Forward Motion is a collection of historic, seminal, award winning and ground breaking British screen dance films funded, produced and published by the British Council with South East Dance. The research and development, consultation and curation for this project was made by a steering committee of key UK players that included: Professor Aggiss, Vicky Bloor Head of Screen Dance South East Dance, Steven Brett British Council, Morag Deyes Artistic Director Dance Base, Emma Gladstone Producer Live Screen Sadlers Wells, Cathy Gomez British Council, Nicky Molloy Director Dance4, Mairead Turner Chief Executive South East Dance, Jamie Watton Senior Strategy Officer Arts Council, Marisa Zanotti University of Chichester.
The strategy to support this publication emanates from a rapid expansion of international interest in this field, with conferences, symposia and dedicated festivals all articulating the need for a coherent and readily available package that supports the developing interdisciplinary discourse on this artform. Screen dance in the UK has an increasingly developed national infrastructure with inclusion into an educational curriculum in schools, FE and HE. Similarly there is an expanding international forum in the form of festivals, conferences, and debates. Forward Motion was developed to support British excellence and provide a comprehensive model of best practice that examine and evidence the interrelationships of composition, choreographic language and meanings of body, movement, space and time. The selection for the programme considered the contexts of contemporary cultural debates and artistic agency as well as overarching pertinent themes of sustainability, inclusion, social and community engagement as criteria for choice.
Forward Motion comprises a DVD package that includes DVD1 Intros where the genre is introduced and presented by Professor Aggiss. This collection features eleven short screen dance films and artists interviews. Aggiss and (Cowie's) award winning Motion Control and their little known gem Basini, were selected by the steering group for the Intros programme. DVD2 Insights, presented by Dr. Vena Ramphal, is a programme of ten experimental film and which includes artist discussions. DVD3 Artists Choice features high profile British dance makers who select their favourite British dance film. The collection also features former students Magali Charrier and Rayjashree Ramamurthi from the BA Hons Dance and Visual Art course who developed their screen dance practice as undergraduate students under the tutelage of Professor Aggiss.
Forward Motion was premiered at S.P.A.C.E. Spain and then subsequently began its worldwide tour in 2009 to: Singpore, India Library Tour to Ahmadabad, Bangalore, Chandigarh, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai, New Dehli and Pune, Melbourne International Film Festival, Space FNAC Madrid Spain, City Contemporary Dance Festival Hong Kong, International Kalamata Dance Festival Athens Greece, KuanDu Arts Festival Taipei Taiwan.
In October 2009 Professor Aggiss was invited to present Forward Motion and to explore and appraise ways to develop screen dance in Singapore. With the research and practical expertise and knowledge to underpin the discussions and examine the artistic infrastructure and distribution possibilities, Professor Aggiss engaged in a strategic consultation programme to critically and contextually, inform, structure and support developments. This included delivering screen dance research lectures at LaSalle College of the Arts, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts and Nanyang Technical University and leading discussions with Singapore Arts Festival, Singapore City Ballet, The National Museum, and Substation Singapore as a means to underpin context and practice and secure a commissioning structure. This consultation exercise was successful with screen dance now included within Singapore Arts Festival 2010 and an educational programme and commissioning structure underway. By broadening the remit to include screen dance within art practice this opens a strong path into SE Asia thus supporting and linking the expanding international communities.
In April 2010 Professor Aggiss was invited by The British Council London and Syria to present Forward Motion Intros, Insights and Artists Choice, deliver post show Q & A discussions, and lead three master class lectures on screen dance at The Dar Al-Assad Opera House Damascus. Presented in collaboration with Tanween Dance Theatre and the Ministry of Culture, as part of a festival of contemporary dance work, this was a bold initiative to introduce international art form developments in dance to a Syrian audience.
This master class presentations explored screen dance and its historical legacy using examples from early cinema to the present day to discuss the flexible freedoms and choreographic relationships between the ‘body’ or movement and the screen, and likewise chart Professor Aggiss’ personal research from live to screen space and the shifts and considerations posed in reframing and re-conceiving a dance language for the screen.