Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Slow Dancing

High-speed, high-definition cameras recording at 1,000 frames per second have been with us for a while, showing astoundingly beautiful details of sports events. Artist David Michalek uses this technology to make video portraits of dancers, and shows them in installations using a number of screens, one per dancer. A short movement phrase of perhaps 5 seconds, is played back in 10 minutes of extreme slow motion, enabling the viewer to see the complexity of the simplest gestures, catching details that would normally escape the naked eye.

London has been a bit slow to catch up with showings of dance video made with this technology, but Slow Dancing is now in London in Trafalgar Square, from Tue 6 - Fri 9 July, starting at 9pm, and it will move on to the Village Underground, 54 Holywell Lane, London EC2A 3PQ, from Tuesday 13 - Saturday 24 July. The list of participants in this unique installation reads like a who's who of dance talent, including Wendy Whelan, Shantala Shivalingappa, Judith Jamison, William Forsythe, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Alexei Ratmansky.

This is another free dance event.

What fascinates me is that this use of technology completely removes choreography from dance. Choreography is something that happens in time, whether in five minutes or in the hour or two that a 'show' takes. This technique strips away choreography and shows us dance simply in terms of body movement. & (to me, anyway) the body in movement is one of the most beautiful things there is. There are choreographers I admire, but to me they are best when they show the freedom and complexity of movement. &, of course, my favourite dance is choreography-free! But nevertheless I find Slow Dancing a very beautiful and fascinating project.

Here's the 2007 installation at the Lincoln Centre. The video is the Sadlers Wells presentation for the project in London.


Simba said...

Wow! That's amazing! It is very well done, unlike much video art. Cool that they include (very) different dance genres as well and some samples on the web page for those of us living in the provinces.

Tangocommuter said...

It looks great, doesn't it! If you imagine three screens, larger than life, and you watch perhaps 20 individual dancers in an hour... Beautiful!

I'm trying to find out the schedule for the Village Underground installation which starts next week; I'll post it when I know.