Dancing through the screen

BY GRACE HAERR | APRIL 01, 2015 5:00 AM

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Jacob Holland, a University of Iowa senior and cinema major, didn't know what to expect from FilmScene's showing of the Sundance Festival. Listen to his testimonial after viewing the show.

Audio compiled and edited by Lily Abromeit

FilmScene welcomed guests on the first day of Mission Creek Festival to view a collection of short films, compiled together as the Iowa Screendance Festival.

The festival is a combination of eight short films created by local and national dance filmmakers. Local filmmakers Tori Lawrence and Elizabeth Bergman curated the show.

Each film is a product of Lawrence, Bergman, or their close friends.

“[Bergman] and I knew everybody we curated in this show,” Lawrence said.

The show featured a variety of films, ranging from documentary-esque shorts with dialogue to shots of a dancer running through fields in Ireland.

In one film, “That Dizzying Crest,” by Jeremy Moss, a woman danced accompanied by only a piano. The screen was bright, flashing with inverted colors through an old film reel.

“It played around with 16-millimeter film — that was really interesting,” said University of Iowa senior Jacob Holland. “I also liked that it played with digital format.”

Cinema major Holland said that although he wasn’t sure what to expect from the show, the films impressed him.

“I was not entirely sure what I was going into,” he said. “It actually surprised me how awesome all of these pieces were.”

One memorable one for Holland was “Pidgin/Pigeon,” a creation of Bergman’s. The short featured a woman in a pink tutu dancing on top of soda cans. She kicks the cans, dances around them, and lies down on them.

“When I saw the cans next to the Dumpster, at first, I was very critical,” Holland said about the fourth film in the show. “I thought, terrible sound, terrible image, but then it went into a really interesting commentary.”

Most of the films only featured female dancers, something Lawrence said she and Bergman find to be an interesting concept.

“Men still dominate choreography,” Lawrence said. “[Bergman] works with a male cinematographer, and I have two male cameramen. But we were interested in female perspectives in this male dominated field.”

This interest manifested in one of her featured films, “Muirín.” In the film, a woman dances in the wind over cliffs and through water, very aware of the nature around her.

For Bergman, the focus was not entirely on making a statement about the male-dominated industry but commented on self-reflection as well.

In “Introspect,” by Bergman, a woman is first shown in a dressing room, looking at herself in a mirror. The shot then moves to her dancing on broken mirrors in the aisle and on stage of the Englert.

“Mirrors lie, and they can be dangerous to stare into,” Bergman said. “The mirrors used in my piece symbolize reflection and the idea of how I want to be more aware of what my body is doing and not how it looks. The male gaze coming from the audience in the theater shows my awareness of others looking at me.”

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