Things to do in Miami: ScreenDance Festival 18.-28. January 2022

It can be argued that dance is as important to the human experience as speech. So much can be said through the body. For centuries, people have used body movements in social contexts, from parties to funerals.

So why is it that dance as an art form can feel so inaccessible to the masses? Anyone can dance – for hell, even “bad” dancing is still dancing.

“What ScreenDance Miami is trying to do is expand the definition of what can be done with movement, and not just movement of bodies, but movement of hair, eyes, mouth, birds,” says Pioneer Winter. “We’ve got some great movies over the years that have really answered the need to expand that definition.”

Winter is a renowned choreographer in his own right, and is responsible for leading this year’s festival, created by Tigertail Productions and presented by the Miami Light Project. ScreenDance takes place 18.-28. January at various venues throughout the city as well as online and features more than 27 films, four of which are full-length.

ScreenDance highlights body movements in all its forms, while celebrating dance as an art form. The festival also incorporates workshops throughout the run to strengthen practice.

“For someone who has never been to the festival, it’s a mix of a lot of different types of film techniques and dance styles,” Winter says. “The thing that all these films have in common is that when they were created, they were created with the camera in mind.”

Focusing on capturing motion on camera is what sets ScreenDance apart from your average dance recital. On stage, the dancers must appear larger than life so that they can capture the attention of the entire room, but in front of a camera, the movement can be revealed as nuanced. Even with the slightest body movement, much can be said through movies that could otherwise get lost on stage.

“The film’s director also has the power to direct your gaze. I may be the most controlling director in the world, but once an audience looks on stage, they can see where they want to go,” Winter says. “Movies allow for that specificity. Where should I go? Where should I be focused?”

ScreenDance is also a great way for audiences who may have trouble finding an art form that is relevant to familiarize themselves with it. From small short films to longer features, the festival aims to remove the notion that dance is esoteric. The festival features shorts by Hattie Williams, GeoVanna Gonzalez, Dale Andree, Amadeus McCaskill, Rosy Simas, Sean Dorsey, Marta Renzi and Gina Margillo, among others.

Then there are the four feature films, which help to highlight some of the biggest names in the dance world.

Things kick off on Thursday, January 20 with a showing of Can You Bring It: Bill T. Jones and D-Man in the Waters, directed by Tom Hurwitz and Rosalynde LeBlanc, at Light Box at Goldman Warehouse.

“This is the movie I’m most excited about,” Winter says. “It focuses on [Rosalynde LeBlanc], a former dancer in Bill T. Jones’ company, and she is also co-director of the film, and she is resuming a work that was choreographed by Bill T. Jones in 1989. That dance was about HIV and loss and about specific members of the company which had either passed or was about to pass. How do you translate such a work to now? And how do you do that when you have a bunch of adults watching their friends die at the height of the AIDS crisis versus 2017-18 for undergraduate students in a dance program? How do they find that connection? “

Winter describes the film as intense and beautiful, bringing together many different perspectives.

Other features to be featured at the festival include Breath made visible, a film directed by Ruedi Gerber about the life and career of postmodern dancer and choreographer Anna Halprin, at O ​​Cinema South Beach (January 23). Participants can also view demonstrations in SoundScape Park, including Dance (January 21), the 2006 film by Sol LeWitt of Lucinda Childs’ performance of the same name with music by Philip Glass and Connie Hochman’s 2021 documentary In Balanchine’s classroom (January 28), which takes audiences back in time with George Balanchine at the New York City Ballet.

“Last year, we got a lot of movies involved in quarantine, very isolation-based,” Winter notes. “It was nice to see what the other trends were this year – working more outside; this desire to connect with nature. This idea of ​​ecological entanglement; that we are inextricably linked to our environment and can not separate from it. It’s a buffet and I think there is some really strong work this year. “

ScreenDance Miami Festival. Tuesday, January 18th through Friday, January 28th in various locations; miamilightproject.com. However, admission is free with RSVP to all events Can you bring it tickets cost $ 10.

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