In the year 2000, the University of Wisconsin-Madison held the first-ever International Dance for the Camera Symposium, which has, for the last twenty+ years, been a global touchstone for the field. It was a historic meeting that attracted not only scholars and practitioners of the genre, but choreographers and video/film makers from around the world including Latin American, the UK, Europe and elsewhere. In addition to generating dialogue on the history and theory of the field, the symposium included roundtable discussions, lectures, and a screening of selected dance film and video work from around the world. It also provided a generational bridge to the future of the art form. As an outgrowth of the symposium, a number of participants took the experience back to their own communities and continued to nurture the field through courses, festivals, workshops and other forms of audience building.

The guests at the first Dance for Camera Symposium included, among others, such renowned pioneers in the field as Rodrigo Alonso, Argentina (curator/historian), Nuria Font, Spain (curator), Sita Popat, England (choreographer/dance researcher), Ami Skanberg, Sweden (choreographer/ filmmaker), Silvina Szperling, Argentina (dance video artist/curator) and Laura Taler, Canada (director), Doris Chase, internationally acclaimed visual artist and multimedia pioneer, Elliott Caplan, filmmaker in residence at the Cunningham Dance Foundation from 1983 to 1998, Dance Historian and critic Sally Banes, and film critic Noel Carrol, Cine-Dance pioneer Amy Greenfield, and Elaine Summers, a pioneer of intermedia performance including dance, film, sculpture, and music.

Since that time, the field has grown exponentially.  There have been numerous international gatherings and symposia, new festivals and screening opportunities and new voices have emerged through both scholarship and practice.  There is an International Journal of Screendance and brilliantly written books, articles and chapters that focus on the practice in multiple languages by deeply thoughtful writers. As the field has evolved in the last two decades, it is a perfect time to bring together interdisciplinary artists and practitioners, scholars and historians to share new research in the field and to continue to build a welcoming international community.

We are pleased to announce State of the Art: the 2022 International Symposium on Screendance.  The event will be held at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and co-sponsored by the UW Art Department and the Department of Dance.  The symposium is generously supported by the Virginia Horne Henry Fund. This year’s symposium will focus on a number of topics that are timely to the field of screendance, including, but not limited to, the Feminist roots of screendance, the generational and evolving critical landscape of the field, de-colonizing screendance, race and gender in screendance, intersectionality and facilitating new ways of knowing the cinematic body and mapping the literature of the field.

We hope that this event also serves as a bridge between newer generations of practitioners and thinkers in the field and the elders still active in whom much of the historic and institutional memory of the earlier days of Screendance resides. While we are now in the initial planning stages of the event, we hope you will save the date and plan to attend.  We are looking forward to creating a forum for discussion, reflection and aspirational, futurist, and intentional thinking about the future of our field.

Pictured: still from Site with performers Tonia Isaac, Li Chiao-Ping, & Karen Kaeja