Students Interested in Dance Film

Capturing Motion NYC is an annual workshop series and dance film competition for high school students in the five boroughs. DFA facilitates school workshops in interactive dance film education for students and teachers. The workshops culminate in the Capturing Motion NYC competition, in which students submit their work to be a part of Dance on Camera Festival.



The 2018 Capturing Motion application is open.

Dance Films Association seeks high school student dance film submissions for the Dance on Camera Festival co-presented by Dance Films Association and the Film Society of Lincoln Center. The 2018 Dance on Camera Festival is July 20th-24th, 2018.


Dance Films Association encourages New York City high school student to create dance films between 1-5 minutes in length that feature dance as the film’s main component and addresses the relationship between dance and the camera, linking the two in imaginative ways.


Films can be documentary, narrative or art films. Any dance subject may serve as inspiration: social or street dance, dance in religious settings, professional dance, or non-dance images filmed so they evoke dance, choreography, and movement. The finalists will be selected for special student film program during the festival, moderated in years past by Ellen Bar, and the top film selection screens in the Main Slate at Lincoln Center!

The Three Simple Guidelines For Your Submission:
  • Submit a film between 1-5 minutes in length.
  • Submitters must reside in one of the 5 New York City boroughs: Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, or Staten Island.
  • Sign up for a student membership with Dance Films Association, good for one year and enjoy all the same benefits as our other membership levels.
Frequently Asked Questions   Can I submit a film longer than 5 mins? Films must be under 5 minutes; they can be as short as 1 minute and as long as 5 minutes. Can I submit a work in progress? When does my film need to be finished? Your film must be finished when you submit. The panel will only consider finished films. Do I need to be a member to submit a film? Does the competition cost money? You do not need to be a member and it is free to submit your film. If you want to take advantage of DFA’s other events, however, we encourage you to sign up as a student member for $25 here. Can I submit an older film? A film that wasn’t made in a Capturing Motion NYC workshop? If you are enrolled at a NYC high school, you can submit any film that you made between grades 9- 12. For instance, you may submit a film that was made in 2014. You do not need to participate in one of our workshops to submit your film. Do all the films screen at the Dance on Camera Festival? When will my film screen? Once submissions close, a panel of esteemed dance film industry professionals review the films and select four finalists. Only those four finalists have their films screened at Dance on Camera Festival during a special program featuring Capturing Motion NYC. One of those four films is the winning film and screens on Closing Night at the festival. Exact times of screenings will be announced when the full festival program is announced.


Taught by DFA affiliates and teaching artists, Dance Films Association facilitates workshops with different high schools and organizations to introduce budding filmmakers to the genre of dance film. Workshops are currently held during the fall semester, and are structured like a master class, typically providing students with up to an hour and a half of programming (modified based on the school’s needs and schedule).

These workshops focus on technical, artistic and practical challenges of creating a dance film. This workshop-competition model offers a hands-on opportunity for New York City high school students to learn about the process of making a dance film, from conception to the final screening.

Capturing Motion NYC guides students from the genesis, production, and post-production phases up to the submission process and lastly, and rounds out the experience by inviting select films to participate in a film festival amongst industry professionals.

ChoreoCollective Workshops for Teens: Dance Films and Abrons Arts Center

Taught by Kash Gaines

Dance Films Association and Abrons Arts Center partnered in the spring of 2016 to offer guest workshops that provided ChoreoCollective students with the opportunity to merge film techniques with choreographic techniques and make their own dance films.

Kash Gaines from YAK films

About Kash Gaines & YAK Films

YAKfilms is a production company and Youtube network that films street dance videos and events.
Founded by friends collaborating with varying interests of street dance, new music, and interesting cinematography. Moving to the future, they push the limits of all three, showcasing under represented new street styles, international underground beatmakers, and filming using the newest equipment !

A dancer, a host, a filmmaker…Kash Gaines has been traveling the world filming and studying new street dance styles from the USA and abroad.

Creating Dance for the Camera

Taught by Zach Morris

This introductory workshop in December 2011 addressed the unique technical, practical, and artistic challenges of creating dance film from a choreographer’s perspective.

Staging and choreographing for the camera are introduced through a series of focused exercises including storyboarding, elementary lighting techniques, framing/composition, and shooting strategies. Methods for approaching editing and post-production are highlighted throughout.


zachAbout Zach Morris

Zach Morris is a choreographer, director, visual artist and Co-Artistic Director of Third Rail Projects. He is also the organizer and moderator of the NYC Dance Film Lab, a Movement Research teaching artist, and an adjunct faculty member of the Florida State University School of Dance. He has previously served as the Co-Creator and Co-Director of the Westbeth New Works Program and as the Inter/National Program Associate at Dance Theater Workshop. Zach has a BFA in Directing from Carnegie Mellon University.

Exquisite Corpse: Dance Filmmaking Turned Creative Game by Brighid Greene

Frank Sinatra High School of Performing Arts

To magnify the collaborative process of dance filmmaking, students played a version of the surrealist game Exquisite Corpse, working together to sketch movement storyboards and then putting them into action!

View a sample presentation here.



About Brighid Greene

Brighid Greene, a native to the golden state, now lives in Ridgewood, Queens. At Dance Films Association, she facilitates the exhibition and creation of dance film as their Communications Associate. She’s performed in music videos for Zola Jesus and Friend Roulette and dances with choreographers Benn Rasmussen and KatieRose McLaughlin. She champions for dance by serving on the Dance/NYC Junior Committee. Past performances include Lady Han at Incubator Arts Project, Wave Rising Series, Performa 11, and Szene Salzburg. Brighid received a BFA in Dance and a double major in Religious Studies at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and graduated with the J.S. Seidman Award.

The Challenge of Filming Dance by Ellen Bar

Beacon School

Combing the Advanced Film Class and Hip Hop Class, Ellen Bar showed excerpts from her dance film Jerome Robbins’ NY Export: Opus Jazz and discuss the challenges of filming.


EllenAbout Ellen Bar

Ellen Bar attended the School of American Ballet from the age of eight and was asked to join the New York City Ballet as a corps member in 1998.  She danced featured roles in classic works by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Peter Martins and Christopher Wheeldon, and was promoted to Soloist in 2006.   As a child, Ellen danced as a Candy Cane in Emile Ardolino’s The Nutcracker with New York City Ballet; as an adult she appeared in the feature film Center Stagedirected by Nicholas Hytner and created an animated character in Barbie of Swan Lake.  While dancing full-time, Ellen earned an Associate’s Degree in Business from Penn State University and continues to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in English at Columbia University.  In 2005, Ellen was part of the original ensemble cast of the NYCB revival of NY Export: Opus Jazz when fellow NYCB soloist Sean Suozzi conceived of a present-day, on-location film adaptation of the ballet.  Together, Ellen and Sean developed, produced and creatively helmed the project from inception to completion.  In May of 2011, Ellen retired from her 13 year career as a professional ballerina and is now Director of Media Projects at New York City Ballet.


Capturing Motion NYC Past Winning Films

    THIS TOWN director Tillie Simon with crew. Photograph by Mary John Frank.

    This Town

    By Alexus Getzelmen, Tillie Simon, and Isabelle Sturges
    2016 Capturing Motion NYC Winning Film

    Still from Dawa Lama's SOMETIMES, 2015 Capturing Motion NYC Winning Film


    By Dawa Lama
    2015 Capturing Motion NYC Winning Film

    Filmmaker Dawa Lama

    What A Mess

    By Dawa Lama
    2014 Capturing Motion NYC Winning Film

    Kuduro NYC

    Kuduro NYC


    By David Woon, Kevin Fermoselle, & Stephanie Oppenheim

    2013 Capturing Motion NYC Winning Film

    We Three

    We Three

    By Anna Vomacka

    2012 Capturing Motion NYC Winning Film


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