Transformative Cinedance is a practice and research project by Lila Moore, PhD. It explores the transformative qualities of imagery and narratives in films with strong choreographic sensibility, and draws on visual texts rich with mythic, archetypal, transpersonal and metaphoric images of the body, psyche and the world.
The aim of the project is to encourage reflection on the transformative qualities of cinedance as a hybrid art form that synthesizes dimensions of the body and psyche, nature and screen technology. The project's thesis suggests that cinedance can transform and extend our perception of ourselves and the world in ways which are relevant to the 'human condition' in the 21st century.
Cinedanceis a concept originally defined by Maya Deren as film-dance that is a dance so related to camera and cutting that it cannot be "performed" as a unit anywhere, and as such can only exist in a film form. As an art form, it is constructed by dance or performance choreographed especially for the camera and the screen or through the combined motion and rhythm of the camera and the editing. Cinedance is often comprised of movement-based performances rather than actual dance and dancers, and emphasizes the choreographic design of the film's narrative and visual style.
The film Ritual in Transfigured Time by Maya Deren is an iconic example of a transformative process in cinedance. The film demonstrates a process of organic change and metaphysical transfiguration through the 'ritualistic form'.
Image: Ritual in Transfigured Time (1946) by Maya Deren
Transformation and again transformation, the eternal entertainment of the eternal spirit. W.Goethe
I have heard it said, that, when any strange, supernatural, and necromantic adventure has occurred to a human being, that being, however desirous he may be to conceal the same, feels at certain periods torn up as it were by an intellectual earthquake, and is forced to bare the inner depths of his spirit to another. I am a witness of the truth of this.
Mary Shelley, "Transformation", 1831
Transformation is described by Jung as the "the basic instinct of civilization." The desire to transform is embedded in our body and psyche. Transformation in an unstoppable impulse, and the desire to reveal the often invisible mechanism of this process is as inescapable. We are destined to transform as creatures of nature and evolution. And as transforming conscious beings, we express our transformations not only in biological terms but through the transforming landscape of our culture. Transformation, as a deeply felt visceral and psychic experience and as a metaphysical concept, is an integeal part of our interaction with works of art. It is also the essential function of religious rites, altered states of consciousness and transpersonal phenomena.
This project is dedicated to transformative cinedance, which highlights the intricate choreographies of the 'dance of life' in our transforming world. It presents us with 'new eyes' with which to see the challenges of
our day and age.
Transformative cinedance presents an opportunity to view and experience visions and mythic stories through which we can explore inner worlds filled with imagination, creativity and timeless wisdom. It allows interaction with images of movement in space and time that inspire new ways of thinking, feeling, perceiving, performing and being in the multidimensional environments of contemporary global culture. Whilst we actively engage with the texts, we no longer passive viewers and/or consumers, but co-creators involved in the weaving of our mythic stories and destinies.