Screendance: A New Visual Language

A festival showing of new dance films made for the screen

The film program “Screendance, A New Visual Language” features seven award-winning short dance films from around the world including artists from Germany, Scotland, Sweden, Tibet and the U.S.
The program is on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 7:30-9 pm in Annenberg Auditorium, Cummings Art Building, 435 Lasuen Mall. It is free and open to the public.

Screendance, the short film form in dance media is diverse, global, emergent, alive, trans-media and continually evolving. The hybrid medium is an active spectrum, encompassing a broad range of cinematic styles from surreal visual abstractions to strict narratives.

Lynette Kessler, founding director of Dance Camera West Dance Media Film Festival in Los Angeles, curated this selection of films and will introduce them. Kessler led the visionary organization for ten years, creating an international brand and helped bring the innovative art form of screen dance to prominence. After the screening, Kessler will be joined by Ellen Bromberg, professor and founding director, Certificate in Screen Dance, University of Utah, for an informal conversation on the impact of technology upon dance and culture.

This event is part of a series organized by Dance Division lecturer Diane Frank under the SAI grant “The Body Electric: Forming & Morphing in the Digital Age.” The grant investigates the intersection of digital technology and dance. Campus partners include the Stanford Arts Institute, Stanford Continuing Studies, Cantor Art Center and the Department of Theater & Performance Studies.

This inimitable collection of screendance features stimulating and provocative films that depict movement both viscerally and conceptually while challenging traditional notions of choreography. These films translate the rich texture and nuance of physical communication onto screen to bring a new visual language for our time.

Some of the visual themes in the program include the effect movement has on gravity and architecture (rather than the other way around), the powerful depth of the dance experience for a hipster and his mother, the evolution of sand dance as it is passed down from father to son, to revealing one’s inner world in the most unlikely places, and manic virtuosic editing to dream-like stop-motion. Along with sophisticated sound scores, well-crafted production design and concise special effects help to produce original work that continues to fuel innovation pushing art in a new direction and impacting the way we perceive life in our world.

Screendance is a unique cinematic experience that merges cinematography and choreography. “Screendance stirs the imagination and adds a whole new dimension to understanding movement,” says Kessler. “The program includes numerous visual abstractions where the core perception of ‘dance’ as we know it may not exist. The screendance genre offers stimulating and sometimes provocative films that, as the name invokes, are never purely about dance nor wholly concerning film. They might, in other words, depict movement in a conceptual context, with all the eccentricities screendance offers as a storytelling medium.”

“The hybrid screendance medium is diverse,” said Kessler, “encompassing a broad range of cinematographic styles, digital applications, and subject matter traversing global perspectives. Audiences, whether or not they are dancers, will be treated to transformative visual experiences that merge performance and cinematic aesthetics.”



Dance media producer, consultant, curator.

As founding director of Dance Camera West Dance Media Film Festival in Los Angeles, Lynette led the visionary organization for ten years creating an international brand and helped bring the innovative art form of screen dance to prominence. Lynette has served on review panels for IMZ Dancescreen/San Francisco Dance Film Festival, EMPAC (Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center), IDILL (International Dance Online Festival) in partnership with Sadler’s Wells London and Charleroi Danses of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation and La Gaîté Lyrique Paris, Dance on Camera Festival New York. Lynette guest lectures at UCLA, University of California Irvine, and California Institute for the Arts (CalArts) and recently presented at the Cinedans Festival/IMZ Dance Screen in Amsterdam and the Latin American Video Danse Forum in Brazil. Lynette served on the Board of Directors for the Buckminster Fuller Institute, California E.A.R. Unit, New American Makers, Media Arts Advisory Committee of Los Angeles Unified School District, Artists Council of Los Angeles Performing Arts Music Center’s Glorya Kaufman Presents Dance. Lynette has two degrees in dance, MFA University of Michigan, BFA York University Toronto and is an Authorized Teacher of Continuum Movement.



Choreographer, filmmaker, media designer, curator, educator.

Ellen has received numerous awards for her work, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, three Bay Area Isadora Duncan Dance Awards, a Bonnie Bird American Choreographer Award, grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Arizona Commission on the Arts, and the George Soros Foundation. Ellen’s screen works have been presented on public television stations, online channels, and at numerous national and international film festivals including Lincoln Center’s Dance on Camera Festival, Cinedans Amsterdam, VideoDanza, Buenos Aires, and Dance Camera West, Los Angeles. Recent work focuses on the integration of media in performance, and she has designed video for stage and installations in her own work and in collaboration with other choreographers. A Professor at the University of Utah and recipient of a Distinguishing Innovation and Impact Award, Ellen is the founding director if the International Screendance Festival which began in 1999. She has also designed the first Graduate Certificate in Screendance.