Professor Aggiss was invited by South East Dance, a national dance agency, to undertake the development of an educational study pack to accompany their previously published screen dance compilation DVD Take7. Devised and written by Professor Aggiss, published in June 2008, and distributed by South East Dance, this study pack is designed to build a practical and theoretical understanding of screen dance and provide comprehensive and insightful information, guidance, direction and suggestions for study in relationship to the seven film featured on the DVD compilation. The pack is aimed at students and teachers who are developing knowledge on screen dance. It draws on the diversity of the accompanying film collection to examine issues of; screen dance history and development: screen and live body: location and consideration of site: dance and film language: writing treatments and translating narratives: privileging music and foley: editing: resources and glossary. Each chapter is followed by a series of questions that relate specifically to one of the seven screen dance films on the DVD thus providing an invaluable connection between image and text and providing a framework for subsequent critical debate. The pack also includes a special commentary and series of questions posed by Justine Reeves (Dance Animateur Rambert Dance Company and Artistic Director West Sussex Youth Dance Company) and aimed specifically at GCSE students.
In assessing the development of this resource, the questions that underpinned this research were: How do you create a meaningful resource for a diverse and broad range of readers? How do you create a meaningful but challenging framework to provoke critical discussion for both novices and those with some experience? How do you endeavour to give both teachers and pupils clear guidelines with creative margins to test the practice and theory? How do you generate enough material to contextualise the subject and give sufficient clues for independent research?
The seven UK diverse and provocative dance films selected for Take7 challenge the audience to deepen their understanding of the potential of this art form. The films selected were either BBC/Arts Council Awards, or South East Dance/Lighthouse commissions, and feature collaborative teams or constellations of director/choreographers: Birds David Hinton, Horseplay Alison Murray, Boy Rosemary Lee/Peter Anderson, Dust Mim King/Antony Atanasio, Outside In Margaret Williams/Victoria Marks, Lounge Miranda Pennell, Motion Control Liz Aggiss/Billy Cowie/David Anderson. This group of films represent leading screen dance in the UK and whose success has been measured by the proliferation of awards and screenings at international festivals and conferences, and their continued presence in the expanding territory of this art form.
The statistical response from the distribution operation at south east dance to this study pack has been recorded as follows: webpage hits of 20-30 per month: sales 70 in 08/09: 20 to date in 09/10: 25% of sales have gone directly to educational establishments: other sales to a mixture of individuals and arts organisations: 70% of sales have been to UK recipients: international sales include Russia, Norway, Denmark, Cyprus, USA, Israel, Brazil.
As a means to challenge and raise the profile of screen dance in the UK and site Brighton as a centre of expertise and excellence, alongside the Take7 material, the Screen Dance Forum was developed by South East Dance in consultation and chaired by Professor Aggiss. Established since 2006 it was developed as a means to enrich and revisit the developing critical landscape of this art form, share expertise, contextualise practice and consider future strategies for development. Housed in Lighthouse Digital Lounge Brighton this chaired forum provides opportunities for screen dance practitioners to showcase and debate practice. This forum has additionally toured to Manchester and Bristol. The following international artists have been featured: Becky Edmunds, Billy Cowie, Chirstinn Whyte, Jake Messenger, Dr Vena Ramphal, Claudia Kappenberg, Lucy Cash, Rachel Davies, David Hinton, Shelly Love.
South East Dance's TAKE7 Study Pack is a clear, concise and practical spur to the combined force of cinematic and choreographic creativity. It's enough to make you want to stop what you're doing, grab a camera, go out into the world and start shooting. It also offers plenty of thoughtful tips on how to prepare yourself to take such action.
Donald Hutera, Dance Writer for The Times, Time Out and Animated.
The Study Pack is comprehensive and provides insightful information, guidance, direction and suggestions for study and exploration in relation to the specific TAKE7 films as well as other points of interest for independent study and research.
Lauren Baldock, Dance Teacher at Sittingbourne Community College.