Tag Archives: Covid-19

Publication; This Is Where We Dance Now: Covid-19 and the New and Next in Dance Onscreen

Cover photo by Elena Benthaus, used with permission. Cover design by Regina Harlig.

We are thrilled to announce the publication of The International Journal of Screendance vol. 12, This Is Where We Dance Now: Covid-19 and the New and Next in Dance Onscreen, at https://doi.org/10.18061/ijsd.v12i0.

As always, the issue is free to download.

This journal special issue arose in part to document and account for how amateur, artistic, and academic communities pivoted to reimagine what it means to practice dance and screendance under what for most of us were unprecedented circumstances, when all dance became screendance. A running theme of this issue is how well our existing understandings of screendance—and indeed of our world as a whole—held up under the pressures of a heavily mediated and mediatized pandemic. The intense and collective (though not universal) turn to screendance and to the internet has revealed and accelerated extant politics, platforms, norms, and genres in dance, while also opening up space to reconsider the values attached to each of these. This journal has always maintained the position that screendance encompasses more than dance film, and this issue reflects a renewed insistence that there is something both useful and urgent about gathering together the various projects of dance onscreen and considering them alongside each other.

We are very excited to have contributors writing from five continents, with articles by L. Archer Porter, Francesca Ferrer-Best, Hetty Blades, Claire Loussouarn, Siobhan Murphy, Callum Anderson, Dara Milovanovic, and Kate Mattingly and Tria Blu Wakpa. Provocations and Viewpoints were contributed by Elisa Frasson, Marisa C. Hayes, Marco Longo, Ariadne Mikou, and Katja Vaghi; Catherine Cabeen; Kathryn Logan; Maïko Le Lay; Sandhiya Kalyanasundaram; Elena Benthaus; Rebecca Salzer; Melissa Blanco Borelly and madison moore; Sumedha Bhattacharyya; Diane Busuttil; and Omari ‘Motion’ Carter. The issue also includes Interviews between Laura Vriend and Nichole Canuso, and Tsiambwom Akuchu and Alexandra Harlig, and a review by Jo Cork.

This issue introduces roundtables as a print format, featuring edited and condensed forms of the three roundtables presented at our March symposium: TikTok and Short-form Screendance, Screendance Festivals and Online Audiences, and The Future of Screendance. Additionally, full-length videos are available on both the journal and conference websites.

The editors Harmony Bench and Alexandra Harlig.

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This Is Where We Dance Now: Covid-19 and the New and Next in Dance Onscreen

This Is Where We Dance Now: Covid-19 and the New and Next in Dance Onscreen is a symposium happening over two weekends—March 12-13 and March 19-20, convened by Harmony Bench and Alexandra Harlig at Ohio State University, US. The symposium will have focused roundtables on TikTok, screendance festivals, and the future of the field, as well as paper presentations and lightning talks. We’ll also have an opportunity for attendees to talk with the editorial board for The International Journal of Screendance and share thoughts and ideas about future directions.

Please see the full schedule and presenter bios at https://u.osu.edu/thisiswherewedancenow/symposium-schedule/

The symposium is free, but everyone must register at https://osu.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJwvcuuhqD4vGNSHPPn2Np_c2d9nwJ3jEoCO. This will generate an email with a link and password to join; there is one Zoom link for the entire symposium.

We will continue to update the website with more information. We will also be on social media with the hashtag #WhereWeDanceNow.

We’re really looking forward to this event, and hope you are too. Please share.

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Humanos en sociedad (Loïe, Edicion 06)

The Buenos Aires based screendance magazine Loïe has recently published it’s 6th issue, with a variety of reflective journalistic articles and an editorial by Susana Temperley and Magdalena Casanova, in which they ponder on the impact of the pandemic on dance. As the editorial is published in Spanish I copy a few lines and paraphrase, as I very much like the sentiment of Susana and Magdalena’s words.

They begin by stating that this issue could have been blank and that the virus could have silenced us. Instead, our bodies – which are not only our way of being in the world but also our tool and means to work – double a sense of urgency. They continue “Pero, así como, a pesar de todo, el cuerpo y la danza encontraron caminos para seguir moviendo, callarnos no era una opción -no hubiera podido ser- y debimos, nosotros también, encontrar maneras de decir ese movimiento.”

The editorial team writes that despite everything, the bodies and the dance have found ways to continue moving, and that going quiet was not an option. Later they refer to the Danses Macabres, the Medieval Dance of Death, which speaks so much of our vulnerability but also asserts the body as the basis of our terrestrial existence and reminds us that dance rituals identify us as social beings, as humans that are part of a society.

“[…] las Danses Macabres aparecen como emblema de la centralidad del cuerpo, único soporte de nuestra existencia terrenal. ¿Por qué la danza? La danza, como parte constitutiva del ritual, es un instrumento que nos identifica como humanos en sociedad.”

Humanos en socieded; In the UK there have been many references recently to Margaret Thatcher’s 1987 statement, that “There is no such thing as society“. While Thatcher said this at the time to argue against the tendency to blame society for all of children’s problems, instead of people taking responsibility themselves, the categorical nature of the statement shocked many and the sentence continues to circulate and resonate today. David Cameron tried to make amends and change direction in 2010, when he launched the ‘Big Society’, but few were convinced of his new version of society, which looked mainly like a a cover up for public spending cuts.

While Covid-19 appeared to temporarily show a different side of what a conservative government could be, the most recent row over the refusal to cover school meals for the poorest of the poorest kids suggests that that was a blip by a government, that was perhaps caught of guard and out of its depth when the pandemic hit Britain. The current row over school meals has been compared to Charles Dickens’ novel Oliver Twist, a revealing portrait of London’s poverty in the 1830s and the systemic degradation, exclusion and confinement of the poor by the political leadership. By contrast, the systemic pampering of the wealthy continues to this day, see for example the subsidies for and provision of free meals for the members of parliament, who earn between 77K and 150K! [see petition to end subsidies]

In the UK many will have taken part in the pandemic’s weekly ritual of clapping the NHS and care workers, until it transpired that they get paid a pittance for their exhausting work and that care workers sometimes have no access to sickness benefits, meaning that they have to go to work even when they fall ill (read: when they have possibly contracted Covid-19….). Covid-19 is a disease of poverty. In Start of the Week (BBC Radio 4, 25/10/200) John Micklethwait, economist and author of The Wake Up Call (2020) says that “In the American tax code, there is $1.6 trillion exemptions and virtually all of which goes to the well off.” Might there be a similar situation in the UK, and many other Western democracies? Under the veneer of a modern – compassionate? – conservative State with its super wealthy political elite there appears to be brutality and a disregard or disdain for what society could be that is relatively unchallenged, and that has possibly not changed much since the 1830s.

I am coming back to Susana and Magdalena’s words, that the dance is an “instrumento que nos identifica como humanos en sociedad”; it looks like there is still a lot of dancing to be done.

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