Visual Politics in American Dance Film

CDR lunchtime presentation by Cara Hagan, University of Roehampton, room tbc

Image - Visual Politics in American Dance Film

This research seminar explores stylistic and demographic commonalities found in American dance film through the curatorial lens of ADF’s Movies by Movers, an international dance film festival situated within the famed American Dance Festival. Between the seasons of 2015 and 2018, Curator and Director Cara Hagan surveys data derived from the submission pool to the festival with findings based on numbers taken for gender, race, age, and ability, as well as taking note of stylistic trends from season to season. While calling into question how the dance film community can be more intentional about the ways dance film is produced and presented with regard to representation, Hagan reveals instances of disparity found in American dance film while examining the relationship of dance film to the ideologies perpetuated by mass media and the world of professional dance. Hagan refers to her findings as visual politics. While the term is not new, in this instance, visual politics refer to the people and situations we see on screen with respect to the culture created in two-dimensional space by makers and presenters in the collective; influenced by socio-cultural norms in the real world; affected by the lens through which we view the arts and arts industries. With this definition as a basis, Hagan uses her data and interviews with curators and artists across the United States to paint a clearer picture of the representational landscape of dance film across America.