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Kamarck, Edward (ed.) / Arts in society: growth of dance in America
(Summer-Fall, 1976)

Lorber, Richard
Dance literacy: [toward an aesthetics of videodance],   pp. 242-[253] PDF (10.3 MB)


Page [252]


Video strangely disconnects my perceptions
of a moving body-image from my own
musculature: I do not feel what I see-
(as / may with film). Nor does it convey
weight and propulsion from eye into
body.. 17
A choreographer who is now working in
video, Marjorie Gamso, amplifies some of
these concerns in describing her feelings:
Distances, spatial gaps between dancers
entrance me at live performances, whereas
I want bodies to fill the space entirely in
video pieces. Bodies in videospace lack
weight/substance, so it takes drastic close-
ups to draw my attention beyond the
surface.. 18
The crucial aesthetic issue for both live dance
and videodance is the artist's and audience's
perception of gravity.
Whether in ballet, where the body is in con-
flict with gravity, acrobatically aspiring to
flight, or in modern forms where the forces
and subtleties of gravity are more empatheti-
cally revealed, in live dance gravity is the
kinesthetic constant. But with dance seen on
television, in its glowing flatness and lesser-
than-life scale, the relationship of normal
gravity to the human body becomes an almost
trivial awareness. On the TV screen dancers
Marjorie Gamso, dancer. Video: Jeff Bush.
Photo by Tom Brazil. Arts Resources in
Collaboration.
often seem to move as though under water.
This tends to make viewers forlorn of live
dance.
In my considerations of video space for dance
the force of gravity need not be lost. It's quite
there. Only the gravitational plane has been
tilted up ninety degrees from what is in live
space the floor. The plane of true pull in
video is the plane of the TV screen. All gravi-
tational tug in video is with the close-up, the
shot close-in. It's the most tactiley effective
and kinesthetically weighty view. But the
visual magnetism of the video close-up does
not hold movement well. As dance comes
closer to the video screen it may have to
move slower; or sublimate movement, as pres-
ence and stillness in space. While the force
of gravity is the source of drama and aesthetic
pleasure in live dance, in videodance which
is just beginning to express its medium,
gravity increases as forms close in on the
viewer, becoming more detailed, intimate and
penetrating. In videodance gravity creates
more personal viewer involvement.
In many ways unlike kinesthetic experience,
videodance provokes a psychological
response. This certainly suggests new con-
ceptual possibilities. Videodance, as a very
new medium, can be greater, in some ways
less, but always different than the sum of its
parts. As more paradigmatic works such as
Marjorie Gamso, dancer. Video: Jeff Bush.
Photo by Tom Brazil. Arts Resources in
Collaboration.
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