2006 Festival Report
Dance Camera West (DCW) continued to make a serious impact on the Los Angeles community with our successful June 2006 festival of critical programming and well attended, often sold out, houses.
DCW’s June 2006 festival started with a full page article in the Los Angeles Times, Sunday May 28th, Calendar section by dance writer Lewis Segal. He did a critical review of the programming and included three large photographs. We have been fortunate to receive lengthy stories on the festival over the past five years. All of these Los Angeles Times articles and other press can be found at www.dancecamerawest.com/press.htm.
We went on to an incredible month of festival events, where we presented over 50 dance films involving hundreds of artists from around the world. Our sold out programs at The Roy and Edna Disney/CALARTS (REDCAT) theater, along with our unique screenings in The Hammer Museum Courtyard, drew over a thousand attendees from many different communities throughout Los Angeles, bringing new audiences to the arts and particularly to dance.
Our opening night at The REDCAT theater was sold out three days in advance. The first weekend of the festival we screened four programs of international screen dance, a form of new dance media that is quite developed in Europe, Canada and now South America. Until Dance Camera West, this genre had rarely been seen in Los Angeles. Also that weekend we presented local modern dance icon Rudy Perez in his documentary COUNTDOWN followed by a Q & A moderated by arts journalist Victoria Looseleaf with Mr. Perez, director Rachel Perez-Bitan, as well as producer Sergio Perez.
The Hammer Museum provided the venue for two separate programs during this year’s festival. We installed 25 new dance media works throughout the Hammer Museum Courtyard in a program entitled Beyond Dance Film: Physical Expression and Visual Media. Midway through the month, our critical dialogue on The Future of Dance on Screen with guest dance film festival directors from Norway and Seattle inspired a vital conversation to a full house in Gallery 6 at the Hammer Museum.
Later in the month, the Carlos Saura film, TANGO, was greatly appreciated and very well attended at the American Cinematheque. We closed the festival with two screenings of the documentary A PLACE TO DANCE presented with The Los Angeles Film Festival. A poignant film showing the spirit of dance helping a group of elderly Big Band dancers survive Hurricane Katrina. Several of the films octogenarian subjects from New Orleans along with director Alan Berg attended the screening for a lively Q & A.
We had two more public screenings since the festival. On August 5th we presented New Visions in Dance at Grand Performances downtown; a film program of DCW’s highlights from previous festivals. On September 29th we opened a week long run of BEEN RICH ALL MY LIFE at the Laemmle Music Hall Theatre in Beverly Hills. The story is about the Silver Belles - five tap dancers who performed in the 1930’s Harlem at the famed Apollo Theater and Cotton Club with legendary band leaders Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington and Louie Armstrong. Attending the opening night was 87 year old Fay Ray who is featured in the documentary and ended the Q & A by leading the audience members in the Shim Sham Shimmy, a traditional community “jam” dance practiced by dancers since the 20’s. Over half the audience knew it!
In just five short years, Dance Camera West has become internationally recognized as one of the foremost dance film festivals. We have successfully established the exciting new genre of “dance made for screen” and provide some of the most intriguing art experiences in Los Angeles. Our new membership program grew beyond our projected figures for the first six months and more and more local artists are beginning to explore the innovative genre of dance on screen - all indicators of continued growth.
DCW has momentum and an example of this motion forward is a recent request to develop a weekly national broadcast. DCW would like to hire a festival manager in 2007. I would like to focus on the artistic direction of programming for both the festival and the broadcast. I want to be able to manage the festival with a festival manager and administrative manager and develop the TV program that has been proposed.
We present both emerging artists as well as established professionals to encourage productive dialogue and collaboration among the various artists and performers who are part of the dance film community on a local and international scale. Before DCW, very few opportunities existed for choreographers, filmmakers, dancers and other artists involved in this new field to come together. Without the encouragement of such a forum, the genre would not experience the dynamic growth that it needs.
There is a new incentive by the recently appointed cultural task force by the mayor to increase the presence of dance here in Los Angeles. Dance Camera West is already in full swing in helping to expand the audience and grow this undernourished art form. As an organization DCW would like to continue expanding the field of dance and dance for the screen through our month long festival and special screenings throughout the year. By promoting the avant-garde of screendance as well as educational and entertaining dance on film DCW continues to enhance LA’s cultural life in a meaningful way.
It takes an unreasonable amount of confidence and commitment to create an effective arts organization and to keep it going. Please become unreasonable with us and help create another year of outstanding dance on screen programming here in Southern California.
Please join us as we enter our sixth festival in 2007.