Transferring Energy

Whether using stationary supports, traveling supports, or freeform techniques, the operator of the camera is empowered with the ability to influence the qualitative nature of the resulting footage. Attention to subtle nuances while partnering the camera, such as weight-shifts, breath, and energy can drastically increase the success by which source footage communicates effort. This attention to “the how,” which Alwin Nikolais calls “motion,” is determined by the precise combination and delivery of time, space, and shape components. All that dancers know about performance techniques comes into play here. Sensitivity is key.

“In filmdance there is no direct projection of muscular energy from the dancer, through three-dimensional space, to the viewer. Instead, the viewer seems drawn into the projection space of the film, through an energy as immediate as live dance, but far different, and achieved through specific filmic means.”
From Filmdance: Space, Time and Energy by Amy Greenfield (1983)

“Shooting dance is a very visceral, creative, and non-intellectual experience. I strongly believe that dancers can make excellent cinematographers. There is a stereotype that cinematographers can only be big, burly men. Dancers, in particular women, need to buck the stereotype, get over their technology phobia, and pick up the camera. Dance film is a visual art that involves movement, strength, and physical awareness. What better field for a dancer?”
From “Dancing with the Camera: The Dance Cinematographer” by Evann E. Siebens inside Envisioning Dance on Film and Video