Posts in Category: Dance

Sun-Earth Diglossia by Eleni Cay

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This is the latest and last in Slovakian poet Eleni Cay‘s “celestial dialogues” series of dancepoems. She describes the project on her website:

I’m proud to be part of the generation who challenge discriminatory forms of sharing and creating poetry. I’m particularly interested in spaces that augment content and form into novel poetic genres. In my dancepoems, I’ve been experimenting with music, dance and poetry to see if carefully controlled convergence of three arts can give rise to a new poetic experience.

Between 2015 and 2017, I was fortunate to work with three very talented dancers. The theme binding our three dancepoems together is celestial dialogues- conversations between The Sun and The Earth, The Moon and The Sun, and The Earth and The Moon. When thinking about these conversational duets, the search for a ying-yang balance becomes a quest for unity and departure from human-imposed hierarchies.

If the Earth spoke to the Moon, what would she say? And if the Moon talked to the Sun, would they remember the times when they were one? The perennial themes of love and separation somewhat always find their way into a poem…

Dual Focus Media shot the video, with music by Armand Amar. Cay’s dance partner, Dickson Mbi, was the choreographer, and Christian Payne provided the voiceover.

Ode to my Bitchface by Olivia Gatwood

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If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of “resting bitch face” (apparently it’s mainly an American expression), the Wikipedia article will get you up to speed. Once you’ve read it, you’ll understand why this response by poet Olivia Gatwood and the dancer/choreographers Rebecca Björling and Rebecca Rosier of the We:R Performance Collective is so, so good. The video was shot and edited by Tim Davis. Björling and Rosier note on Vimeo that

Our latest work ‘Bitchface’ is a dance film we made in reaction to the amazing fierceness of Olivia Gatwood’s poem ‘Ode to my Bitchface’. Beautifully delivered by Olivia in a live performance, we felt like we had to dance the chills out of our bodies as soon as we saw her original video.

And here is the original video in question, posted to YouTube on April 2. It has already been viewed more than half a million times:

Orbit by Arturo Cubacub

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A classic videopoem by Arturo Cubacub, this took First Prize in the 1987 Poetry Film Festival in San Francisco. Here’s the complete description from Vimeo:

Completed in 1986, “Orbit” is the seventh video of my “Unity Gain Series.”

Choreographed by Jan Heyn-Cubacub.
Danced by Jan Heyn-Cubacub, Denise McIntosh and Arturo Cubacub.
Direction, Poetry, Editing, Special Effects, Computer Animation and Music by Arturo Cubacub.

Description: Poetry, dance, computer animation and digital video effects are used to juxtapose constructive possibilities within our destructive tendencies. “The most important challenge of our time is to create on the same scale as we can destroy.” – Gene Youngblood, 2007.

“Orbit” has received the following awards:
First Prize, Festival International de Video Do Algarve/ 1988, Algarve, Portugal, November, 1988.
First Prize, The 12th Poetry Film Festival, San Francisco, December, 1987.
Honorable Mention, Performance/Stage Category, Dance on Camera Festival ‘87, New York, December, 1987.
Certificate of Merit, Suffolk County Film & Video Competition 1987, Suffolk County Motion Picture & TV Commission, New York, 1987.
Best Video Award, PSA-VMPD American International Video and Film Festival, August, 1987.
Best Experimental Film Award, PSA-VMPD American International Video and Film Festival, August, 1987.
VMPD Bronze Medal, PSA-VMPD American International Video and Film Festival, August, 1987.
Best of Fest Award, Art Category, 1987 Columbus Video Festival, Ohio, July, 1987.
Certificate of Merit, Festival of Illinois Film and Video Artists, May, 1987.
Second Place, Athens International Video Festival, March, 1987.
Certificate of Merit, The Chicago International Film Festival, October, 1986.
Regional Fellowship Award, The National Endowment for the Arts, March, 1984 (project funding).
Artists Grant Award, The Illinois Arts Council, Illinois, March, 1984 (project funding).

Послушайте / Please listen! by Vladimir Mayakovsky

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This wonderfully disturbing film by Natalia Alfutova was recognized by the ZEBRA Poetry Film Festival 2016 jury as a Special Mention for the Goethe Film Prize. Be sure to click the closed captioning (CC) icon for the English translation. Here’s the description from the ZEBRA website:

The Dummy and its mirror-reflection are in the waiting room of God. They mimic the Human-talk and the God dancing.

Natalia Alfutova
was born in Moscow and studied Mathematics at the Moscow State University, movie directing at ‘Higher Director’s Courses’ Moscow,, and multimedia art at The Rodchenko Art School (Moscow). In 2014 she founded “Mediamead” art studio. Artworks of this studio are based on the mix of math, cinema and multimedia art. In last two years Natalia made a number of installations, which were shown in different Moscow Museums and art places.

Much to my own surprise, this is the first Mayakovsky poem I’ve ever shared a video for. I was sure I must’ve found others over the years, but apparently not.

Grouse Song by Ruth Thompson

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An improvised dance interpretation of a poem by Hawai’i-based poet Ruth Thompson from her latest book, Crazing. The dancers are Jenn Eng, Claudia Hagan, Anna Javier, Chloe Oldfather, Catherine Rehberg, and the poet herself. Camera, editing and audio are by Don Mitchell. The music is from the Miró Quartet.

Kumukanda by Kayo Chingonyi and Sean Graham

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Coming-of-age rituals are at the center of this powerful, uniquely collaborative poetry dance film from director Fiona Melville and producer/creative director Nathalie Teitler for the Dancing Words project, featuring poet/dancer Kayo Chingonyi, poet/dancer/choreographer Sean Graham, and a composition by Gemma Weekes (who is also an accomplished British writer).

According to the Wikipedia page on the Lovale/Luvale people of Zambia and Angola,

In Zambia the Luvale people hold the ‘Makishi festival’ to mark the end of the ‘kumukanda’ (or ‘initiation’). Every 5 years or so, boys from the same age group (young teenagers) are taken into the bush for 1–2 months where they undergo several rites of passage into manhood. These involve learning certain survival skills, learning about women and how to be a good husband, learning about fatherhood, and also they are circumcised. The Luvale consider uncircumcised men to be dirty or unhygienic. It is said that in some very rural areas where the kumukanda is maintained in its strictest traditional sense that if a woman is to pass by the boy’s ‘bushcamp’ whilst they are undergoing kumukanda then she must be punished, even killed. To celebrate the boys’ completion of the kumukanda the Makishi festival welcomes them back to the village as men.

Quattro Ottobre (October Fourth) by Francesca Gironi

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A unique piece even by the highly eclectic standards of the poetry-dance film genre. For one thing, the dancer/choreographer, Francesca Gironi, also wrote the text. For another, video artist Jack Daverio‘s imagery complements and expands the text in such a way that this could easily be characterized as a videopoem senso strictu. It’s described on Vimeo as an “Ironic dialogue between poetry and video art. Self escape becomes hyper presence.” The music is by Luca Losacco.

Quattro Ottobre was a finalist at the Doctorclip poetry film festival as well as in the Carbon Culture Review Poetry Film Competition 2016, judged by Zata Banks, who describes it as “A strong example of a dance-led poetry film incorporating sound design, visual layering and a voiceover poem about the self.” (Click through for biographies for Gironi, Daverio and Losacco.)

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