Cine Dance

Liliana Resnick is watching dance film classics through the looking-glass of dance film pioneer Maya Deren

Dance films are a cinema of poetry, exploring certain ideas through various situations rather than narrative. This definition comes from the pioneer of dance film making who launched a new film movement in the early 1940s, Maya Deren. An independent worker and thinker, she explored the language of film in her theoretical writings as well as in practice. Her aesthetics demanded a transformation of reality using cinematic capabilities to manipulate space, time and movement. Her artistic manifesto was: the form of a work of art is the physical manifestation of its moral structure.


Maya Deren called her films “choreographies for the camera.” In her most famous, “Meshes Of The Afternoon” (1943, 15 min., made in collaboration with Alexander Hammid), dance is not explicitly used. However, motion is everywhere. Silent, except for the music, the film moves through different spaces in no logical order. Logic gets confused when it interacts with the world of dreams. Every move has a direction and purpose, nothing is excessive, nothing is missing, and everything happens in a few cycles with open endings. The audience is very aware of the presence of the character, played by Maya Deren herself, ...

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Tanz Jahrbuch 2005
Rubrik: Schwerpunkt, Seite 46
von Liliana Resnick

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