2022 Dance on Film Finalists
the blues of my unraveling are laced with the salt of your memory
by Ananya Chatterjea & Darren Johnson
Conceived and performed by Guggenheim Award winning choreographer Ananya Chatterjea, this journey through corridors of memory and ritual practices to touch dark spaces of pain that lie buried deep within us, is a meditation on loss, undoing, a commitment to remembering, and a reaching towards light.
Ananya Chatterjea’s work as choreographer, dancer, and thinker brings together Contemporary Dance, social justice choreography, and a commitment to healing justice. She is artistic director of Ananya Dance Theatre, a dance company of BIPOC women & femmes, and co-founder of the Shawngrām Institute for Performance and Social Justice. In response to the Twin Cities Uprising (2020), she created the Kutumkāri (Relationship-making) Healing Movement series with a particular invitation to BIPOC women and femme healers. Her second book, Heat and Alterity in Contemporary Dance: South-South Choreographies was published in 2020. She teaches Choreographing Social Justice, Dance History, and Contemporary Practice at the University of Minnesota.
A multi-disciplinary artist working primarily in film and poetry, Darren Johnson’s films span subjects from implicit bias and social justice to music and performing arts. Most recently, his films have screened at the Harlem Film Festival, Lincoln Center’s Dance on Camera Festival, and The London International Screen Dance Film Festival. His spoken word poetry releases include the audiobook, Conundrums of Indignant Bliss and a live jazz album Poetic Explorations with the Whitewashed Conundrums.
1001 Arab Futures
By Sharon Mansur, Yara Boustany, Andrea Shaker, & Mette Loulou von Kohl
Yara Boustany is a performer and choreographer born in Ghbeleh, Lebanon. Her interdisciplinary work searches for potential sensorial stimuli that can direct humans to unexplored territories of existence - she looks for enchantment and disturbance. She has toured with her shows throughout Lebanon, and also Stuttgart, Ankara, Warsaw, London, Manchester, Liverpool, Chalon sur Saône and Athens. She is also the founder and director of Amalgam Studio in Beirut, Lebanon.
Andrea Shaker grew up in a small town in Connecticut on Quiripi lands. After earning her BA from Georgetown University and MFA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, she moved to Dakota and Anishinaabe lands, where she is a professor of art at the College of St. Benedict | St. John’s University. Andrea’s creative work is interdisciplinary, spanning photography, moving image, experimental film, and written and spoken word. As an Arab American, she explores the spaces between home & homeland and migration & diaspora. Through image and word, her work addresses how these spaces, and the movement of the body within these spaces, are imagined and experienced through the physiology of intergenerational memory.
Mette Loulou von Kohl was born from the orange at the center before the new world came. She is a wanderer, performer and educator. Currently living on unceded Lenni Lenape land, now colonized as New York City. Mette Loulou is a queer femme, of Lebanese/Palestinian and Danish ancestry. She has lived in New York, Romania, Morocco, Denmark and England. Mette Loulou is fascinated by the intersection between her personal identities as a jumping off point to reveal, dismantle and rebuild realities and dreams. She grapples with her past to complicate and better understand her present. Mette Loulou weaves movement and words into the exploration of her embodied histories. She exists in two places at once.
Sharon Mansur is a dance and interdisciplinary experimental artist, educator, curator, and community mover and shaker of Lebanese heritage based in Keoxa/Winona, Mni Sota Makoce/MN, Dakota land. Her creative practices weave movement making, improvisation, visual environments, food, screendance, audience participation and site-situated/responsive art to offer multi-sensory and immersive experiences rooted in body, imagination, and environment. She loves creating artistic opportunities for people from all walks of life to connect and engage. Sharon has recently received support from the McKnight Foundation, the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council, the Winona Fine Arts Commission and Springboard for the Arts. Sharon is the director of The Cedar Tree Project, presenting and amplifying regional, national and international creative voices of the SWANA/Arab diaspora.
by Katerina (Katie) Wong
"Slipping Sand" is a close examination on human's relentless relationship to time. Encased in a glass atrium, surrounded by hourglasses, a single dancer contemplates the desire to manipulate time, acknowledges her powerlessness, and inches towards acceptance.
Katerina (Katie) Wong is a Bay-Area based multidisciplinary movement artist, filmmaker, and Co-Artistic Director of RAWdance. Since graduating from Princeton University, she’s had the honor of performing with more than 15 Bay Area dance companies including Printz Dance Project, PUSH Dance Company, LEVYdance, Concept o4, and the San Francisco Symphony. Her work has been commissioned by Pop-Up Magazine, PUSH Dance Company, FACT/SF, Cutting Ball Theater, California Academy of Sciences, Yerba Buena Gardens Festival, ACLU of Northern California, ODC Theater, TJPA's Salesforce Park and more. Katie has been invited to participate in arts leadership programs by Dance/USA, Women of Color in the Arts, APAP, and Asylum Arts. Katie’s practice is rooted in meaningful collaboration, community bridge building, and artistic partnership. rawdance.org / katerinawong.com
Nothing There There (Topography)
Alexx Shilling & Taso Papadakis
Nothing There There (Topography) is a multi-disciplinary dance performance and film that examines the bodily experience of visiting sites that for 1000 years teemed with Jewish life and Yiddish culture prior to World War II.
Challenging the notion that there is "nothing there," this work aims to transpose the fragments, feelings and perceptions of a people, of a place, nearly erased. There is a there there.
Alexx Shilling (she/they) is fully committed to the infinite investigation of movement and its potential to uncover alternative narratives and allow us to remember. An interdisciplinary performance maker, her original choreography and experimental films have been presented nationally and internationally, through residencies at the Millay Colony, PAM and Ebenbökhaus / Jewish Museum in Munich, and with generous support from institutions including Dance Films Association, Asylum Arts, Yiddishkayt, Center for Cultural Innovation, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, CHIME (with mentor Bob Een) and most recently the California Arts Council both as Artistic Director of alexx makes dances and ann and alexx make dances (2004-2010).
Shilling’s most recent works concern themselves with postmemory, body histories, durational performance, public engagement, and the inevitable influence of pop icons and popular dance culture on her own body. Her works take form in multiple media, most recently as a film and a chapbook after live performances were cancelled due to the Covid-19 shut-downs. Having benefited from being part of communities of independent artists, Shilling has prioritized creating platforms for other artists’ practices to flourish. Shilling co-founded and co-curated the popular solo performance series Hi, Solo at Pieter and is a member of the Los Angeles-based practice-as-research initiative practice makes practice. During her twelve years in New York, she co-founded/co-curated the Body Blend series at Dixon Place with Sara Juli, founded and directed Radiant Pilates Studio and The Radiant Movement, an experimental movement laboratory in Long Island City. She holds an M.F.A. in dance from UCLA’s Department of World Arts & Culture/Dance and a Bachelor’s degree in dance from Skidmore College.
As a performer, Shilling danced in the works of Victoria Marks from 2010-2020, and with many independent choreographers in New York and Los Angeles including Ros Warby, Laurel Jenkins, Richard Rivera/PHYSUAL, Alan Danielson, Ariane Anthony, Nickels Sunshine, Kevin Williamson, Sarah Leddy, Lynn Neuman, Alison D’Amato, Rebecca Pappas and Kristen Smiarowski. She continues to create original work with longtime collaborators Mimi Yin, Janusz Jaworski, Alberto Denis, Alethea Pace, Richard Rivera and Latin alternative folk band Cuñao.
A dedicated educator, Shilling has been on faculty at Cal State Long Beach, UCLA, Loyola Marymount University and The Wooden Floor. She teaches and holds certifications in Open Source Forms, Pilates, Yoga and Reiki. www.AlexxMakesDances.com
Farewell Sonata and Reprise
by Tanniqua-Kay Buchanan
Farewell Sonata & Reprise examines the fall and climb of womanhood and its non-linear relationship and cycle with loss and grief. It explores the labor of black feminine mourning as demonstrated in the wake of Ahmaud Arbery’s killing. The side by side of a white dancer and a Black dancer performing the same fractured choreography emphasizes the differences of how identification with Arbery affects the embodiment of grief. While the Black dancer makes appearances in her white counterparts' frame, the white dancer eventually fades away. This leaves the Black woman on her own to reprise the persistence of loss in her lived experience.
Tanniqua-Kay Buchanan (She/Her) is a dancer, choreographer, and urban planner. Her interests explore social movements and their spatial impacts on cities, the movement dialogue that dancers have with transitional and permanent spaces, and the shared elements of dance and design. She approaches these themes through the intersectional lens of an urbanist and lover of art and movement.
Through her work, Tanniqua-Kay seeks to inspire collective introspection that sheds layers of socially ascribed identity and calls people to return home – to their culture and themself. Her life’s mission is to focus on examining & affirming black landscapes through personal case studies in dance, design & urban planning. She’s worked with a variety of Chicago-based organizations and companies in education, dramaturgy, and artistic roles including Hyde Park School of Dance, DanceLoop, and South Chicago Dance Theater. www.mobilemonsters.org/farewellsonata.html
In Plain Sight
by Tanin Torabi
Tanin Torabi (طنین ترابی) is an Iranian contemporary dance artist and curator based in Iran and Ireland. She works in the realm of performance, choreography, and film, exploring the connection between the three. Torabi holds an MA in Contemporary Dance from the University of Limerick with first-class honors and a BA in Sociology (Hons). https://tanintorabi.art/
Ao pó voltaremos [To dust we will return]
by Merli V. Guerra
Hailed as “a stunning piece, where landscape, heritage, movement, and dance merges in a poetic composition,” this striking screendance film features the 16th-century monastery ruins of Messejana, Portugal (the convent of Our Lady of Mercy / Order of Saint Francisco). Inspiration was derived from site-specific research of the space, as well as traditional "Ranchos Folclóricos" folk dances of the region, historical studies, and weaving motions specific to the town's traditional "buinho" chairs.
In 2021, this site was purchased to become a "charming rural hotel" for tourists. While the main facade will be preserved, the majority of what is shown in this film will be lost forever. Filmed in Messejana, Portugal.
Merli V. Guerra (MFA in Dance) is an award-winning choreographer and interdisciplinary artist combining dance, film, art, and design. She is Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Luminarium Dance Company, an award-winning 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization merging dance with video projection and interactive lighting design in Boston, MA (founded 2010), and Princeton, NJ (since 2017). She also founded and directs the PLACE Project (Presenting Landmarks through Artistic Community Engagement), a custom-tailored annual event that integrates history, dance, and the arts to celebrate a town’s cultural and historic landmarks (founded 2012).
Guerra has performed lead roles as a modern dancer and classical Odissi Indian dancer with acclaimed companies on tours to India (2007, 2012) and Japan (2009). In 2021, she traveled across Tanzania with a local big cat biologist creating a series of site-specific screendances in response to the ecosystems of its national parks; and in 2022, she was an artist in residence with Buinho Organization (Messejana, Portugal) where she created a new screendance film honoring the town's 16th-century monastery ruins and a film series highlighting the community, now permanently installed via QR codes across the village. Guerra's choreographic works and films have been presented by 100+ events across the U.S., and abroad in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, the Czech Republic, France, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Macedonia, Portugal, Slovakia, and Spain. She received a 2022 Individual Artist Fellowship Award from NJ State Council on the Arts and Mid Atlantic Arts for her work in film; and is a 2015 recipient of the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s prestigious Gold Star Award for her work with site-specific dance and community engagement. Her 2021 work “The Time Traveler’s Lens” is a series of 360-degree virtual reality screendance films illuminating the history of the colonnade ruins at Princeton Battlefield State Park, and is now a permanent installation on the park grounds. She presented on this project and merging dance with AR/VR/XR technologies at Our World Heritage International Globinar 2.0 (2021), Harvard University Virtual/Augmented Reality (2021), and the Northeast & Mid-Atlantic Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit (2022).
Beyond choreography, Guerra is a freelance graphic designer and arts journalist who served as Art Director of Art New England magazine for five years, followed by her work at Princeton University Press. As a writer, she is Senior Contributor to Boston’s The Arts Fuse, and a dance critic for the Toronto-based Fjord Review and Vancouver-based Dance International magazine. Guerra is a Part-Time Lecturer at Rider University and Rutgers University. Learn more at merliguerra.com and luminariumdance.org.
Walking to Birth
by Satya Roosens
Walking to Birth is a short dance film in which a heavily pregnant woman searches for a place to bring her baby into the world. The film is set in a forest with large trees. She is directed by nature from one place to another. By moving she is helping the child in her womb to find the way to earth. She walks and dances with roots, trunks and branches of the trees. They serve as a foothold, as resistance and support. When her water breaks, it starts to rain. The time has come.
Satya created her own productions since 2010 for company Studio Eclipse and was dancing in all of them. She made performances that most of the time play outdoors, focused on the theatrical movement in his purest form. In 2008 she created the performance ‘Two Faces’ with animals on a farm, ‘Two sink, three float’ in 2010 as well as the short dance film in 2011 in natural waters. In 2012 she created the performance ‘Fallen Thoughts’ in a tree and in 2015 she made a solo, called ‘Trapped Inside’ indoors. In 2016 she made ‘Veni vidi Venus’ with her sister being a musician. Satya also danced for company Ex-Nihilo from France since 2006 until 2016 and participated in the performances ‘Trajet de ville’, ‘Nal Boa’, ‘In Paradise’ and ‘Paradise is not enough’. www.studioeclipse.be
by Robin Lancaster Bisio
Inspired by Michelangelo’s Flood Panel on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, underwater dancers falter, orient and support each other in a churning gyre of illuminated plastics.
Robin Bisio is a dance filmmaker and choreographer based in Santa Barbara, California. Her films have screened in film fests worldwide. robinbisiodance.com
by Siye Tao, T.BB, & Qing-wen Yan
This short film tries to recap the personal experience of a dancer, whose old house and the associated memories are overshadowed by the fast-going urbanization. On a bright sunny day in the near future, when skyscrapers erect from the ruins, will we forget all the textured past？
Siye Tao is an educator, a choreographer, and a dancer, who is currently based in China.
As an choreographer, her works have been shown on stages, public TV channels, museums, and arts festivals. As a dancer, she has performed at Festival d’Avignon in France, National Centre for the Performing Arts of China, Beijing Modern Dance Festival, Power Station of Art, Shanghai Museum of Glass, and Guangdong Modern Dance Festival, etc.
She has been working on a public screen-dance series with people who had no previous dance experiences, and questioning “Why not dance everywhere and any time?”
Awakening Lyell's Brook
by Cleo Mack & Blair Ritchie
This work was filmed directly on top of the Lyell's Brook tributary of the Raritan River, which has been covered since the late 1800's and runs underground through New Brunswick, NJ. The dancers follow the covered path of the Lyell's Brook through the urban flood zones that have developed in response. The dance culminates at the #FRAME sculpture on the bank of the Raritan. The #FRAME sculpture serves as a civic science data gathering tool about landscape and climate change via repeat digital photography.
Cleo Mack is an award winning choreographer and educator. She holds an MFA in Interdisciplinary Art from Wilson College and a BFA in Dance from Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University. Her work has been described as “a collision of quirky sophistication and unmeasured recklessness.” She has been commissioned by the Outlet Dance Project at Grounds for Sculpture, 10 Hairy Legs, Perpich School of the Arts, and Quad City Ballet. Ms. Mack has been honored to receive an Individual Artists Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, in recognition of her high artistic merit and was selected by Dance Magazine as one of the “25 to Watch.” Cleo has enjoyed support from the Middlesex County Cultural and Heritage Commission, Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and has also received space grants from The Field, DTW, and Lincoln Center.
Ms. Mack’s performance work has been presented at Joyce Soho, Dance Theater Workshop’s Fresh Tracks, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., WAX, P.S. 1 Moma, the Hungarian American Dance Festival in Hungary, and at NJPAC as part of Jersey Moves. 2016 marks the inception of Mack's newest project, Rock Dance Collective (RDC) is focused on creating interdisciplinary work in traditional and non-traditional environments. Cleo’s sculptural work was on view as part of the NJ Arts Annual “Dissonance” at the Morris Museum and the Olympia Project.
Ms. Mack is the Director of Dance at the Middlesex County Magnet Schools (Middlesex County Vocational and Technical Schools) and co-owner of Washington Rock Dance. She has been a part-time lecturer at Rutgers University Mason Gross School of the Arts and a teaching artist for the American Repertory Ballet Institute, DeSales University, Muhlenberg University and the University of Iowa. She was honored to be the recipient of the 2017 Hollins University Teaching Award.
Cleo is a professional costume designer and has created costumes for Alexandra Bellar, Pam Tanowitz, Meghan Frederick, Chein-Ying Wang, Randy James, Stephanie Batten Bland, Sean Curran, Jodi Spearling, Paul O’Campo, and Julia Ritter.
Red Earth Calling
by Jennifer Jessum
Red Earth Calling is a short narrative dance film that tells the story of young man who gets lost in the desert and becomes entranced by the spirit of the land.
Jennifer Jessum is an award-winning director, choreographer, writer, cinematographer, and producer. She holds a Master of Fine Arts degree, in Film Production, from USC School of Cinematic Arts, and a Master of Fine Arts degree, in Dance, from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Her work spans across numerous genres including narrative, documentary, commercials, dance-for-the-camera, music videos, live events, and theater. She just wrapped production on "Power Rangers Kids Force" - a series she directed for the Power Rangers Franchise.
Her two award-winning feature documentaries, "HOLY MAN: THE USA vs. DOUGLAS WHITE", narrated by Martin Sheen, and "Finding God in the City of Angels", have both received critical acclaim. Her short narrative dance film, "Red Earth Calling", won numerous awards at the Maui Film Festival, the Moondance International Film Festival, the Toronto Independent Film Festival, The Eugene International Film Festival, The Utah Screen Dance Festival, and an Accolade. "ANIMA", a short film and documentary series she was commissioned to create, is currently on the film festival circuit and her latest film "Sacred Hoop" is currently in post-production. www.flyinglimbs.com
In addition to her creative work, Jennifer is the founder and director of The Mitakuye Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit dedicated to supporting and empowering Native youth through arts education and opportunities. www.mitakuyefoundation.com