Cinedance, Dance in Cinema, and Dancing Cinema

5 Dancing Cinema

As early as the 1960s, in the context of the performance movement and expanded cinema, the amalgamation of film and dance became widespread in a variety of ways — through the combination of dance, film, music, and light in multimedia club performances (e.g., Andy Warhol’s Exploding Plastic Inevitable, 1966), and through the association of stage dance, film, and music (e.g., in John Cage’s Variations V, 1965, for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company) in such a way that the dance controls the film and the music (in this case using light barriers and antennae).

This type of union between film and dance in space is still a common feature of contemporary productions. Nowadays it is increasingly augmented by experiments with live-generated computer images integrated into the choreographies. Merce Cunningham, for example, has been working since 1997 with Character Studio software, which is used to create choreographies on the computer. In other words, movements are first generated digitally, and then the dancers must find a physical equivalent for these virtual movements. In the choreography BIPED (1999), dancers on stage are fused with computer-generated images. There are many software packages that enable real-time control of images and sound by dancers on stage. The dance group Troika Ranch from New York has been working for several years with Isadora software, with which images and sounds can be manipulated in real time by movements, with the result that the film is in a sense danced.