Close Up

5 - 26 November 2018: Film Course: Dance/Film - Speaking Back to the Canon


Dates: 5, 12, 19 & 26 November 2018
Time: 7 - 9pm

Fee: £60 / £50 conc. / £40 Close-Up members
Course leader: Portland Green

Portland Green leads a four part evening course with four guest co-presenters: journalist and author, Michael Carlson; curator, film-maker and writer, Helena Blaker; producer Abigail Addison and film maker David Warwick. Through four inter-connecting sessions, the course uses film clips and presentations to explore the relationship between dance and film; from its beginnings in the cinema of the early 1900s through the classic film dance partnerships of the 1930s and 40s to its expression in experimental moving image genres of the present day.

While the course discusses the work of Löie Fuller, the Lumière Brothers, Oskar Schlemmer, Busby Berkeley, Powell and Pressburger, Maya Deren, Talley Beatty, Norman Mclaren, Robert Wise, Jerome Robbins, Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers, Gene Kelly, Merce Cunningham, Stan Van Der Beek, Lloyd Newson, Clara van Gool, Sylvie Guillem, Mats Ek, William Forsythe, Gina Czarnecki, Ulf Langheinrich, Darren Aronofsky, OpenEnded Group, The Quay Brothers, Thierry De Mey, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, Philippe Decouflé, and Quayola to name but a few; it seeks to highlight lesser-known and potentially overlooked contributors to the intersecting histories of dance and film and in current practice.

Week 1 – Dance and Cinema: Other Histories

Led by Portland Green and Helena Blaker

This session introduces the course, outlining some of the themes explored in the four sessions. It then takes a historical look at dance and the cinema, asking whose history has been fostered, is the most widely known, discussed and screened today? Within this context, co-presenter and curator/writer Helena Blaker reflects on the dance film compilation Camera/Movement which she curated and its exploration of certain dance traditions, styles of choreography and dance languages in relation to the camera, which had been influenced both by aesthetic decisions and by the technologies available at different historical times. Portland Green looks at work from film and dance-makers whose work may be less well known.languages in relation to the camera, which had been influenced both by aesthetic decisions and by the technologies available at different historical times.

Week 2 – Dance, Cinema and Gender

Led by Portland Green and Michael Carlson

This session is about the gender roles in film and dance, including how they are emphasised and distorted in feature film. The session shows how feature films have regressed since the 1940s, perpetuating the narrow gender roles assumed in much of traditional dance and how feature films shoehorn the dance roles into a template in which women artists must suffer and sacrifice for their art. The session draws on a selection of films throughout moving image history to critique popular (mis)conceptions and myths. The result is a combination of serious analysis of dance and its role in films with a more ironic take on feature films themselves.

Week 3 – Dance and the Cinema of the Body

Led by Portland Green and David Roland Warwick

This session challenges the branch of contemporary French cinema variously referred to as the Cinema of the Body and New French Extremity, with the physicalized body in selected dance films of the last 30 years. In doing so the session explores the idea that dance has the potential to introduce a new kind of cinematic body – a body as vigorous and intense as the most extreme examples from recent French cinema, but which is also an informed and progressive body, rather than an exploited one, as so often seems the case in the Cinema of the Body/New French Extremity.

Week 4 – Experimental Approaches

Led by Portland Green and Abigail Addison

The session looks at a range of approaches to dance in moving image genres such as experimental film, animation, dance for camera and artists’ moving image exploring where dance has been a subject of enquiry, a subject of the image or a means of collaboration. It also looks at dance’s relationship to recent developments in screen technologies and where dance and "film" might go from here.

Image credite: Spintex by Gina Czarnecki & Ulf Langheinrich. Courtesy of the artists and Portland Green.

Portland Green is a Curator of exhibitions, projects and programmes within the visual arts and ‘film’, with a focus on performance.  She has produced artists’ films, short films, dance films and produced and directed arts documentaries for PBS, public television. As a practitioner she has shown work at Manifesta 9, Genk, Belgium in 2012 and for Creative Time at the Venice Biennale in 2015. She has written for Dance Theatre Journal, Arts Industry and contributed to texts published in a visual arts context. She has also written texts for catalogues for visual art exhibitions on performance, dance and on the arts and precarity.

Michael Carlson has written three books on film directors, written about film and art for newspapers (Financial Times, Daily Telegraph) magazines (TLS, Spectator, Kamera, Crime Time) and reviews for Front Row, Open Book and others on radio. He has written several essays with Portland Green on dance and film.  In his spare time he presents sport on television and radio, and blogs/reviews at Irresistible Targets.

David Roland Warwick is a writer and director based in London. His recent short film Out for a Walk screened at numerous festivals around the world and starred Matthew Beard (The Imitation Game, The Riot Club) and Saskia Reeves (Our Kind of Traitor, Wolf Hall). David studied directing at the AFI Conservatory in Los Angeles, and also has a degree in Film Studies and Philosophy. He has also worked broadly across the film, contemporary art and advertising industries in the UK. David is currently writing and developing his debut feature film, alongside a short dance film.

Helena Blaker is a writer and curator living in London. She has written about artists’ film and visual art performance for luxonline, 292 Magazine and Art Monthly, and for Arts Council England as well as contributing to Tate and BFI publications. She is currently writing research on The Image of Performance in visual art, and developing curatorial practice in relation to performance history.

Abigail Addison is a Producer, and is a Director of arts agency Animate Projects that works at the intersection of animation, film and art. Over the past 10 years she has produced many innovative projects including 15 shorts for Channel 4’s Random Acts, and Silent Signal, a large-scale touring art & science project that received Wellcome Trust support. She also works independently with filmmakers, and co-produced Chris Shepherd’s Johnno’s Dead which won Best British Film at London International Animation Festival 2016 and Best Animation at Aesthetica Short Film Festival 2017, and was Associate Producer on DOOZY by Richard Squires which premiered at the BFI London Film Festival 2018. Abigail sits on the Advisory Board of Underwire Festival and of Animation Alliance UK.






Film Course: Dance/Film - Speaking Back to the Canon Monday 05.11.18 7:00 pm Book