Real Reels: A Film Festival Collection of professional company videos used as reels and advertisements online

 

H/T/L INTRO TO SCREENDANCE

4490:

Final Film Festival Collection

(Spring 2019)

This collection of films includes a range of examples of how professional dance companies are using video on their websites in order to show a part of themselves. Based on their availability through company websites, these videos were selected to show a handful of ways that video is being used as demonstration of work, advertisement, documentation, and more, in order to interact with audiences. The companies represented were chosen based on my personal knowledge and prior exposure to their work, along with some being suggested by my peers. My process included googling a company, finding their website, clicking through every page in search of video and any detail I could gather about the organization, and then analyzing the selected video itself. I chose to analyze aspects such as content, if any text or titles were used, if any credits were given and to who/what, accompanying sound, quality of elements, and any other aspects of the video that were notable. Below are described more specific parts of each video, listed alphabetically by company, and where it was found on their website, along with my analysis of how these might interact with an audience.

Ballets Jazz Montréal (Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal)

Ballets Jazz Montréal Website

This video found on the company website is titled Dance Me / Teaser - Musique Suzanne, was posted on their Vimeo page around one year ago (no exact date given), and created by the artists involved in the performance work (listed on the linked website page). This video is serving as an advertisement for an upcoming show collection to be performed by the company. It can be assumed that we are being shown some of the movement, setting, costuming, and music that will be in the live work, but it is clear that the shots were performed for a camera for this film, not using footage from a performance. This can be seen in the close up shots, and moving camera in the space with the duet of dancers. This video includes about one minute and thirty seconds of dancing, and twenty seconds of credits and information about performances and the work. The length of the video lends itself towards being less for new audiences who would want a shorter, more attention grabbing snippet, and more for knowing audiences that want a full taste of what is to come. Found under the pages SHOWS, RÉPERTOIRE, and listed at the top, this advertisement gives a very well-groomed professional quality video that presents the drama of the live work through slow fades and moments of black screen between the slow-motion dancing.

Chloé Arnold's Syncopated Ladies

Chloé Arnold's Syncopated Ladies

Videos are very important to this group of dancers, as it was the first available tab to click on in two ways on the home page. This video, with over 360K views, is used to show the viral nature of this group, both as themselves and the things they draw inspiration from or reference.  This video is titled Syncopated Ladies – Beychella Cover, was posted to the Facebook page on June 3, 2018, was choreographed by Chloe Arnold and performed by the dancers credited in the video and listed on the pop-up page provided to view the video. This was very impressive to me, as most videos don’t even have dancers credited by name, let alone social media handles and clips of solo performances! This group seems to do a great job of openly giving credit where credit is due. The references made in this video are very important to the point of the movement, and the adaptation of Beyoncé’s Coachella performance onto this tap group can only be recognized if you’ve also seen the viral video of that performance. It is a high quality video with impressive audio of the tapping that shows their desire to be popular with certain audiences and how they use video as a main means to do that.

Giordano Dance Chicago

Screen Shot 2019-04-10 at 9.18.55 PM.png

This video, titled GDC End of Yearis a documentary/info-mercial/advertisement style video is a combination of inspirational elevator music, class and workshop footage, interviews, photos, stage performance footage, and a call for action. That action is the giving of financial support to the organization. The video was posted to the company’s Vimeo page about four months ago, and has no credits listed except for the free music website used. This video is the most like a direct commercial advertisement that I saw in the festival because of its simple nature and rather typical content. But, it very effectively gives a look at nearly every aspect of the company and what it does, told from many different perspectives, and with many forms of proof. It efficiently gives off the positive and happy intentions of the organization while stating their tag line, giving testimonies, and showing technique and the type of work they do. This is one of many videos and forms of media covering the Giordano Dance website. Each page is rather busy, but manages to make all information feel important because they have done so much and are pursuing so much more. This video is found as the main media of the Support tab, and effectively justifies why someone should feel good about giving money to the organization.

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago
Hubbard Street YouTube

This website is the only one included in this festival that does not have any videos on it. It felt important to include the fact that some well-known companies do not use videos as a part of their professional online presence. In the footer of the website, there are buttons for the company’s social platforms. I chose to continue looking for videos by the company on YouTube after spending the time on the website to find there was no video media. Linked here, the company’s YouTube page has a highlighted video called Inside the Studio: Terrain, a World Premiere by Brian Brookswhich was posted on November 2nd, 2016 and focuses on the Artistic Director of Brian Brooks Moving Company, Brian Brooks, as he begins a 3-year residency as the Choreographer in Residence at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance. The video also credits the music included, but no dancers or film creators. This video follows a rather typical documentary/documentation style demonstrating the process of an upcoming work and interviewing the choreographer, and serves as an advertisement for the upcoming season. Being a nearly three-and-a-half-minute video, it is aiming at an existing audience following them on social platforms since it is not on their website or short enough to grab the attention of new audiences easily.

Jon Lehrer Dance

Jon Lehrer Dance

This promotional video titled Jon Lehrer Dance Promo Videowas found embedded in a small frame at the bottom of the company’s home page. Being embedded as opposed to linked to a social platform, the video does not give a window to another site of the organization, does not list the date of creation, and does not give credit to anyone involved in the creation. Starting with a fraction of a quote by Dance Magazine, this video is a montage of stage performance footage filmed from a distance, utilizes longer clips of movement placing a larger emphasis on choreographic moments, and shows a range of performance styles. Having had many personal experiences with the company, I believe it accurately represents the repertoire of the company, shows their style of technique, strong physicality, and range of moods through works. I do not believe though that it is done in a very attractive way. The title and credit sequence is very cheap looking and the editing choices do not connect with music. Like other videos in the festival, the three-minute length of this video seems to keep it from being an advertisement to gain audiences, but more-so a demonstration of work in order to attract collaborators and invite professional inquiries. 

Kinetic Light

Kinetic Light

This video is listed two ways through the home page of the company website. The original video, DESCENT by Kinetic Light,is embedded with a link below in red that says “View here with audio description.” That video titled DESCENT by Kinetic Light [audio described teaser]was posted on their Vimeo page around one year ago, and through their Vimeo description section gives a long list of credits. It also includes this statement:

 “A NOTE ABOUT DISABILITY CULTURE AND AUDIO DESCRIPTION: As a project led entirely by disabled artists Kinetic Light is committed to making audio descriptions for our online video as well as alternate text for the images we post. We are excited about the new aesthetic experiences dance can bring to people with visual impairments, and are designing a mobile app for audio description of our performances.” 

The video is an off-stage filmed advertisement for an upcoming show, giving a description of the movement, setting, and performers that might be seen in the live performance. The audio of the video is behind the audio description. The last 25 seconds of the video is audio reading of credits not shown on the screen. For choosing to include video on the website of a company focusing on disability culture, this is a very effective way for the organization to reach its intended audiences in many ways.

New York City Ballet

New York City Ballet

This form of the video could not be found available for embedding anywhere on their website or social platforms. Please use the link above to view the video on the company website.

The website of New York City Ballet is extremely expansive, with so many pages, sections and links that it is difficult to navigate. Scrolling through the home page, you can find the first video, 21st Century Choreographers, embedded with no other description. Because it is embedded, there is no information provided about its creation date or credit for those involved. The video is a direct advertisement for the upcoming show of the same title, giving its dates. I consider this advertisement and reel to be incredibly effective and well done. The clips are short, colorful, with movements deliberately edited to the music. In regards to the music, the movement matches the music so well, it makes me question if the music was composed after the edits of the film were completed, and then added on top. The video is an exact 30 second ad (a typical television or online ad length), and displays the slick, technical performance style of the company while still showing off a range of styles for a long-standing ballet company. I think it is so effective in attracting audiences because of its length, eye grabbing movement snippets that are shown off, and its editing musicality that mimics the performative quality of live movement with music.

TU Dance

TU Dance

While scrolling through the main page of the company website, you can find this promotional reel video listed under “Touring & Residencies” with information on “Booking TU Dance” underneath its frame. Embedded is the video with the title screen reading “TU Dance – Toni Pierce-Sands and Uri Sands.” After doing some searching through the company Vimeo page, this video can be found as TU Dance – 2 Minutesand was listed as their promotional video from 2014. It gives no credit to those involved in the creation of the video. As a reel, the video gives the company name and names of artistic directors, has simple black and white title screens, short clips of stage performance of five pieces or five shows, demonstrates a range of styles, shows choreography and the technique/versatility of company, and finally gives contact information for the company. The elements appear to be aimed at attracting collaborators, potential jobs, and the interest of professional seeking dancers. This reel invites collaborators to reach out to the company themselves after giving you enough material to get a feeling of whether or not you would want to work with them to some capacity.

Urban Bush Women

Urban Bush Women

This website is yet another with so many tabs and pages due to its expansive history and ongoing work, but videos are not a large part of their website platform media. Under the “WHAT WE DO” tab, found on the “CHOREOGRAPHIC CENTER” page is the first video you would find on the website if you went through the pages in order. The website utilizes silent moving images as the background for page titles, but the first linked video is Questions of Practice: Choreographer Jawole Willa Jo Zollar on Artistic Evolution and Risk which was posted to the Vimeo page of Pew Center for Arts & Heritage two years ago with biographical information on Zollar listed. At the end of the video, there is on screen credit given to the camera and editing crew involved. The video is a single camera interview with Zollar that includes some captions of the question asked and Zollar’s name and profession. I would imagine that, since this video is linked on the Choreographic Center Initiative page of the company website, what she speaks about in this video is closely tied to the goals of the initiative. I am unclear of if this video can be considered an advertisement, but I think it is important to see that video is used sparsely on the website and that this was selected to be one that was included to represent a part of the organization.

Visceral Dance Chicago

Visceral Dance Chicago

This montage video is a combination reel and advertisement of the company’s stage performance work. Linked from Vimeo on the “COMPANY” tab of the website, Visceral Dance Chicago 2017is found below the mission statement of the company: “Connecting audiences and artists to change the perception of dance.” Based on the content and editing of the video, I do not feel that it has accomplished demonstrating that mission. The video does not show any audiences of the performances, and appears to be similar in filming and editing style to that of other contemporary companies. It is a professionally done video, with emphasis on musicality of the movement in the clips, and effectively shows the technique and performance ability of the dancers, but it does not seem to support the mission it is listed with to the extent that I would like to see. Throughout this festival, I found it important to see the surroundings of the video and how it was being utilized for the benefit of the company outside of being a piece itself. This video may be received better if it was found in a different setting on the website.