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A dance film is a film in which dance is used to reveal the central themes of the film, whether these themes be connected to narrative or story, states of being, or more experimental and formal concerns. In such films, the creation of choreography typically exists only in film or video. At its best, dance films use filming and editing techniques to create twists in the plotline, multiple layers of reality, and emotional or psychological depth.
Dance film is also known as the cinematic interpretation of existing dance works, originally created for live performance. When existing dance works are modified for the purposes of filming this can involve a wide variety of film techniques. Depending on the amount of choreographic and/or presentational adjustment an original work is subjected to, the filmed version may be considered as dance for camera.
These definitions are not agreed upon by those working with dance and film or video.
Britain's DV8 Physical Theatre, founded by Lloyd Newson, is well known for its film versions of staged works. The reworking of Enter Achilles (1995) for film in 1996 is a seminal example of Dance for camera. Recently acclaimed works include "The Cost of Living".
Australia's The Physical TV Company, directed by Richard James Allen and Karen Pearlman, is well known for creating original works that are a sophisticated meeting of the possibilities of cinema with those of dance. Dance films such as "Rubberman Accepts The Nobel Prize" (2001), "No Surrender" (2002), and "Down Time Jaz" (2003) are differing examples of the possibilities of this approach involving comedy, visual effects, drama, and animation.
The Machinima work by Chris Brandt: 'Dance, Voldo, Dance' which uses computer game characters within the game Soulcalibur to act out a live, choreographed dance. Two players simultaneously performed the dance piece using game controllers. The work existed as a live performance on screen, and has since been edited and distributed on the internet as a video work.
The Mitchell Rose's Deere John, part of his Modern Daydreams suite created with BodyVox artistic directors Jamey Hampton and Ashley Roland, that features a man doing a pas de deux with a 22-ton John Deere Excavator.