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About screendance

Screendance or Dance on Film or Dance Film?

What's it all about then? The definition of screendance and what constitutes it is something that is frequently discussed and there are various takes on it.

After attending the Screendance conference in North Carolina in 2008, DANCE:FILM director Steph Wright was introduced to Karen Pearlman's (screendance practitioner and academic) definition which is best demonstrated by her Venn diagram.



Screendance is essentially a hybrid artform coming out of crossovers between Cinema (film), Dance and Visual Art. Great articles about defining screendance can be found online in the following links.

A Dance of Definitions - Karen Pearlman

Screendance: The State of the Art Conference Proceedings 2006

Screendance: Curating the Practice/Curating as Practice 2008 Papers



Deirdre Towers from Dance Films Association in New York gave a brilliantly concise take on the definition of dance film on the online community dance-tech back in April 2011...


"Purely speaking, a dance film is one in which dance and film/video are both integral to a work. This simple definition separates dance films from archival records of stage or site specific dance compositions. The makers of dance films consider the placement and movement of the camera, the lighting, the balance of foreground and background, and the composition within the framing of each shot in the overall choreography. A dance film can take many forms: documentary, dance designed for the camera (cine dance or screen dance), a screen adaptation of a stage work, animation, or kinetic abstraction.

The structure for a dance for the camera, otherwise known as a cine dance or screen dance, may be driven by a kinetic or visual design concept, poetry or narrative, imagery from reality or dreams, traditional or idiosyncratic musical forms. The intention may be to produce what cannot be conceived in a live performance or to stretch and condense a multi-media form.

The essential difference between an archival record of a stage work and what we are referring to as a dance film, a dance for the camera, is the involvement of the choreographer in a collaboration with a composer, cinematographer, editor, and a director. Alternatively, the choreographer may also assume all those roles him or herself."


DANCE:FILM's approach is one that takes into everything into account. With no element of screendance being more significant than the other, DANCE:FILM is keen to celebrate it all. The festival is keen to provide a platform for audiences to discover dance on film and screendance in all contexts and to bring film goers to dance and dance audiences to film.

There is a vibrant screendance international community with critical and academic discourse led by The Screendance Network. The Screendance Network produces the International Journal of Screendance, an artist led publication on the field of screendance.

Other screendance festivals and organisations around the world include:

Videodanza in Buenos Aires, Argentina
Cinedans in Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Dance Films Association, New York, USA
Dance Camera West, LA, USA
LOIKKA, Finland

There is a wealth of information on the internet about screeendance so check it all out!

About us

DANCE:FILM is Scotland's premier dance film festival in the beautiful capital city of Edinburgh. It is organised by Dance Film HQ Ltd a Company Limited by Guarantee registered in Scotland, SC401538 *the company ceased trading in Feb 2014 and was unregistered in May 2014*

© DANCE:FILM | Dance Film HQ. All rights reserved.
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