Listen to part of a lecture in a choreography class.
[leading into what students’ next assignment will be]Now when you think about choreography, well, for your last assignment, you choreographed a dance that was performed on stage, in front of a live audience.
Now, screen dance is very different; it's a dance routine you'll be choreographing specifically to be viewed on a screen— on a computer screen, a TV screen, in a movie theater,any screen.
So, the question we have to ask is: What's the difference between choreography for a live performance and choreography for on-screen viewing?
OK, think for a minute... when you see a movie, is it just a film of people acting on a stage?
Movies use a variety of camera angles and creative editing.
Movies can distort time, slow movement down, or speed it up, show actors fading in and out of scenes, etcetera.
All of these all of these filmmaking techniques, uh, things that can't be used in a live performance are possible in a screen dance.
Now, we'll cover these concepts in greater detail later, but you should be getting the idea that I don't want you to just film dancers on stage and turn it in as your screen-dance project.
[sees hand raised]Uh, yes, Debbie?
But isn't something lost here, Professor Watson?
I'm a dancer, and when I perform on stage, I'm so energized by the audience's reactions, the applause.
I actually, and for a lotta dancers, it- it really inspires us.
Well, you're right, screen dance, which is relatively new, isn't for everyone.
Uh, some dancers may seem reluctant to participate in your project because they do thrive on the immediacy of performing live.
Uh, if this happens, you could point out that screen dance offers other ways for dancers to connect to their audience.
For example, dancers c-can express themselves, even change the whole mood of a scene, through a facial expression, and you could film close-up shots of their faces.
Facial expressions aren't as important in live performances, generally, because the choreographer knows that someone in the back row of a theater may not be able to see a dancer's face clearly.
[anxious]But, um, I've never used a movie camera or edited film before. How will we learn everything we need to know to...
Well, don't worry! The cameras you'll be using are pretty simple to operate.
And you'll get to play with the film-editing software several times before beginning your project.
You'll also have the option of working with a student in the film department, someone who's familiar with the technology.
But the choreography and the end result will be your responsibility, of course.
Could you talk some more about the filmmaking techniques, y'know, the ones that work best for screen dances?
I'll show some of my favorite screen dances next week to give you a better idea.
But, uh, OK, here's one technique that can create the illusion of flow in a screen dance.
You film the same dancer entering and exiting the frame several times, moving slowly at first, then faster and faster.
Then, in the editing room, you can digitally manipulate these images.
Like, you might put five or ten or twenty copies of that same dancer meeting himself in the middle of the screen to make it look like he's dancing with himself!
Obviously, this can't be done in a live performance.
Another example, um, in one screen dance I saw, the dancers leaped through sheets of fire in a big abandoned building.
Of course, the building wasn't really on fire. A technique called "superimposing" was used.
The dancers were filmed, and later, in the editing room, the fire was added to the background.
That sounds awesome! But, if anyone can watch a dance on a computer screen, why would they pay to go see a live performance?
[fearing the worst]What if screen dance got so popular that it replaced live dance?
Screen dance is an entirely different type of presentation; it could never replicate the immediacy, the kind of drama that live performance offers.
There'll always be an audience for that.
I think what screen dance will do, though, is heighten awareness of dance in general.
Because it's a way, um, it can reach people in their homes, in their workplaces, at any time, really.
And if someone discovers that they love dance by watching a screen dance, there's a good chance they'll get interested enough to buy a ticket to see a live performance.