Dance and film once again collide to create visual and visceral magic during Tigertail Production’s third annual ScreenDance Miami festival. Featuring dance films from all over the world, the festival opens Thursday night at the Pérez Art Museum Miami with a slate of Dutch films from the famed Cinedans Festival in the Netherlands, and continues through Saturday.
The pairing of dance and video has proven to be a fruitful merger thanks to the way it brings audiences, dance creators and film aficionados together. Film has become a medium that’s accessible to new and casual users, and as production costs decrease, choreographers and directors have been able to use technology to explore ideas in ways they couldn’t in a traditional theatrical setting.
ScreenDance director Marissa Nick, a choreographer and dance film creator, says the ubiquity of smartphone cameras has acclimated audiences to consuming culture through a screen — and allows creators to develop their work in new ways.
“Whether you are a choreographer picking up the camera, a photographer moving into videography, or someone who has a very traditional background in directing, [when] composing dance for film — because we are a culture that has cameras in our hands all the time — we are all learning how to view the world in a new way,” Nick says.
As the only satellite site in the United States of the pioneering Cinedans-Dance on Screen Festival, which launched in 2004 in the Netherlands as an international showcase for short and full-length dance films, Thursday’s program brings some of the top films from the Dutch festival to Miami, curated by Cinedans director Martine Dekker.
“Cinedans is one of the best dance on film festivals in the world,” Nick says of the collaboration. “[Dekker] has complete autonomy in curating whatever she wants to send us; she has such an amazing eye.”
From the epic dance duel in choreographer Clara van Gool’s Coup de Grâce to the train-of-thought styling’s of Devin Jamieson’s Snap Into it, which uses Langston Hughes’ poem Motto as a jumping off point for a short, staccato, spoken word and movement film, the program offers some of the most striking dance films of the last several years.
The festival continues Friday evening at the Miami Beach Cinematheque, with films from Quebec City, Curaçao, Miami and New York. Saturday the festival returns to PAMM with an afternoon of films including Ella, a new work by Miami-based choreographer/director team Alexey Taran and Carla Forte, with choreography and performance by Heather Maloney.
“It’s an exquisite piece of work,” Nick says. “It’s stunning, it’s very Miami, too.” Created over the course of Maloney’s recent pregnancy, it’s set against the backdrop of the Miami skyline with Maloney’s daughter’s heartbeat as a soundtrack.
In addition to Dekker’s workshop, Saturday’s offerings include film and legal training for artists with free workshops by attorney Marlon Hill and director/choreographer Gabri Christa, a dance film pioneer.
Both sessions are practical in different ways.
“Gabri Christa is very hands on,” Nick says. “You don’t have to have any dance or film background, you could just have a general interest in understanding more about what screen dance is. Her workshop is always oriented around how to view dance through the lens of a camera.” Hill’s workshop, on the other hand, is a popular repeat class in legal issues for artists.
The festival closes Saturday night with a series of short films in two programs at Little Haiti’s Mindy Solomon Gallery, with an eclectic mix of movement disciplines and films by established and first-time dance film creators.
“Some are more linear, others are more abstract, but they are all very contemporary voices,” Nick says. “There is really no guide out there about how you make dance on film. You have to develop this confidence, and that’s something that only comes with time; it comes with experience. The more you make the more you learn and the more you are willing to try.”
ArtburstMiami.com is a nonprofit source of South Florida dance and performing arts coverage.
If you go
What: Tigertail Productions presents ScreenDance Miami.
Info: Tigertail.org or 305-324-4337.
When: 7 p.m. Thursday.
What: Cinedans screening.
Where: Pérez Art Museum Miami, 1103 Biscayne Blvd., Miami.
Info: Free with museum admission.
When: 7 p.m. Friday.
What: ScreenDance films.
Where: Miami Beach Cinematheque, 1130 Washington Ave., Miami Beach.
What: 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; workshops with Gabri Christa and Marlon Hill
2 p.m. - Screendance films
Info: Free with museum admission.
When: 7 and 9 p.m. Saturday.
What: ScreenDance films
Where: Mindy Solomon Gallery, 8397 NE Second Ave., Miami