Alwin Nikolais – Inventing Your Own Solutions

“I always seem to be looking for something that hasn’t been invented yet.” – Alwin Nikolais

Alwin Nikolais was an American choreographer. He employed lights, slides, electronic music, and stage props to create environments through which dancers moved and, more important, into which they blended.

Viewing technique as a means to an end, Nikolais did not ask his dancers to embody characters or emote, but to simply dance as part of the onstage environments created by his innovative costume, lighting and production designs—most of which he handled personally, in addition to creating his own music and, of course, choreographing the steps.

To know more:,

Pepper’s Ghost

One of the oldest traditions in performing arts is the use of illusion to stage seemingly impossible features, like the Pepper Ghost effect. Magic has charmed and transported audiences for centuries. In the performance Peppers Ghost choreographer Fernando Melo collaborates with visual artist, Yoko Seyama, combineing technology and the use of antique elements like mirrors, reflections, appearance and disappearance to lead the audience on a rhythmic journey of contemporary images.

Choreography: Fernando Melo
Music: Dirk P Haubrich
Set and Light Design: Yoko Seyama
Costume: Jérôme Delbey
Artistic Collaborator: Shumpei Nemoto
Premiere: 11. March 2017 at Norrdans, Härnösand – Sweden

To know more:

Fernando Melo is a choreographer and director creating works for dance, theater and opera companies worldwide.

Rituals – Roberto Scafati

Francesco Aversano, Sofia Emanuela Cappelli, Vittoria Carpegna, Peng Chen, Laura Evangelisti, Leonardo Germani, Damien Nazabal, Morgan Perez, Giulia Pizzuto, Giorgio Strano, Prima Tharathep, Madhav Davide Valmiki

Part 1

Choreography: Mauro Astolfi
Music: Ben Frost, Peter Gregson and others
Set design: Marco Policastro
Costumes: Mona Hapke
Dramaturgy: Anna-Luella Zahner

Part 2

Choreography: Roberto Scafati
Composition: Dirk Haubrich
Set design: Yoko Seyama
Costumes: Rosa Ana Chanzá
Dramaturgy: Anna-Luella Zahner

Synaptic Motion

“Featuring a cast that includes two contortionists, an acrobat, a rapper and five dancers, “Synaptic Motion” makes Lomask’s brain sound like a pretty entertaining place to hang out.” — Andrew Gilbert, San Jose Mercury News

What does the act of creativity look like? San Francisco’s internationally acclaimed science and technology dance company Capacitor tackles this question head-on in the world premiere of “Synaptic Motion.” Conceived and choreographed by Artistic Director Jodi Lomask, this multi-sensory experience is informed by brain scans taken at the UCSF Neuroscape Lab to capture the mind during the act of choreography.

Media collaborators Mary Franck, Wesley Grubbs, and Johan Bichel Lindegaard have transformed this data and more into an immersive visualization of the creative process to the sound of Danish composer Toni Martin Dobrzanski and in a set designed by Erik Walker with lighting FX by William Brinkert. Travel through a larger-than-life neural forest experiencing memories, future self projections, and mirror neurons in action, while Capacitor’s unique cast of dancers, acrobats, contortionists and aerialists challenge notions of the creative process. Let them take you on a trip through multiple states of mind utilizing tensegrity apparatus.

To read more:


“Coffee literally changes the way we see, think, and interact with other people. BUT FIRST is our way of exploring this through two of our favorite mediums, film and dance.”
– Erin Brown Thomas (director), Mike Esperanza (choreographer)

BUT FIRST was made as part of San Francisco Dance Film Festival’s annual Co-Laboratory program in collaboration with the National Center for Choreography at the University of Akron’s Dancing Laboratories. A filmmaker and choreographer are paired together for one week to make a short dance film.

Directed by Erin Brown Thomas

Choreographed by Mike Esperanza

Featuring Tiffanie Carson, Erin Love, Sarah Housepan

Creative Producer / Co-Producer: Lindsay Gauthier

Co-Producer: Christy Bolingbroke

Director of Photography: Tyler Clark

Production and Costume Designer: Inda Blatch- Geib

Editor: Erin Brown Thomas
Sound Design: Mike Esperanza

Line Producer: Dave Hayward of Red Point Digital

2018 Co-Laboratory with NCCAkron

In its sixth year, the Co-Laboratory went National!

Dance Film SF partnered with the National Center for Choreography at The University of Akron in Ohio to bring filmmakers and choreographers together from San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York.

In Akron, the artists participated in a nine day Dancing Lab: Screendance residency, with three days of Workshopping and Pre-production, three days of Production, and three days of Post-Production. Both teams came away with a finished dance film that screened at the 2018 Festival. NCCAkron was excited to be co-producing with us as part of their process oriented approach to advance dance and choreographic craft.

Brilliant Short Dance Film Example: Valtari – Sigur Rós / Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui

First Prize Best Film / Fiver 2013 Awards

A short film part of Valtari Mystery Film Experiment, a project from Icelandic band Sigur Rós.

Songs featured in the film are: Ekki mukk, Valtari, Rembihnutur & Varud from the album Valtari.

  • Director: Christian Larson
  • Choreography: Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui
  • Dance: James O’Hara, Nicola Leahey
  • Photography: Mattias Montero
  • Costume design: Lydia Kovacs
  • Producer: Noreen Khan, Blackdog Film

The story behind this short film:

Last spring, Icelandic band Sigur Rós asked 14 filmmakers to create short pieces inspired by their latest album, “Valtari.”

This installment from Swedish director Christian Larson features choreography from Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, who recently crafted the famous waltz scene in 2012’s film adaptation of Anna Karenina.

Cherkaoui described his approach in an interview with The New York Times, “I love watching one dancer alone onstage, but, for me, solos are always connected to a form of loneliness … When people are together, there is a union, and it can be tense, it can be romantic and dramatic and cold, but it’s about how we relate and how we look into the mirror, which is another person.”

Capturing similar themes in this short film, Cherkaoui’s choreography twists the bodies of dancers Nicola Leahey and James O’Hara to create astonishing shapes and a rather intense exchange. Watch for almost-freakish feats of flexibility (not computer-generated!) and Cherkaoui’s experimentation with weight shifts – as he said about Keira Knightley and Aaron Taylor-Johnson when choreographing Anna Karenina, “they needed to connect very physically – not just in a polite way.”

Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui wins the Best Choreography award for the amazing Valtari video at the UK music video awards! Valtari is a collaboration with director Christian Larson for Sigur Rós ‘Valtari’ Mystery Film Experiment, with beautiful Eastman dancers Nicola Leahey & James O’Hara. Thanks to you all! More info about the awards:

Carlos Amorales and his “Vertical Earthquake”

In the series of wall drawings entitled Vertical Earthquake, Carlos Amorales refers to the 1985 earthquake in Mexico City which he witnessed at the age of fifteen.

The earthquake destroyed a large part of the city and left thousands of victims. In the days after, the corrupted Mexican government manifested itself and the Mexican citizens took over the rescuing activities.

The earthquake was crucial for Amorales in regard to both his political and his aesthetic development. The wall drawings are made by rotating jagged rulers and remind one of the fault lines in collapsed buildings. The drawings can be seen as an ode to this meaningful event in Carlos Amorales’ artistic development.

More of Carlos Amorales:

We’ll See How All Reverberates, 2012. Courtesy of the artist and kurimanzutto, Mexico City / New York. Photo: Peter Tijhuis

Black Cloud, 2007 (installation view). Collection of Diane and Bruce Halle. Photo: Peter Tijhuis

Aprende a joderte (Learn to Fuck Yourself), 2019. Courtesy of the artist and kurimanzutto, Mexico City / New York; and Dark Mirror, 2008. Collection Vanhonsebrouck. Photo: Peter Tijhuis

Time out of Time – A Special Place – Highlights [HD]

“Let’s work together, to collaborate, to create side by side, loosening boundaries between artistic labels.”

From 18 to 25 of July 2019, Studio 8, made possible by the support of Al Mawreed Al-Thaqafi, organized a production residency bringing together an artist duet of French sound artist François Donato and French/Iranian visual artist Golnaz Behrouznia. and five performers based in Jordan, with the aim to create a concrete project that is crossing borders of genres and disciplines: dance, performance, visual arts, performative arts, animation, projection, coding, etc.

The rehearsal you have seen is the 1st layer we have designed so far. More layers will be added through out the time.

As a result, “Time out of Time: A Special Place”, a in-progress trans-disciplinary live performance of 30 minutes, was presented to the audience of Jordan at 25th of August, 2019 as part of INTERNATIONAL DANCE ENCOUNTER AMMAN(IDEA) festival.

Director/Choreographer: Abd Al Hadi Abunahleh
Assistant Director: Xiaoman Ren
Dance: Emran Alamareen, Daniel Issa, Nadeen Dabass, Kate Port, Ziad Hajir, Anas Nahleh, Oliveira Jara
Visual Arts: Golnaz Behrouznia
Sound Designer: Francois Donato
Trailer Video Edit: Golnaz Behrouznia
Trailer Sound Design: Francois Donato
Trailer Video-graphy: Mohammad Ali

Bauhaus dances

Set within the Bauhaus design school, the Bauhaus dances were created by Oskar Schlemmer, along with Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky, for series of lecture dances between 1927–29.

They took as inspiration the architectonic cubical stage space designed by Walter Gropius for the Dessau Bauhaus, which opened in 1926.

The dances draw on simple gestures—walking, sitting, jumping—the dancers are to be perceived as figures symbolizing the potential of new technology while remaining primarily an exploration of the human element.

Key Person: Oskar Schlemmer

Oskar Schlemmer (4 September 1888 – 13 April 1943) was a German painter, sculptor, designer and choreographer associated with the Bauhaus school.

In 1923, he was hired as Master of Form at the Bauhaus theatre workshop, after working at the workshop of sculpture. His most famous work is Triadisches Ballett (Triadic Ballet), which saw costumed actors transformed into geometrical representations of the human body in what he described as a “party of form and colour”.

Original Video

Recent re-creation of Bauhaus Dances

Oskar Schlemmer’s stick dance