Monday, May 2, 2011

Educational Dance Videos

I’ve written quite a bit on this blog about Duncan’s position as a dance educator, and I’ve gestured to her refusal, during her lifetime, to allow her dancing or her work to be filmed. A glance back at grainy, distorted footage from the 1920’s, makes me understand her reticence, yet, at the same time, such glimpses of the past really only whet my appetite for more. I pretty much yelped with glee when a friend sent me the link to the historic dance footage recently made available online through the Jacob’s Pillow archives. If you haven’t seen it, check out the snippet of Isadorable Anna Duncan dancing there.

Robots, choreography by Liz Vacco
Of course, these days, dance is not just recorded via film or video for archival purposes. There is a whole market for dance footage that is instructional and interactive. Instructional exercise videos are not a new concept—they’ve been around at least since shortly after the mass production of the VCR (as any child of the late 80’s would know).  And when my best friend was working out to Jane Fonda as an image-obsessed, rural American middle schooler, I was begging for instructional dance videos and lacing on my pointe shoes in the living room.

So, needless to say, when my former New York City roommate and Yaledancer colleague Liz Vacco recently emailed a link to her new dance education video for kids, I was thrilled. Not only is Liz a brilliant dancer, actor, artist, educator, but she also got me into teaching dance as a support career in my New York City performance days.  It’s really too bad that I don’t have any pictures to post from the robot piece she choreographed that we danced in studio showings at Bridge for Dance, Dancespace (when it was still in China town), and at in a warehouse/co-op somewhere in Queens (okay, update--photos do exist!).  

"Petite Feet" with Liz Vacco
Check out the promo footage of her DVD entitled Petite Feet. Not only does it hysterically embrace and subtly comment on the whole genre of TV programming for kids, it is instructionally really good. I do think someone should make this into a series (are you listening TV production people out there?). And I’m claiming dibs on the Isadora Duncan guest artist segment…