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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Outdoors ‘ScreenDance’ Combines Dance, Film

Local performers join the digital revolution at Danceworks

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“ScreenDance” offers an opportunity to relax outdoors on a summer night on lawn chairs or blankets while enjoying nine short, handpicked contemporary dance films on a large screen beside the Milwaukee River. Curated by Luc Vanier of UW-Milwaukee’s Peck School of the Arts dance department in collaboration with Danceworks’ DanceLAB Series, this fourth annual edition will take place on Saturday, July 10, at 9:15 p.m. in the parking lot of the Danceworks Studio (1661 N. Water St.). Wine, beer and popcorn will be available.

Vanier founded the program to expose his student dancers and Milwaukee audiences to exciting new dance work by small modern companies from around the world that they would not see otherwise. His second important goal is to encourage dance artists to join the digital revolution, to expose their bodies and their work to film, to recognize that dance is already viewed online more than in the physical world, and to ask questions about, say, how to make a dance with integrity for viewing on a cell phone screen. Originating artists today, he believes, can envision their work in terms of these technologies and develop sensitivity to the tools and possibilities of filmed dance. He dreams of what dance artists could achieve on film with a Hollywood budget. Meanwhile, he points cash-strapped artists to the possibilities offered by YouTube, an inexpensive camera and the free services of any library.

Seven of the films in ScreenDance come courtesy of the Dance Films Association (DFA), which has been collecting, showcasing and preserving dance films and videos since 1956. Founded by Susan Braun of Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, with charter members Ted Shawn and Jose Limon, the DFA shares Vanier’s vision of our “time of extraordinary transformation” in the way dance is viewed. Award-winning works from Canada, The Netherlands, Britain and the United States will be shown.

Two works by Milwaukee artists were selected for presentation: Inside Out (2010) by Alex Sheehan with choreographer Simone Ferro and dancers Andrew Zanoni and Lauren Hafner Addison; and Residual Moment (2010) by Liz Zastrow, which combines filmed and live dance performed by the filmmaker to examine the contrast between present experience and one’s digitally recorded memory of it.

In case of rain, the show will move indoors to the Danceworks Studio. Patrons are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets.

Tickets: $10. Call (414) 277-8480 or visit www.danceworksmke.org.

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