The Gordon Institute of Performing and Creative Arts

Film and Dance Conference

University of Cape Town South Africa 26-28 August 2011




Screendance and the Global Network - Online Dance Communities  

The rise of social media, telematic performance, online curating and platforms dedicated to screendance.

by Jeannette Ginslov

28 August 2011


It is a pleasure to share with you, a very brief view on the rise of the internet 2.0, social networking, its effects on screendance as well as my role as online producer, co-ordinator and curator of several online platforms dedicated to the art from. I will be sharing with you some examples of my experiences of online sites dedicated to screendance. There are many other sites. The ones I have selected happen to be the one’s I regularly use. It is beyond the scope of this paper to discuss them all here.


Traditionally dance was bound in time and space, framed by a proscenium arch, a stage in a theatre, where the audience needed to be physically present to witness this ephemeral art form. Throughout the 20th and the 21st century it has since then, moved outside those traditional parameters, and has became site specific.

the internet  is born

One of the most exciting sites is the Internet. Ironically the internet was created in the 1960’s by the US military, using it for sharing information from computer to computer via satellite communication systems.

the world wide web

06 August 1991, Tim Berners-Lee, created in his garage a hypertextprogramme – www. for personal computers. Here is the first jpeg sent via www.  The World Wide Web allowed the home user to web surf in 1992, do online shopping in 1994, Google Search in 1998 and skype in 2003. Below is the first jpeg sent over the internet!


the web2.0 - social networking

The creation of Web 2.0 in 2000 gave us social networking or social media, via Facebook in 2004, YouTube 2005, with tagging, sharing, liking, annotations and twitter in 2006 for example. We now share information live with Cloud Computing, Cloud Tagging, Google Docs, Livestreaming, Google Plus etc.

We have now at our fingertips, internet dating, Avatars via Second Life, augmented reality applications, GPS, Flickr, Word Press etc.…and in 2011, a third of the world’s population is virtually connected. It is ubiquitous and considered to be the most democratic system of communication between users.


online channels - archiving

Dance practitioners, choreographers and screendance makers using new media and digital technologies, have embraced this phenomenon, using the internet as a platform, for networking, or showcasing their work or as a means of generating new dance material. They have either created their websites or used free online services: YouTube/Vimeo for archiving their material – this is where it all starts

I created a Walking Gusto YouTube Channel for all my work from stage, screen and internet

Here you will find my trailers, teasers, full length works, live performance works, collaborations, interactive and intermedia works etc. They span from my very first screendance work  Sandstone (1998) to the present day. These are then all connected to my website.

choreography and the internet

New ways of generating or devising dance material or choreographic strategies have been developed by choreographers/collaborators using the internet. The resultant works are:

Transmedia Projects: Dance practitioners use live You Tube clips with performance resulting in transmedia projects. Below is an example: a dancer uses a YouTube clip and an iPad. The dancer, Baiba Krievina uses an iPad with an uploaded video clip of the digestive system. From Host Guest Ghost #2 Baiba Krievina, Copenhagen June 2011.


Augmented Reality: Using iPhones and augmented reality GPS systems. Here the dance may be layered over the mapped area. I shall soon be working on a augmented reality project with media and dance academic Susan Kozel using this iPhone application. It will be exciting to see the outcomes.

Crowdsourcing: Online collaborators/viewers can also generate or choreograph the online work. This is crowdsourcing. Here the facilitator invites online contributions from online participants to upload video contributions in keeping with the theme of the project. Choreography is determined by the participants. For example: Waterwheel

An online platform exploring ‘water’ as a topic and metaphor, with online viewers contributing and uploading video clips of their own


WATERWHEEL. The platform is actually allowing:

  • crowdsourcing   (by uploading content on the wheel/media centre) but also
  • telematic performance.  This link takes you actually to a specific online venue (chat room - if you want) open at certain times to the public, offering streaming up to 6 webcams, mixing media (visual & audio) & drawing in realtime while online audience can comment/interact in the type chat.

This offers a new kind of performance where visuals can be moved around, resized, turned, faded in real time. So it gives also a new cinematic experience and projections possibilities without programing, as all frames (webcams or visuals) can be moved and adjusted in real time.


This practice ruptures hierarchal structures normally associated with traditional dance production methods and infrastructures. The notion of DIT – “Doing it together” repositions the international collaborators in a rhizomatic media field, the dance evolving from the user/collaborator rather than a Choreographer.

telematic performance

Livestreaming created in 2009 means that we can broadcast live over the internet and has given rise to telematic performance. Viewers are able watch live dance performances online with comments from the viewers at a specified time and URL address. For example:



social network choreographies


Flash Mobs

Social media platforms have also given rise to the flash mob, choreographed to look like an accidental dance jam, filmed and uploaded. This is then liked and shared.  The most viewed flash mob is the classic The T-Mobile Dance: with over 30,371,691 views.

The viral video

The Treadmill video: "Here It Goes Again"


Hip Hop Dance Mashup

getting organized – archive or download

Many online screendance platforms have emerged for archiving or downloading purposes. One of the better sites is Here you will find screendance works with a clear intention and shot accordingly to amplify the emotional and the kinesthetic in order to elicit empathetic responses from the viewer.

The site is refreshed regularly via a search engine that trawls through the web, automatically uploading works with appropriate tags. Then the administrator, Simon McPherson checks the video before releasing it.


“This site aggregates dance on screen content from around the world. This website has been gathering together anything and everything related to contemporary dance and video other screen media since 2003. The main focus of the website is everything pertaining to videodance. We are looking in particular for any critical writing or articles on videodance, but if its of interest then we will put it on.
 A definition of ‘video dance’ is movement-based work that is conceived and / or choreographed for viewing on a single screen - be it a TV, monitor or by projection - and that exists as a work in its own right, i.e. it is not part of a live performance.”

 screendance - online TV

Several Online TV Screendance platforms have been established

Video Dances TV


Tendu TV connected to iTunes, Amazon and Cinema Now! So you can purchase and download screendance works

Physical TV

The following are more about dance and technology or live performance works, documentaries, trailers and interviews


Physical TV

Sadler’s Wells Screen 

Videodanca+  VIDEODANÇA+

Videodance+ is a web media site that investigates the various relationships between dance and the moving image
The site is a mapping of experiences transitioning from film, dance and video to the study of dance included in the universe of new technologies and the Internet

sixty seconds of fame

Several one minute online screendance competitions have sprung up


Side by Side

Choreographic Captures


social media specialists -  producers, vloggers, curators

The use and creation of Social Media Platforms by dance practitioners has seen the rise of the online entrepreneur, curator, vlogger, social media manager and online producer. Marlon Barrios Solano developed a site dedicated to dance and technology. These are usually .ning sites

On these sites one develops one’s own page:

My other pages are:




This is central station


internet as stage

Most importantly however our dance audiences have been repositioned and are increasingly in front of computer screens, iPhones or iPads. Via Facebook and YouTube for example, they share links, videos, likes and comments, upload and exchange their favorite dance works, dance clips, viral videos, flash mobs etc.

The medium of screendance has been altered to suit the varying internet platforms which are much smaller than our “normal” stage, with single viewers sitting at a computer monitor. The narratives are simpler, cuts are faster, videos shorter, fewer dancers, have more close-ups and medium shots, with very few long shots overloaded information. The videos are quickly produced and shared, to be watched by viewers who do not spend more than a few minutes on each online video. The videos have lower production value as they are produced by a generation interested in disseminating information to others as quickly as possible. Above all the stage has become virtual.

In the last five years the Internet has informed both my research and had a profound effect on my practice. The sense of DIY or agency has motivated me to trust new applications and embrace with a certitude of self-empowerment and passing this over to others. Information needs to spread.

 producing online

I am now an associate producer and vlogger for


“Using the most advanced social software platforms and internet rich multimedia applications, provides movement and new media artists, theorist, thinkers and technologists the possibility of sharing work, ideas and research, generating opportunities for interdisciplinary collaborative projects. is a social networking website connecting people concerned about innovation and experimentation on movement  arts  and collaborative creativity in our contemporary world,  its evolving embodied practices knowledge, its stories and histories.”

I moderate the website checking all new members wanting to join the 3800 strong platform. The number of fembots wanting to join is staggering!

I am a vlogger and editor for the series Interviews and dance-techTV. Solano shoots, digitizes the videos and via Drop Box, he uploads the clips. I download, edit the clips and upload the completed video. He then checks it and I upload to dance-tech platforms with tags.

Example: dance-tech @ | @dance-tech Interview with Thomas Benjamin Snapp Pryor New York City

curating online

MoveStream is a page on which I created in 2010. I am an online producer and curator.

I gained experience from curating Montage video dance festival 2006-9 JHB.


“MoveStream provides an interdisciplinary platform that investigates the crossover between the boundaries usually found in media/dance/cinema/video and the internet. It provides a fresh and adaptive evolving domain for the public to engage with culture, choreography and performance. As a networked phenomenon, it encourages a much needed flow and exchange in Screendance discourse.

It offers a new Screening portal for Screendance makers with the possibility of developing new online performance vocabularies that reposition dance performance as a multi-sited, digitally mediated art form. Ease of accessibility encourages viewers to engage with the ontologies that are foregrounded in the interviews. It also serves as an open archive for Screendance, preserving the past with the capability of re-informing the present.”

Here I use the interview format as a means of reporting. I select a theme and record an interview with the Screendance makers over skype, that are edited together with short clips of their works. Then they are uploaded onto YouTube, dance-tech and BlipTV with annotations leading the viewer from one video to another. This invites the viewer to actively engage in the selection of their viewing experience.”

Introductory Video:


Interview with Mlu Zondi


co-ordinating online for Dansens Dage in Copenhagen Denmark. I am the co-ordinator for this online screendance competition. It invites the Screendance maker to shoot and edit exactly 60seconds of dance choreographed for the camera and the online platform. All participants have to comply with many rules and regulations with release forms included. There is prize money as well - €1,500 All the uploaded videos may still be seen on the Dansens Dage website as well as the You Tube Channel


And that concludes my presentation. I leave you with the most viewed online dance clip of all time and with the thought of why does dance work so well on screen? Here is Judson Laipply's THE EVOLUTION OF DANCE with 177,992,141 uploaded: Apr 6, 2006



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  • Great VIDEODANCE+ I have just added you in....Many thanks Jeannette

    Aproveito para divulgar o canal de pesquisa VIDEODANÇA+
    VIDEODANÇA+ é um web espaço aglutinador de mídias que investiga as diversas relações entre dança e imagem em movimento.

    A pesquisa faz um mapeamento de experiências transitando entre o cinema, dança e vídeo até o estudo da dança inserida no universo das novas tecnologias e da internet

  • thanks Jeannette for mentioning WATERWHEEL. The platform is actually allowing:

    • crowdsourcing   (by uploading content on the wheel/media centre) but also
    • telematic performance.  This link takes you actually to a specific online venue (chat room - if you want) open at certain times to the public, offering streaming up to 6 webcams, mixing media (visual & audio) & drawing in realtime while online audience can comment/interact in the type chat.

    This offers a new kind of performance where visuals can be moved around, resized, turned, faded in real time. So it gives also a new cinematic experience and projections possibilities without programing, as all frames (webcams or visuals) can be moved and adjusted in real time.

    Video tutorials will be made in few weeks. In meantime if you want to have a guided tour, please let me know. cheers  :) Suzon

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