Diva is a screen dance produced with support from the University of Brighton’s Faculty Research Support Fund. Diva emerged from a period of research that resulted in: the Performance Lecture Hi Jinx, an interventionist Guerrilla Dances, and theatre based work 'Don’t Put Your Daughter on the Stage.'
Set in a graveyard and developing a script that considers human desire to create icons from history, this pilot documentary screen dance research project considers past and present, engages the viewer in questioning the possibility of recovering the impossible, acknowledges and pastiches technical limitations and choreographic dilemmas faced by early dance filmmakers and demonstrates the lineage between the past and present. Using ‘simple’ early filming devices underpinned by complex post-production methods to achieve aesthetic clarity, this project repositions and recreates an alternative screen dance model and language. Thus the following research questions are posed: Can the creation of ‘ authentic’ archival material be embedded into a documentary style screen dance and be given currency within the contemporary framework of screen dance? Does ‘fictional’ historical reconstructions challenge the audience to read and question the authority of the image and author?
The mixed genre research methods included: revealing archaeology and uncovering history from photographic and textual evidence: taking new narratives from old forms: creating a momento of a performing self within a new context whilst acknowledging myself as subject, object and author of the work: re-archiving as factual documentary evidence: creating a simple script that embraces the above whilst attending to a narrative that allows the audience to ‘read’ the image: appropriate location hunting: considering archive film footage and the limitations of early filming.
Diva was premiered at Cinecity Brighton December 2007 and selected for Channel4 THE ABC OF DANCE 4 FILM series. Produced by MJW Productions London and Circe Films Australia the series was presented by Frances Rings and Jonzi D and was shown on 15th April on ABC Australia on the Artscape channel, and on Channel 4 on 27 Dec 2008, repeated 28th Jan 2009.
Selected from over 100 entries Diva was the winner of the Jumping Frames Hong Kong 2008 Dance Video Award, and short listed for the Barcelona Prize IDN NU2s 2009.
In 2008 Diva was selected for and toured to: DFA New York Jan 4, International Dance film Festival Yokohama Japan 17 Feb, Sans Souci Boulder Colorado 4/5 April, Moves Manchester 26 April, Cinedans Amsterdam (270 entries, 35 selected)5 July, NAPLES - XV edition of "IL COREOGRAFO ELETTRONICO" Museo Madre Naples 11-13 June www.napolidanza.com, DCW Redcat Walt Disney Concert Hall L.A.June7, ADF Durham N Carolina (from 148 entries) 11-13 July, Shoot Stockholm, Malmo and Gothenburg 23-28th Oct, EDIT2008 4th International Dance Film Festival Budapest 16-19 Oct (200 entries), 22nd August Baxter Theatre Centre Cape Town s Africa, Agnes B Cinema Hong Kong Arts Centre 11 Oct, MIR Athens 12-20 Sept www.mirfestival.gr, Kinodance St Petersburg and Armenia, 7th Frame Int Screen Dance Fest Portugal 10-16 Nov. In 2009 FRESH Bangkok December hosted by Dept of Communication Design of the School of Architecture and Design, King Mongkut's University of Technology Thonburi, in collaboration with Bangkok CODE 19-31 Aug, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Rio de Janeiro www.dançaemfoco Festival Internacional de Vídeo & Dança 7 Aug – 2 Sept (400 proposals received), Loikka Helsinki Finland 23-24 April.
A diverse selection of the best dance film, ranging from Liz Aggiss’ ebullient Diva to Pontus Lidberg’s Rain.
Radio Times 20/12/09
A compelling work - Sans Souci Festival of Dance Cinema 2008