Design Your Dance on Screen
a creative facilitation course to help film makers and dance makers collaborate successfully
Scroll down to watch the introduction video with captions from YouTube if you prefer.
Author and tutor, Simon Fildes. introduces this course.
"Over the past twenty years or so I’ve watched hundreds and hundreds of dance films / video dance / screen dance works as a teacher, festival goer and jury panel selector.
I’ve collaborated on, edited and directed single screen films, interactive installation art works, and taught editing and production masterclasses around the world in this field.
I’ve listened to film makers and choreographers and dancers, and watched them at work and play; in rehearsal and in production. I’ve talked with curators, academics and festival programers for more hours than I know in locations from South America to China, Canada to Australia.
I’ve done all this with an overriding sense of curiosity and passion for a peculiarly hybrid art -form, with constant questions running in my head about collaboration and communication.
Where do artists from very diverse creative activities find a common language and understanding to make a work that everyone involved is happy with, and where they also understand what they were letting themselves in for? How do artists create work where the two art forms of film and dance are truly balanced and integrated visually, technically and choreographically? Even if one person is in charge - choreographing the dance and directing the screen - how does that person come to understand both sides of the art form equally?
I ask these questions because I see so much work that is choreographed and danced beautifully but doesn’t exploit the cinematic potential of the screen and I see work that looks incredibly cinematic but doesn’t engage with the kinaesthetic quality and choreographic energy of the movement. I see a lot of work that makes me think the artists involved have never watched any other screen dance at all. Of course, like both dance and film, the field can be broad in its range and can accommodate all styles and artistic voices, but when you come across yet another work set in an abandoned building shot on a wide lens in slow motion off a fixed tripod with fades to black between each shot set to cello music with no location sound; you do start to wonder if people really pay attention or care that the approach they are taking is doing their work a disservice.
I also hear artists on both sides of the process, talking about how unhappy they are with what they got involved in and they wonder how it could have been better.
The range of misunderstandings and poor communication that arise from fusing an embodied physical practice with a visual motion design process are a constant theme running through the unhappiness that these artists expressed.
I looked around and saw while there are text books that can help instruct this process they still follow a convention that may not be useful to an interdisciplinary or hybrid type collaboration. A process that requires a type of design thinking to support clear communication across disciplines needs tools to support that. This involves listening, learning and being willing to work outside of comfort zones and knowledge silos.
I aim to guide you through this with my own texts, set exercises, and discursive approaches I have developed through practical workshops around the world, whilst also drawing on the knowledge and expertise of high profile artists and teachers I have been privileged to meet and work with over the years.
You can also watch the intro video here with captions from YouTube
Simon Fildes is an international award-winning film-maker, artist, curator and teacher who has worked in a range of organisations as a researcher, creative producer, project manager and lecturer. He has spent most of his working life as a freelance in the arts, music and media sectors, editing and producing for broadcast television, arts and corporate sectors while developing an internationally acknowledged personal practice in creative media arts and dance on screen. After completing a Biology degree, Simon spent time working in the music industry before going on to gain a media arts post-graduate diploma at DJCAD, Dundee University. More recently he gained an MSc degree with distinction in Sustainable Development through the University of the Highlands and Islands. This breadth of Science, Arts and Social Science education gives Simon a uniquely interdisciplinary perspective.
More information can be found at www.fildes.work
Frequently Asked Questions
Thank you for choosing this course. I really appreciate the time you have spent here working your way through through these exercises. Please keep in touch about any new projects you create!