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British screen dance hits Tbilisi

By Salome Modebadze
Wednesday, October 3
The Tbilisi International Festival of Theatre, in partnership with the British Council of Georgia, presented Forward Motion, a series of screen dances at Marjanishvili Theatre Attic on September 30. Creating a moving snapshot of Britain’s prolific screen dance industry, Forward Motion is a collection of outstanding British screen dance works supported by the Arts Council of England.

Combining film with choreography, the stylish screen dancing will enchant admirers of artistic film and video, avant-garde film, experimental film and contemporary dance.

Presented by leading figures in the British dance and film world, the British Council project included rare archive footage and early films alongside innovative and contemporary pieces of art introducing the history and development of British screen dance. Featuring historic, seminal and ground-breaking films, Forward Motion celebrates British screen dance talent and aims to engage new artists, markets, audiences and participants in this exciting niche art form.

After travelling all over the world, Forward Motion was introduced to the Georgian audience for the first time.

The Georgian screening consisted of two series of Forward Motion– Intros and Artists’ Choice. In the Intro part, Professor Liz Aggiss introduced the genre of screen dance including Touched by Wendy Houstoun and David Hinton, Tra La La by Magali Charrier and the rarely seen gems Basini by Liz Aggiss and Billy Cowie and Sardinas by Lea Anderson.

Artists’ choice united the dance films that have inspired high profile British dance-makers, such as Akram Khan and Michael Clark, uniting Lloyd Newson’s multi-award winning The Cost of Living; Russell Maliphant selecting Chris Cunningham’s music video for Portishead’s Only You; and Shobana Jeyasingh choosing Miranda Pennell’s Tattoo.

Touched is a romance for hands and faces– and the odd foot, this video presents a choreography of close-ups set in a bar in north London. Sardinas selected an early piece by Lea Anderson was that recorded by a camera in one shot, in a fixed frame position which could only exist as a film without the opportunity for replication.

Inspired by the dancing in a Brixton club and the dynamic paintings of Jackson Pollock, Line Dance combines state-of-the-art computer game technology with pioneering film animation techniques. Motion capture technology was originally developed for medical research, but this film shows the technique capturing the beauty of natural human movement.

A film version of the Offenbach opera the Tales of Hoffmann depicts the struggle between human love and the artist's dedication to his work. Hoffmann loses each of the women he loves but gains poetic inspiration instead, the ability to transform painful experiences into art.