMER DAY, the performer wears dark, heavy clothes befitting winter weather, while the dancers in THAW sport clothes more appropriate to summer!

  2. lee says:

    what an honor! i am moved to have my short film chosen for this weeks contest and to have you share it with your viewers. thank you!
    i am fortunate to have a great butoh mentor, maureen ‘momo’ freehill who inspires me daily ( and whose teacher kazuo ohno is known for saying -“dance free style” and “no thinking, only soul.”
    marta’s film is filled with stunning imagery – beautiful!

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