This timeline was revised and updated in 2012 by Virginia Brooks, and based on a previous version which appeared in Envisioning Dance on Film and Video, Eds.: Judy Mitoma, Elizabeth Zimmer and Dale Ann Stieber, New York: Routledge, 2002
Etienne-Jules Marey (France), Eadweard James Muybridge (Great Britain) begin experimenting with sequential photographs to study animal motion.
H. W. Goodwin invents celluloid film
George Eastman perfects “Kodak” box camera
The Nutcracker Ballet, St. Petersburg, choreographed by Marius Petipa/Lev Ivanov.
Louis Lumiere invents the cinematograph (a machine that combines the functions of both the camera and projector.
DANCE ON FILM BEGINS
Thomas A. Edison films Ruth Dennis (later known as Ruth St. Denis) doing a skirt dance outdoors.
The first film is projected to a paying public at the Grand Cafe on the Boulevard des Capucines, Paris.
Swan Lake, ballet, St. Petersburg, choreographed by Petipa/Ivanov
The first exhibition of Edison’s projecting version of kinetoscope called the Vitascope, shows the Leigh sisters doing their umbrella dance, New York City. Lumiere Brothers record Loie Fuller dancing her Danse Serpentine.
First magnetic recording of sound
Peter Elfeldt first records the Royal Danish Ballet performing the choreography of August Bournonville.
Georges Melies, in The Magic Lantern, uses 12 corps dancers and a soloist. Edwin Porter’s The Great Train Robbery, at 12 minutes, is the longest film that had been made to date; it contains a sequence of square dancing, and a man clog-dancing while other troopers shoot at the ground near his feet.
The first regular cinema was established in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Louis Lumiere films Loie Fuller in her Fire Dance.
Slow motion effect is invented by August Musger. Louis Lumiere develops a process for color photography using a three-color screen.
The first Ziegfeld Follies were staged in New York City.
Isadora Duncan becomes a well-known dancer.
Serge Diaghilev presents his Ballets Russe for the first time in Paris.
The South American tango becomes very popular in Europe and the U. S.
London has 400 movie houses; each day around 5 million people in the US go to the cinema.
Vernon and Irene Castle star in the film The Whirl of Life.
Denishawn Dancers appear in D.W. Griffith’s epic Intolerance.
Anna Pavlova appears in an acting role in the film The Dumb Girl of Portici.
Hans Vogt (with Massolle and Engl) experiments on a new sound film system.
Charles Chaplin parodies Nijinsky’s Afternoon of a Faun in the film Sunnyside.
Fernand Leger (with American technician Dudley Murphy) makes Le Ballet Mechanique, his landmark avant garde film in which he experiments with camera-created motion and rhythm.
Anna Pavlova is filmed dancing her solos including The Dying Swan, on the set of Douglas Fairbanks’s The Thief of Bagdad. Rene Clair makes Entr’acte, a Dadaist film, to be shown during the intermission of the ballet Relache (Theatre Closed) choreographed by Picabia.
The Jazz Singer with Al Jolson becomes the first “talking” movie.
John L. Baird demonstrates the first video system.
Diaghilev uses film projections in Leonide Massines’s ballet Ode.Sergei M. Eisenstein makes a rapid montage of three soldiers dancing in three different styles in his film October.
First scheduled television broadcasts by WGY, Schenectady, N.Y.
First color motion pictures exhibited by George Eastman in Rochester N.Y.
All-dancing, all-singing revue films begin to appear. Rouben Mamoulian directs Applause, which contains very fluid, rhythmic motion by the standards of early sound film.
Mary Wigman’s Hexentanz is filmed in Germany.
Kodak introduces 16mm color movie film.
Busby Berkeley is brought to Hollywood to make a film version of the Ziegfeld show Whoopee. Read NYTimes review of Berkeley retrospective at 2009 DOC Festival.
Maria Gambarelli is the first dancer to go before a television camera in America.
A spectator films Olga Spessivtzeva in a rehearsal of Giselle, Act 1, from a box in a London theater.
Philo Farnsworth develops electronic television.
George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein found the School of American Ballet.
Busby Berkeley directs his first “backstage” musicals (Gold Diggers of 1933, Footlight Parade, and 42nd Street) in which dance movement is created by the camera and the editing.
Fred Astaire makes his first film, Dancing Lady, with Joan Crawford. His fabled partnership with Ginger Rogers begins. They make nine films in the next seven years: Flying Down to Rio (1933), The Gay Divorcee (1934), Top Hat (1935), Swingtime (1936), Follow the Fleet (1936), Shall We Dance (1937), Carefree (1938), and The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle (1939). They made one more film together in 1949, The Barkleys of Broadway.
The Merry Widow, one of several operetta films choreographed by
Albertina Rasch, is directed by Ernst Lubitsch using an unusual mobile camera floating above the waltzing dancers.
Roy Del Ruth directs Kid Millions, in which the Nicholas Brothers appear.
Shirley Temple makes her screen debut, “Baby Take a Bow,” in Stand Up and Cheer, directed by Hamilton McFadden.
Air for the G String is filmed with Doris Humphrey and her ensemble.
Max Reinhardt directs A Midsummer Night’s Dream, containing a ballet choreographed by Bronislava Nijinska.
Shirley Temple and Bill “Bojangles” Robinson dance together in two films: The Little Colonel and The Littlest Rebel.
Kinetic Molpai choreographed by Ted Shawn is filmed at Jacob’s Pillow, Mass.
Agnes de Mille choreographs dances for Irving Thalberg’s film Romeo and Juliet.
J. Benoit-Levy directs La Mort du Cygne, starring Yvette Chauvivre and Mia Slavenska, the first feature film with the ballet world as its subject matter.
(It will be remade in the U. S. in 1947 as The Unfinished Dance, with Margaret O’Brien and Cyd Charisse.)
During a visit to the Netherlands East Indies, Rolf de Mari and
Claire Holt film the traditional dances of Bali performed by I Mario and dancers of Peliatan, Tabanan and Ubud, and the traditional funeral dances of the Torajas of the Makale region, Celebes (Borneo) villages of Kondongan and Kalembe.
Cinerama is introduced at the 1939 New York World’s Fair. It is improved in 1952 with a three-lens system and resolved into the single-lens 70mm process.
The artistic use of color begins and becomes the rule in Hollywood by the 1950s.
National Film Board of Canada established.
Walt Disney’s Fantasia, directed by Ben Sharpsteen, contains music by Bach, Tchaikovsky, Dukas, Stravinsky, Beethoven, Mussorgsky, and Schubert, choreographed with animation.
CBS presents The Country Dance Society, the first group to have a weekly show on Sundays.
For Me and My Gal marks the screen debut of Gene Kelly, co-starring with Judy Garland. Busby Berkeley directs the dramatic sections. Bobby Connolly is the choreographer.
Lamentation, choreographed and performed by Martha Graham, is directed on 16mm film by Mr. and Mrs. Simon Moselsio, preceded by a brief on-screen discussion of modern dance with critic John Martin.
Kitty Doner and Pauline Koner begin a dance series on CBS called Choreotones.
Valerie Bettis becomes staff choreographer for the Paul Whitman Show, choreographing a 15-minute ballet each week.
A Study in Choreography for Camera, a film directed by Maya Deren, creates new film space for dancer Talley Beatty.
Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger direct The Red Shoes, with Moira Shearer, Leonide Massine, Robert Helpmann, and Ludmilla Tcherina.
Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly co-direct On the Town; Kelly also choreographs and stars with Frank Sinatra, Jules Munshin, Vera-Ellen, Betty Farrett, and Ann Miller. This is a remake of the 1944 Broadway musical inspired by the ballet Fancy Free, choreographed by Jerome Robbins.
Through the Crystal Ball, the first half-hour, all-dance show on TV, airs five episodes over a couple of months, including Cinderella, choreographed by George Balanchine with Herbert Bliss and Tanaquil Le Clercq, and The Wild West, choreographed by Todd Bolender, with LeClercq and Patricia McBride.
CBS presents Ballet Theater in Les Sylphides.
Nora Kaye and Igor Youskevitch perform Giselle, the first full-length ballet presented on television by CBS.
An American in Paris, written by Alan J. Lerner and directed by Vincent Minnelli, wins an Academy Award. The 17- minute title ballet is choreographed by Gene Kelly and danced by him and Leslie Caron.
Showboat, directed by George Sidney with choreography by Robert Altman, stars Marge and Gower Champion. The third screen version of the Edna Ferber novel, it is nominated for an Academy Award for the cinematography of Charles Rosher.
Trance and Dance in Bali is produced by Gregory Bateson and Margaret Mead from material filmed by Bateson and Jane Belo in Pagoetan Village in 1937- 39, written and narrated by Mead.
Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen direct and choreograph Singin’ in the Rain. Read 2008 NYTimes review, referencing Astaire’s filming of dance sequences and RAIN by Pontus Lidberg.
Limelight, directed by Charles Chaplin, has dance sequences performed by Melissa Hayden and Andre Eglevsky.
The series Omnibus begins on CBS and continues for nine and a half years including such dance programming as Agnes de Mille’s Rodeo, Eugene Loring’s Billy the Kid, and Gene Kelly in Dancing is a Man’s Game.
Most U.S. movie theaters are adapted for CinemaScope film projection.
JVC begins research into video recording.
The zoom (variable focal length) lens, first used in the U.S. is introduced on the Bolex camera.
Peak of the pre-videotape era: CBS produces 70 hours of live programming a week, all kine-recorded on almost 1 million feet of film stock.
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, one of the first dance films in wide-screen format, is directed by Stanley Donen with choreography by
Michael Kidd and Matt Mattox.
Ed Sullivan begins presenting his “really big” show, which continues until 1971 and includes such dance programming as the first American television appearance of the Sadlers Wells Ballet with Margot Fonteyn and Michael Somes, the Royal Danish Ballet in Napoli, the London Festival Ballet, Ruth Page’s Chicago Opera Ballet, Roland Petit’s Ballet de Paris, and the Moiseyev Dancers.
Jerome Robbins Ballet USA was granted two days of camera
rehearsal and presented on videotape in a two-program format.
Color is introduced in television; becomes popular by 1966.
NBC broadcasts the Sadlers Wells Ballet in Sleeping Beauty,
choreographed by Frederick Ashton after Petipa, to an audience estimated at 30 million viewers.
Dance Films Association, Inc. (DFA), first nonprofit service organization for dance and film, is founded by Susan Braun after her futile search for films on her favorite dancer, Isadora Duncan.
Ampex sells the first practical videotape recorder, developed by Charles Ginsburg and Ray Dolby, with four heads and a transverse scanner using 2” tape running at 14,400 rpm.
A Dancer’s World, directed by Peter Glushanok with Martha Graham,
is produced by Nathan Kroll for Pittsburgh’s WGED-TV, an alternative venue to commercial television.
Invitation to the Dance, an all-dance film in three sections directed by Gene Kelly in 1952 is released. The first two parts, based on classical ballet, starring Igor Youskevitch, Claire Sombert, Tamara Toumanova, Diana Adams, and Claude Bessy, are less successful than the final section, in which Kelly dances in a live action/animation version of Sinbad the Sailor.
CBS presents Balanchine’s Nutcracker, with the choreographer
as Drosselmeier, on Christmas night, broadcast live, with director Ralph Nelson employing a single crane-mounted camera.
Marcus Blechman directs Helen Tamiris in a film of her Negro Spirituals.
Peter Glushanok directs Appalachian Spring with Martha Graham for Pittsburgh Public Television.
Shirley Clarke, a Martha Graham-trained dancer, makes Bridges-go-round, in which the bridges of New York dance through the film techniques of pixillation and optical printing.
Ludovic Kennedy directs The Sleeping Ballerina, a profile of Olga Spessivtzeva’s life as a dancer and her time in a sanitarium.
Boston’s WGBH, a public television station, begins the series “A Time to Dance,” hosted by Martha Myers and produced by Jac Venza.
West Side Story, directed by Jerome Robbins and Robert Wise and choreographed by Robbins with dancers Rita Moreno, Eliot Feld, and Russ Tamblyn, wins an Academy Award.
Worldwide, 951 videotape recorders are in use.
Sony markets the first home videotape recorder – an open-reel 1/2” helical scan deck, for $995.
Viva Las Vegas, directed by George Sidney, stars Elvis Presley and Ann-Margret in a “rock” musical with editing to the hard beat of the music.
Sony introduces first monochrome 1/2” Video Rover portapak – used almost immediately by New York video artist Nam June Paik.
The “Dance USA” series produced by Jac Venza for WNET/New York includes the program Dance: Four Pioneers, directed by Charles Dubin, on the work of Martha Graham, Doris Humphrey, Charles Weidman, and Hanya Holm.
L’Adolescence, directed by Vladimir Forgency, features Lubov Egorova teaching in Paris.
Romeo and Juliet, directed by Paul Czinner using his multi-film-camera technique, stars Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev.
Tamara Toumanova appears in Alfred Hitchcock’s Torn Curtain.
Hilary Harris directs dancer Bettie de Jong in Nine Variations on a Dance Theme.
Sony markets its DV2400, the world’s first portble VTR, leading to an explosion in do-it-yourself television and revolutionizing the medium.
Pas de Deux, choreographed by Ludmilla Chiriaeff, is directed by Norman McLaren, employing extraordinary lighting and optical printing. Dancers are Margaret Mercier and Vincent Warren.
Sydney Pollack’s They Shoot Horses, Don’t They, a film about a six-day dance marathon in the 1930s, includes an amazing performance by Gig Young.
Sweet Charity, directed and choreographed by Bob Fosse, is saved by the performances of Chita Rivera, Shirley McLaine, Paula Kelly, and Sammy Davis Jr.
Sony introduces the first videocassettes – 3/4” U-matic, 1 hour (available in the US in 1971) and allows other manufacturers to sell machines that play the cassettes, establishing a world standard.
An estimated 231 million television sets are in use worldwide.
Nicholas Roeg makes the film Walkabout, which includes an aborigine dance performed by David Gumpilil.
Artist Doris Chase makes Circle I, the first of her many dance films.
“Ballet for All” series directed by Nicholas Ferguson is made in the U.K. and broadcast on BBC.
Bob Fosse choreographs and directs Cabaret, winning an Academy Award for best director.
The film American Ballet Theatre: A Close-up in Time, directed by Jerome Schnur, includes discussion of the history and repertory of the company as well as excerpts from Swan Lake, Les Sylphides, Rodeo, and The River, and the complete Pillar of Fire.
Alvin Ailey introduces Alvin Ailey: Memories and Visions, directed for PBS by Stan Lathan, which includes excerpts from Cry, The Lark Ascending, and Revelations.
The first of three anthologies, That’s Entertainment, is produced by MGM, directed by Gene Kelly, et al.
In the television series “Camera Three,” Merrill Brockway directs a program on Merce Cunningham, A Video Event with M.C., combining four screens showing the same dance event from varying angles.
Videographer Charles Atlas and Merce Cunningham collaborate on Westbeth.
David Hahn directs In a Rehearsal Room, which includes choreography by William Carter to the music of Pachelbel performed by Cynthia Gregory and Ivan Nagy.
Dennis Diamond starts archiving dance performances on video at Dance Theater Workshop.
Sony offers the Betamax, the first popular home VCR, in November in the US. The console sells for $2295. and one-hour 1/2” tape cassettes for $15.95. Sony seeks to create a standardized format (as it had for the U-matic in 1969) by getting seven other companies
to produce machines to play Beta cassettes.
The landmark “Dance in America” series, funded in 1975, begins its first year of broadcast with programs on the Robert Joffrey Company, Twyla Tharp, Martha Graham, the Pennsylvania Ballet, and American Ballet Theatre. Over the next 20-odd years, the original directors and producers – Emile Ardolino, Merrill Brockway, and Judy Kinberg – are joined in this endeavor by other directors, including Jerome Schnur, Charles Dubin, Kirk Browning, Edward Villella, Twyla Tharp, Thomas Grimm, Don Mischer, Brian Large, Margaret Selby, Michael Smuin, and Matthew Diamond.
In October, JVC introduces VHS (Video Home System) to the marketplace, offering a VHS VCR for $885. Sony sells a Betamax VCR for $1300. and advertises that “you can tape something off one channel while watching another and build your own library of favorite shows.” MCA/Universal and Disney file a lawsuit, finally won by Sony in 1984.
Herbert Ross directs The Turning Point, a feature fiction film set in the dance world. It features Anne Bancroft and Shirley McLaine in non-dancing roles, and Leslie Browne, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and a host of other stars performing.
Twyla Tharp and Don Mischer explore the possibilities of dance on the small screen in Making Television Dance.
John Badham directs Saturday Night Fever, with John Travolta.
NBC airs American Ballet Theatre’s Nutcracker, with Gelsey Kirkland and Mikhail Baryshnikov, choreographed by Baryshnikov. It is directed by Tony Charmoli who uses a hand-held minican camera to walk into the dance action.
Dune Dance, produced and directed by ex-Cunningham dancer Carolyn Brown, is based on improvisation; the dancers, led by Sara Rudner, play in the sand with such rhythmic precision that traditional ballet music was added for a winningly comic affect.
Milos Forman directs the film version of the stage success Hair, with choreography by Twyla Tharp.
Meredith Monk’s Quarry, a meditation on a child’s dreams about world War II, is performed by her group The House, directed by Amram Nowak. This is one of the few films produced by the Jerome Robbins Archive of the Dance Collection that have been cleared for release; another is Torse, a collaboration between Merce Cunningham and Charles Atlas that uses two synchronous films projected simultaneously on adjacent screens. The continuity between the two is produced by chance.
Sony introduces Beta Scan which allows “visible picture” while fast-forwarding.
“The Magic of Dance” series, directed by Patricia Foy in the U.K., is
narrated by Margot Fonteyn (broadcast in the U.S. in 1985).
All That Jazz, directed and choreographed by Bob Fosse, wins an Academy Award for editing.
16 Millimeter Earrings, conceived and performed by Meredith Monk, was produced, directed and filmed by Robert Withers.
Deep Hearts, directed by Robert Gardner, looks at a competition called gerewol, in which young male dancers compete in a contest of beauty, grace, and manliness in a nomadic tribe in the Niger Republic of Africa.
No Maps on My Taps, directed by George Nierenberg, explores tap dancing with historical footage from the 1930s and portraits of three master hoofers, with a finale at Harlem’s Smalls Paradise.
Sony introduces the first consumer camcorder.
“Dance in America’s” Two Duets is unusual. The first part – in which Jerome Robbins rehearses Other Dances, followed by a performance of the piece by Barysnikov and Makarova – originated on film.The second part - Calcium Light Night choreographed by Peter Martins – was taped in a studio. The contrast between the softer quality of film and the harder tone of video dictated the production choices.
Alan Parker’s Fame, with choreography by Louis Falco, tells the stories of the High School of the Performing Arts in New York City and becomes the basis for a TV series.
The long-running series “Eye on Dance,” hosted by Celia Ipiotis,
begins in New York, first on cable and later on broadcast television.
The first collaboration between Spanish feature film director Carlos Saura and flamenco dancer Antonio Gades results in Blood Wedding, based on the Lorca play. In 1984 they produce Carmen, and finally, in 1986, El Amor Brujo.
MTV begins 24/7 broadcasting of visualizations of popular music. Some of these clips include dance. Michael Jackson is the first big success in this venue with Beat It, in 1982, directed by Bob Giraldi. In 1983, the best seller is its long form version, Thriller, directed by John Landis.
Merrill Brockway and CBS Cable partner to produce programs such as George Balanchine’s Robert Schumann’s “Davidsbundlertanze,”
Twyla Tharps’s Confessions of a Cornermaker and May O’Donnell’s Dance Energies.
ABC Arts’ A Portrait of Giselle is directed by Muriel Balash and hosted by Anton Dolin.
A film without words, Le Bal, directed by Ettore Scola, weaves dancing into the history of a small Paris ballroom from 1936 to 1983.
Ellis Island, an award-winning short film directed by Meredith Monk and Bob Rosen, and choreographed and composed by Monk, is filmed on location in New York City.
Charles Atlas directs Channels/Inserts for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company.
He Makes Me Feel Like Dancin’, Emile Ardolino’s film about Jacques
d’Amboise and his National Dance Institute wins an Academy Award for best documentary feature (and an Emmy in 1984).
Merrill Brockway directs a two-part documentary on George Balanchine for WNET.
Flashdance, directed by Adrian Lyne and choreographed by Jeffrey Hornaday, stars Jennifer Beal as a Pittsburgh welder, working as an exotic dancer at night, who finally decides to audition for the Pittsburgh Ballet (with help from film stand-in dancer Marine Jahan).
Sony introduces Beta HiFi – VCR with FM quality sound.
Backstage at the Kirov is directed by Derek Hart, who employs a camera mounted on a Steadicam to allow a cameraman to follow “swans” as they enter the stage, giving viewers the dancers’ view.
Milos Forman directs Amadeus, with choreography by Twyla Tharp, successfully transferring the stage production to the film screen.
Sony introduces the 8mm format. The VHS group counters with compact VHS known as VHS-C but it only records for 20 minutes.
A Chorus Line, Richard Attenborough’s film, demonstrates the problems encountered in trying to “open out” a production originally designed for the stage.
Dance Black America (1983), a documentary of a festival held at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, directed by Chris Hegedus and D. A. Pennebaker, includes a variety of styles and personalities from the African American community. Telecast on Great Performances, PBS Channel 13, New York on January 27, 1985.
Madonna’s music video Material Girl reenacts Marilyn Monroe’s “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” sequence from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. (1955)
“Alive From Off Center” (later ALIVE TV), a pioneering arts television series, debut on American public television. The 12-season experimental series brings together dancers, choreographers, visual artists, film and video makers, public television, and cable and foreign broadcasters.
Elliot Caplan directs Points in Space for the Merce Cunningham Dance Company.
Dirty Dancing, directed by Emile Ardolino, stars Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey as unlikely dance partners at a Borscht Belt resort.
Eiko and Koma create the dance Husk for television.
Meredith Monk directs and choreographs the feature-length Book of Days.
Super VHS format is introduced, equaling 8mm film in picture quality but not in sound.
The feature film Tap, directed by Nick Castle, stars Gregory Hines, Savion Glover, and Sammy Davis, Jr. It contains a challenge dance among tap-dance greats including Sandman Sims, Bunny Briggs, Jimmy Slyde, Harold Nicholas, and others.
Sony introduces the Hi-8 video format.
Dead Dreams of Monochrome Men, choreographed by Lloyd Newson/DV8, is reworked perceptively for the screen by director David Hinton.
Madonna makes her music video Vogue. In the televised version of Le Dortoir, choreographed by Danielle Tardif, Gilles Maheu, and Carbone 14 Dance Company, the inmates of a dormitory discover sex and love, God and death. New England Dances, directed and produced by John Bishop, is a documentary on the revival of traditional music and dance in Maine and Massachusetts.
In Roseland, choreographed by Wim Vandekeybus and directed by Walter Verdin, dancers in a fascinating old building take chances and move in a very fluid way. Eliot Caplan directs Cage/Cunningham, a documentary about the remarkable partnership of Merce Cunningham and John Cage.
A 35mm, wide-screen camera version of a stage work, Beach Birds for Camera, choreographed by Merce Cunningham and directed by Elliot Caplan, begins in black and white and moves seamlessly to color, preserving the integrity of the original while adding the clarity of Caplan’s vision. Peter Greenaway’s visually arresting film Rosas, choreographed by Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, is a woman’s solo filmed in the magnificent empty foyer of the Ghent Opera in high contrast black and white, with 35mm resolution and depth of field.
The Dance Heritage Coalition is founded to provide the public access to dance materials, to continue documentation of dance to preserve existing documentation, and to provide education regarding methods, standards, and practice for access, documentation, and preservation. (www. danceheritage.org)
The ongoing “Dance for the Camera” series launched by the Arts Council of England (ACE) and BBC by Bob Lockyer and Rodney Wilson. Original dance films are made collaboratively by teams of choreographers and directors for television.
The National Initiative to Preserve America’s Dance (NIPAD) is launched with a grant from the Pew Charitable Trusts. Through its grant-making and communications activities, NIPAD’s mission is to foster America’s dance legacy by supporting dance documentation and preservation as an integral and ongoing part of the creation, transmission, and performance of dance.
Le P’tit Bal, choreographed and directed by Philippe Decoufle and performed by him and Pascale Houbin, is a model of a film about emotions portrayed through controlled movement.
Dancing, an eight-episode documentary series, developed and produced by Rhoda Grauer, includes dance traditions of 18 different cultures.
Achterland, choreographed and directed by Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker and performed by her company Rosas, is a film of astonishing contrasts and dynamics, neatly captured by the camera and the editing.
Outside In is supported by the Arts Council of England’s “Dance for the Camera” series. Choreographed by Victoria Marks for six differently abled dancers from London’s CandoCo, the film directed by Margaret Williams, is a stream of seamless movement filled with visual surprises.
Touched, another dance film, is choreographed by Wendy Houstoun and directed by David Hinton. The sense of people in a bar, interacting in a claustrophobic, choreographed manner, is both captured and created by the camera.
Sony offers the first “affordable,” consumer-oriented digital video camcorders, with a direct line to computer controlled non-linear video editing systems and lossless multi-generational editing, thus making independent production more economically feasible.
Frederick Wiseman’s Ballet, a documentary, compresses ten weeks of rehearsal and touring with American Ballet Theatre into 170 minutes of cinema verite, concentrating on the institution rather than on its individual participants.
Donald McKayle, Carolyn Adams, and Julie Strandberg create the Rainbow Etude, based on McKayle’s masterwork.
Rainbow ‘Round My Shoulder, as part of the Etude Project of the American Dance Legacy Institute.
Falling Downstairs, produced by Rhombus Media, intimately chronicles a collaboration between Mark Morris and Yo-Yo Ma.
Boy, choreographed by Rosemary Lee and directed by Peter Anderson,
describes the interaction of feeling and landscape defined by a young boy’s movement.
The George Balanchine Foundation Video Archives is initiated.
Dance Films Association and the Film Society of Lincoln Center begin their collaboration, presenting the Dance on Camera Festival, at the Walter Reade Theater.
Mats Ek’s Carmen, directed by Gunilla Wallin, is an imaginative treatment of unusual choreography.
Enter Achilles, choreographed by Lloyd Newson and directed by Clara van Gool, is a strong narrative, mixing reality and fantasy. The dance movement and natural gesture are enhanced by interaction with the camera and editing.
In CRWDSPCR, directed by Elliot Caplan, Merce Cunningham choreographs using the computer program LifeForms.
Lodela, choreographed by Jose Navas and directed by Philippe Baylaucq, is an arresting duet inspired by The Tibetan Book of the Dead.
Bella Figura, choreographed by Jiři Kylian and directed by Hans Hulscher, is the culmination of a long and fruitful collaboration beginning with the stage films of Kylian’s early works Sinfonietta, Symphony of Psalms, and Soldiers’ Mass. With totally unobtrusive camera work and editing, the choreographic design and the dynamics of the performance are always preserved.
Matthew Diamond’s Oscar-nominated documentary Dancemaker follows Paul Taylor and his dance company from rehearsal to a tour through India and a New York season threatened by a strike.
The first UCLA National Dance/Media Fellowship Program is launched by the UCLA Center for Intercultural Performance. Over three years (1998-2000), the program admits accomplished professionals and UCLA graduate students from the field of dance/media to develop sophisticated, practical models for dance documentation than can be disseminated to and duplicated by other individuals and institutions.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream, choreographed by George Balanchine, is performed by the Pacific Northwest Ballet and filmed for High Definition Television by Ross MacGibbon. Dennis Diamond, one of the original video archivists in New York, begins offering Quicktime Video clips of dance companies for the internet. Bill T. Jones collaborates with Paul Kaiser and Shelly Eshkar on Ghostcatching, an innovative virtual dance created using motion capture technology.
In Billy Elliot, directed by Stephen Daldry with choreography by Peter Darling, a working-class boy in a northern British town decides he wants to dance instead of taking boxing lessons.
The Circuito Videodanza Mercosur is founded by three festivals, VideoDanza BA (Argentina), Danca em Foco (Brazil) and FIVU (Uruguay) with the aim of promoting and encouraging the production of dance films in the Mercosur Region.
Lloyd Newson’s The Cost of Living, made with his company DV8, “hurls provocations and scalding humor at notions of how the fit and unfit are supposed to act,” when street performers David and Eddie hunt for work and romance in a faded seaside town. John Rockwell says “it is a dance film about something,” and it wins many international awards.
Ballets Russes, directed and produced by Dan Geller and Dayna Goldfine, is selected by the Sundance Festival, the first dance film to be so honored since Anne Belle’s Suzanne Farrell: An Elusive Muse (1990).
YouTube, (YouTube.com) a video-sharing website where users can upload, view, and share video clips is created in mid- February; honors are awarded in various categories, the most popular of which is “most viewed,” and that honor goes to Judson Laipply’s Evolution of Dance, a 6-minute film that logged 64,759,680 hits in one year. In a search for “ballet” eight other titles come up with more than a million hits each.
As of March 2007 all new TV sets in the U.S. had to have DTV (digital television) tuners or be DTV ready. The transition to digital TV isn’t complete until February 2009, the proposed shutoff date for over-the-air analog broadcasts. Digital TV makes possible the resolution and frame rate necessary to broadcast HDTV.
The DANCE MOVIES Commission is launched by EMPAC – the Experimental media and Performing Arts Center of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute to support the creation of new works in which dance meets the technologies of the moving image. Supported by EMPAC’s Jaffe Fund for Experimental Media and Performing Arts, the competition is open to artists based in North and South America who are making video, film and installation work. This program continues in 2011.
Slow Dancing – Motion Portraits of Dancers, a multi-channel video installation conceived and directed by David Michalek has its world premiere on the façade of the New York State Theater at Lincoln Center. Each dancer’s movement (approximately 5 seconds long) was shot with a high-speed, high definition camera recording at 1,000 frames per second, resulting in 10 minutes of extreme slow motion in which each dancer’s unique artistic expression and technique are revealed as never before.
Dance on Camera Festival Jury Prize is awarded to Water Flowing Together, 2007, USA, directed by Gwendolen Cates, a compelling cinematic portrait of former NYCB Principal Dancer Jock Soto. NYCB grants DFA a screening of this documentary during the Dance on Camera Festival at New York State Theatre.
Mao’s Last Dancer –Based on the autobiography of Chinese dancer Li Cunxin, this film drama is directed by Bruce Beresford. At the age of 11, Li was taken from a small Chinese village by Madame Mao’s cultural delegates and taken to Beijing to study ballet. In 1979, during a cultural exchange to Texas, he fell in love with an American woman. Two years later, he managed to defect and went on to perform as a principal dancer for the Houston Ballet and as a principal artist with the Australian Ballet.
La Danse – Paris Opera Ballet – a documentary by the master, Frederick Wiseman.
Dance on Camera Festival Jury Prize is awarded to Mysteries of Nature, 2008, South Korea, directed by Dahci Ma. A short abstract film – from the DCC program: Torn into bits and gone with the wind.
Black Swan – a psychological thriller directed by Darren Aronofsky based on a production of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake, starring Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassel and Mila Kunis. Portman won an Academy Award for Best Actress; Aronofsky was nominated for Best Director and the film was nominated for Best Picture.
Happy Feet 2 – a sequel to the 2006 film, this one in 3D and less successful in content.
Pina premiers in New York at the New York Film Festival.
The Bolshoi Ballet is broadcast live to movie theaters presenting two programs – Sleeping Beauty and Esmeralda.
Live from Lincoln Center presents the New York City Ballet in George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker. The program is also broadcast live to movie theaters on a different night.
The Timetables of History, Grun, Bernard (based on Werner Stein’s Kulturfahplan) New York: Simon & Schuster, 1982.
Parallel Lines: Media Representations of Dance. Jordan, Stephanie and Dave Allen, eds.London:, John Libbey, 1993.
The Film Encyclopedia, Katz, Ephraim New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1979.
Four Aspects of Film, Limbacher, James L. New York: Brussel & Brussel, 1968.
Guide to Dance in Film. Parker, David, and Esther Siegel, Detroit, Michigan: Gale Research, 1978.
Television and the Performing Arts, Rose, Brian G. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 1986
Cinema: A Critical Dictionary, Vol. I, Roud, Richard, ed., New York: Viking, 1980. (particularly the article by Arlene Croce, “Dance on Film”)
Dance on Camera: A Guide to Dance Film and Video.
Spain, Louise, ed., Lanham, MD: Scarecrow, 1998.
The catalogs of Dance Screen from the IMZ, Vienna 1991-2000.
The Dance on Camera Journal, New York: Dance Films Association, 1951-2011