VIDEO CORPO Shifts Lens on Dance in Film

Video Corpo Festival shifts the lens on movement with the collaboration of three innovative performance presenters: Defibrillator Gallery: Nov. 16–Dec. 7, 1029 W. 35th Street; Zephyr Dance: Nov. 17–Dec. 7, at SITE/less, 1250 W. Augusta Boulevard; and Pivot Arts: Nov. 30 at Chicago Filmmakers, 5720 N. Ridge Avenue. 


The festival explores the intersection of video, visual art, architecture and movement-based performance in installations curated by Artistic Directors Michelle Kranicke of Zephyr Dance and SITE/less, Joseph Ravens of Defibrillator Gallery, and Julieanne Ehre of Pivot Arts.


In addition to the goal of expanding audiences in three distinctly different, underserved Chicago neighborhoods— Bridgeport, Noble Square, and Edgewater respectively—the festival aspires to heighten audience perception of movement-based art through the experimental use of film in unconventional performance settings.


Kranicke sites choreographer Yvonne Rainer’s work as a central influence for the Festival and her work.  As one of the founding members of the revolutionary Judson Dance Theater in 1962, Rainer, who trained with Martha Graham and Merce Cunningham,  pioneered the combination of pedestrian movement with classical dance and theatricality, the juxtaposition of incongruous elements, and the unconventional use of space in order to alter perception. Rainer’s interest in blurring the lines between performers and non-performers also influenced Kranicke in cultivating collaborations with Ravens and Ehre to co-curate the Video Corpo Festival.


Zephyr, a dance-based company, premieres Kranicke’s Wall Dance-Rough Cuts, a film version of her work of the same name. Originally choreographed as a live- performance gallery installation titled, “Allowances and Occurrences” (2012), Wall Dance evolved as a a live-performance adaptation of this work last spring when Zephyr opened its new performance space, SITE/less, with architect/collaborator David Sundry. An exposed brick  wall of the SITE/less space soon became the canvas for Wall Dance, taking off from images of Medieval and Renaissance art bas reliefs.


Kranicke's Wall Dance—Rough Cuts grapples with the challenge of transposing her live-performance choreography to a two-dimensional surface, exploring how the art forms of dance and film can interact to alter perception of elements they both share, such as speed, duration, rhythm, shape, flow, and focus, creating an entirely new visceral experience of movement for the audience. Film editing, Kranicke found, became an additional choreographic element.  


Both the SITE/less and Defibrillator Gallery Festival offerings share the common objectives of empowering the audience with choices for how they experience the events, using unconventional projection surfaces for viewing the video installations, and looping the films so that audience members can go from film to film to film.  


At SITE/less, an architectural installation by architect David Sundry serves as a projection surface which viewers can enter to view the film. Wall Dance—Rough Cuts will also play in continuous loop on the wall, large screens, cantilevered surfaces and TV monitors, highlighting how we experience film, and screendance, in different contexts.


In contrast to the slow, hypnotic Wall Dance, the SITE/less installation will also screen On Falling, a fast-paced choreographic exploration of energy states by Nadia Oussenko, and Short Silent Films (1966-94) by dancer, choreographer, filmmaker, singer, and composer, Meredith Monk, providing a historic through-line to today’s work.  In addition to the opening on November 17th, SITE/less offers gallery hours Wednesday through Saturday from 1-5 PM November 21st through December 7th.Meredith Monk


Defibrillator Gallery, known as an experimental laboratory for interdisciplinary performance art, opens Video Corpo November 16 at 7 p.m. with video installations by Marianne M. Kim, a Korean- American interdisciplinary artist working in screendance, multimedia installation, choreography, and performance art, and Danièle Wilmouth, who creates hybrid forms of film, video, installation, and live art. Israeli filmmaker and School of the Art Institute grad Michal Samama presents “Screensaver,” using her own nude body as the subject of highly abstracted images. Chicago filmmaker Laura Corcuera will screen her “Guerrilla Dance on the Red Line,” projected onto the floor surface to create a unique movement perspective. All four works open up the question of what constitutes dance.

Artistic director Joseph Ravens describes Defibrillator’s Festival offerings as a “hybrid of screendance and a visual art exhibition,”  using conventional white-box gallery installations similar to an art gallery to frame images for “body conversations” with lenses where the borders and edges of the lens play with the framing, fragmenting perceptions of the body. Gallery hours: Monday, Nov. 19-Friday, Dec.7, 10 AM-5 PM. Closed 11/22 and 11/23.

Pivot Arts, which specializes in site-specific performance art,  presents a one-night-only screening and panel discussion on Friday, November 30 at 7:30 p.m. The program presents four works all choreographed for film. All, by Sarah C. Prinz, Danny Rosenberg, and Amy Wilkinson, is a moving portrait of people with Parkinson’s Disease. Separate Sentences, by Austin Forbord and Amy Dowling, looks at populations of incarcerated people. Insan, by Tommy Pascal, is set in a war-torn country and explores adversarial relationships.  Sara Zalek, whose Butoh dance background colors her film, Formidable Dreams, telling the tale of the hero-trickster archetype and his influence on subconscious states. Pivot Arts artistic director Julieanne Ehre describes the event as “a great opportunity for film and dance buffs to come together at Chicago Filmmakers’ wonderful new space in a converted firehouse at the intersection of Ridge and Brynmawr.” A panel discussion led by Loyola professor of dance Amy Wilkinson will follow the screenings. 


For details and tickets, go to and click on "See Dance."