Dance

Celebrating 10 Years of Miami’s ScreenDance Festival

Written By Rebekah Lanae Lengel
January 18, 2024 at 8:19 PM

“Equilibrio” by Camilo Velásquez A. and Juan Miguel Posada is part of Miami Light Project’s ScreenDance Miami: 2024 at various locations throughout Miami and Miami Beach through Jan. 26. (Photo courtesy of Miami Light Project)

This year marks a decade of ScreenDance Miami, a film festival celebrating and showcasing the unique collaboration between filmmaking and dance that results in an utterly new way to experience both mediums. Presented by venerable Miami arts institution Miami Light Project at locations around Miami and Miami Beach, this year’s festival includes a diverse line up of world premieres as well as fan favorites from years past.

Miami-based choreographer and dancer, Pioneer Winter, has served as the artistic director of the festival since 2017.  Beyond the critically acclaimed dance theater work created as part of his Pioneer Winter Collective, Winter has collaborated and worked on dance films since the early 2000s and has seen first-hand how dance films have evolved as an art form.

“It’s become sort of an art form all into itself. I wouldn’t say that it’s the documentation of dance or it’s like a movement narrative in film, but rather like sort of the offspring of both, you know?”

“The Noise My Leaves Make,” (2022), Tia-Monique Uzor, Leicester/England, is part of the “Films From Abroad” program at PAMM.(Photo courtesy of Miami Light Project)
(Photo courtesy of Miami Light Project)

Seeing dance on film shifts the perspective of an audience member, allowing them to not only see dance from a different point of view, but also be immersed in it in a way that traditional proscenium live performance can’t allow.

“The lens and the camera need to be choreographed just as much as the dance itself, you know? Like when they say the dancing camera, I imagine a pas de deux between the dancer and the lens.”

One example of a film that allows for a completely new audience perspective is the United States premiere of “Dispues” by Puerto Rican filmmaker Sorely Muentes-Mendez, a film Winter is particularly excited about.  The film is part of the Films From Abroad series, which also features works from Spain, Columbia, Japan and Germany, at the Perez Art Museum Miami on Saturday, Jan. 20 with two sessions featuring different films at 1 p.m. and at 3 p.m.

“Dispues” will be shown in the 3 p.m. group.

“Despues” (2023) by Sorely Muentes-Mendez. (Photo courtesy of Miami Light Project)

“It’s just so cool,” says Winter about Muentes-Mendez’s film. “It’s just one dancer rolling one of those huge water tanks that they have on the top floor of buildings; she’s rolling this through the street, and there are these sweeping aerial shots.  Yes, an audience could have just been standing on the street watching this, but it’s so much cooler being a bird watching.”

Also on Saturday, there are nine films by South Florida-based artists in a Florida Focus screening event at PAMM including world premieres by artists including Dinorah de Jesús Rodríguez, Niurca Marquez, Sun Young Park, Dale Andree and Damaris Ferrer.

This year also marks the return of the festival’s partnership with CineDans, the Dutch dance-on-film festival that inspired and helped program early iterations of ScreenDance Miami. The renewed partnership includes a reciprocal component that allows for the exporting of films by South Florida-based artists for screening at the CineDans Festival.

“We wanted to return to our partnership with Cinedans, but we didn’t want it to be one-sided. They’re having their 15th anniversary in March, and we’ll be part of a one-hour international program that is spotlighting Miami.”

“Memories of Future Past” (2023), Dale Andree, will be shown as part of “Florida Focus” at 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 20 at PAMM. (Photo courtesy of Miami Light Project)

With screenings taking place in spaces like PAMM, the Miami Beach Bandshell and New World Symphony’s Soundscape Park, the festival aims to invite new audiences to experience the work.

“Part of us being able to do this festival in all these different locations is also being able to meet people where they already are. I love when we do the Wallcast (at New World Center’s Soundscape Park), especially when we’re showing really cool films and people are just riding their bike through or they’re walking with a group of friends coming from dinner and going through the park and they stop and sit down and they watch for an hour. ”

Winter says that’s a way of building new audiences for live dance.

Thick Skin” (2023) by Laura Steiner, Florida Premiere, Bogotá/Colombia, will be shown at 3 p.m. as part of the “Films From Abroad” program at PAMM.(Photo courtesy of Miami Light Project)

“Maybe someone will say ‘Wow, I really loved watching that dance on film. You know, next time I want to see something in person.’ Hopefully it just makes dance more accessible.  Dance, as they say, is the universal language, but it’s also a universal philosophy. Dance is a way of moving through the world, a way of responding to things and it creates a narrative that I think anyone can really understand.”

Below is a rundown of the showings

Films You Gotta See Big, 7 p.m., Friday, Jan. 19 at New World Center’s Project Wall at Soundscape Park.

Florida Focus and Films From Abroad starts at noon with panel discussion then showings at 1 and 3 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 20, Perez Art Museum Miami.

10 Years of Screen Dance Miami, 7 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 24 at Miami Beach Bandshell.

Films You Gotta See Big, Part II, 7 p.m., Friday, Jan. 26 at New World Center’s Projection Wall at Soundscape Park.

WHAT:  Miami Light Project’s ScreenDance Miami Festival

WHERE:  New World Center’s Projection Wall at Soundscape Park, 400 17th St., Miami Beach; Perez Art Museum Miami, 1103 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami; Miami Beach Bandshell, 7275 Collins Ave., Miami Beach

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 18; 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 19; 1 and 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 20; 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 24 and  7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 26

COST:   Free with RSVP. At PAMM, free with museum admission. Admission is $18 for adults and free for museum members.

INFORMATION: 305-576-4390 or miamilightproject.com.

ArtburstMiami.com is a nonprofit media source for the arts featuring fresh and original stories by writers dedicated to theater, dance, visual arts, film, music and more. Don’t miss a story at www.artburstmiami.com.

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