Dance on Screen
PhD thesis by Dr Lila Moore
Middlesex University, 2001
This thesis explores dance on screen from the artist's point of view following the making of the video Gaia – Mysterious Rhythms (20 minutes, Betacam SP/Digital Betacam). The video and the thesis form the PhD submission. The interaction of practice and theory through a process of creative work, analysis and reflection resulted in the structuring of a model with which I claim the autonomy of dance on screen as a hybrid art form, a form which like other creative forms such as painting, sculpture or even dance, has its own particular aesthetic qualities and limits.
This thesis proposes that dance as a live form ceases to exist in the process of its recreation as a screen form. The argument about dance on screen is based not within the context of contemporary live dance, but within the contexts of film/video, screen choreography and performance, including performative texts and art as performance engaging both artists and viewers.
To locate dance on screen in a contemporary framework, I refer to central developments issuing from the television series Dance for the Camera produced by BBC2 & Arts Council of Great Britain and the IMZ/Dance Screen international festivals. I approach choreography in screen terms thereby referring to the expression of movement in the broader sense, including performance, body language, the motion of objects and natural events, and rhythms and movements created via film/video technology. The moving body on the screen is also utilised for the expression of mythical journeys as in Gaia.
Overall, this thesis demonstrates that dance on screen, originating from the contexts of modern and postmodern art and culture, constitutes a unique art form and phenomenon reflecting current concerns with the notions of hybridity and performance.
(c) Lila Moore, 2001