Exploring the intersection of dance with film

An intriguing collection of Canadian and international dance films will be unreeled at York University during the “2004 Wendy Michener Symposium: Experimental Traditions of Canadian Dance on Film”. Taking place Nov. 9, the event will explore the intersection of dance and the camera – a relationship that was born with the advent of motion pictures and continues to fascinate viewers to this day.

Through screenings and talks focusing on Canada’s rich dance film legacy, the symposium will examine a range of works from early experimental productions to the most current examples of dance on film. The event will provide an overview of the many challenges, changes and contributions made by Canadian dance filmmakers, past and present.

The symposium starts at 2pm with “Canadian Dance on Film: Historical Perspectives”, a screening of a collection of short films dating from 1946 to 2001, curated by alumnus Jacob Korczynski (BFA ’02). A graduate of York University’ Film & Video Program, Korczynski’s curatorial credits include the film program for the Art Gallery of York University’s exhibition Sinbad in the Rented World and a series of site-specific video screenings for 64 Steps Contemporary Arts, a Toronto-based art gallery.

A second short film series, titled “Canadian Dance on Film: Contemporary Perspectives”, curated by Kathleen M. Smith, will be shown at 3:30pm. A writer, curator and producer of dance film and documentaries, Smith is co-founder and artistic director of Toronto’s “The Moving Pictures Festival of Dance on Film and Video”. She has written on dance, the arts, history and culture for The Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star, Toronto Life magazine, Dance in Canada, Dance Connection and many other publications.

Rounding out this showcase of films will be a panel discussion at 5pm, titled “Experimental Visions: Reflecting on Canadian Dance on Film”. The presenters are Kathleen M. Smith; dance and music performer, and producer Susanna Hood, founder and artistic director of the interdisciplinary performance company, hum; and York University alumna and filmmaker Izabella Pruska-Oldenhof, (MA ’03) a co-founder of the interdisciplinary film group The Loop Collective. Award-winning filmmaker, video artist, writer and television director John Greyson, who teaches in York University’s Department of Film & Video, will moderate the discussion.

Admission is free to all events which will be held in the Nat Taylor Cinema (N102 Ross Building). The Wendy Michener Symposium is co-presented by the departments and graduate programs in Dance and in Film & Video in York’s Faculty of Fine Arts. Named in honour of Canadian arts writer and broadcaster Wendy Roland Michener, the annual symposium provides a public forum for discussion of issues and developments in Canadian cultural life.