Ode to a Successful Frame x Frame Film Festival

Ode to a Successful Frame x Frame Film Festival

Education Frame | Work Links We Like

Frame Dance Production’s expertise in screen dance has been an asset in these virtual times, but I decided early on that I didn’t want to make Frame x Frame an at-home virtual festival. No way. There’s enough of that. (And that’s great!) Our partnership with Houston Ballet allowed us to create a Drive-In festival and to offer safe, in-person/in-car screenings for five weekends. That’s fifteen events. In COVID times. Over fifty dance filmmakers from Houston, the US and all over the world—China, France, French Polynesia, Australia, England, Belgium, Canada, and more had dance projected in the most glorious resolution in the middle of downtown all Fall. In regular times our festival is one weekend. Growth.


While some of what we do at Frame Dance has gone quiet (I MISS creating live performance and I MISS being in the room with our professional artists), restrictions have allowed us to push in new directions and we have found even more fullness in our mission. Moving our dance classes outside has been the most nourishing and quintessentially Frame Dance change we could have made at this time. And it’s something we are keeping after we’re all vaccinated and back in the studio.


The dance teacher in me says, “locomotive movement! You have your entire body to find new choices. Travel!”



Lydia Hance


Thinking about making your own dance for camera? Education Director Kerri Lyons Neimeyer compiled the following resources and considerations for novice dancer-filmmakers and dance-film viewers.

We are going to be so ready for FxFFF 2021.

Made for Kids and Used-to-be Kids 

What: New York International Children’s Film Festival Free Films, dir. various 

Where: NYICFF website, https://nyicff.org/now-playing/ 

Why: Most of these films are animated, but they show you how much story you can tell in 2 minutes. A lot, by the way. You can say a lot in 2 minutes if you plan your film well. Even the De La Soul music video packs a huge amount of story, environment, and filming techniques into 2 minutes.  

Many of the films in this festival are also wordless, which is an approach worth consideration; let the light, sound, and movement tell the story. I recommend Uka by Valle Comba Canales for the use of color and black-and-white. Mr Night Has a Day Off by Ignas Meilunas has lots of little surprises and “magical” changes that you can use in your filmmaking. One of my favorite techniques is in A Small Escape by David Sandell where the camera shot goes through the scissor handle, and then again when the viewer is looking through the scissor handles as if seeing through the scissor’s eyes. Looking through something, or creating a literal, physical frame around the action acts as a powerful symbol. All three of these films are wordless and under 3 minutes long. 

Watch for: Listen for: sound effects and use of music. How do these elements support the action? 

Warning: Some of the films on this site have a paywall. Most, though, are free, as indicated by the green arrow that says “Free.” 



What: Move 

Where: Netflix 

Why: Each episode follows one dancer/choreographer representing styles and locations as diverse as Isreali Gah Gah, Jamaican dancehall, Basque flamenco, and American street dance. Because each episode focuses on one dancer at a time, you can look at it as a portrait, investigating the identity of that person through their relationship to dance. Besides being good – if lengthy – portraits of dancers, the filming in this series is very screen dance-y. The camera is just as much a tool of art as is the dancer’s body. There were times when I wanted to see more of the full bodies and the choreography, but I realized that the camera and the editing were done not to show the viewer a dance, but to tell the story of that dancer and that dance and the world that they come from and move in. 

Watch for: Camera angles, use of light, slow motion, close-up shots and gestures. 

Warning: The Jamaican dancehall episode, “Featuring Kimiko Versatile,” may not be appropriate for young viewers due to the sexual character of the dances and the open use of  marijuana in the culture. 


For the Modern/Contemporary Dance-Curious  

What: Body Talk Series, dir. Magali Charrier 

Where: YouTube channel of The Place, a contemporary dance center (or centre) in London. 

Planet Dance: Body Talk – Part 3 

Why: Haven’t we all heard from someone that they “don’t get” modern dance? The ideas and words of Sanjay Roy are a gentle entrance into the mind of a dance viewer, explaining phenomena like mirror neurons working in the service of art. Do you need to “get” dance? Is trying to understand dance even the best way to approach it as a viewer?  

Watch for: Tools that the modern dance-curious or even the downright modern dance-resistant can pick up and take to the next performance, including performances on screen. 


What: Mitchell Rose Films 

Where: His YouTube channel, https://www.youtube.com/user/Mitchla/videos 

Why: Because he is a master of dance for film. Because he has a sense of humor. Because his friends and collaborators are a who’s who of contemporary dance choreography. 

I specifically recommend And So Say All of Us and its predecessor Exquisite CorpsThey both use the same format to connect dancers and choreography across space and are fun and accessible.  

Watch for: The dancers choices, again, especially the location each has chosen and how they use that space. 

Warning: I’ve only watched a few of the films on this channel, so I can’t vouch for them all in terms of appropriate content for general viewing. I can vouch for the two recommended above. 


Innovations – Films with technical flair 

What: Punto & Linea, dir. Tania Reza 

Where: https://vimeo.com/89965413 

Why: Coming in just under 4 minutes, this film was included in several international film festivals. Nonetheless, most of the elements of this film – location, costume, camera work, spoken word – are available to the novice dance for film maker 

Watch for: Lighting, camera angles, camera placement, how bodies and parts of bodies are presented in different shots. 

Warning: En Español, en caso de que no lo hables. 


What: Rosie Trump’s SCORE CARDS Project 

Where: Rosie’s website, https://www.rosietrump.org/score-cards 

Why: Rosie is a choreographer, a screen dance filmmaker, educator, Associate Professor of Dance at University of Nevada at Reno, and founder and curator of Third Coast Dance Film Festival. This is a project she made for dancer/filmmakers during quarantine and it is very open-ended assignment. The films are all under 3 minutes long, and they use a huge variety of approaches to filming. Some version of all these approaches is available to the beginning filmmaker: projection, horizontal vs vertical framing, stop-motion, dancing with props, split screen, speed changes, putting text on your images, and using “found” sounds. 

Watch for: How did the dancer fulfill the direction on his or her score card (which is posted beside the film)? Look for the choices they made in terms of time (slow, normal, fast, linear, nonlinear), light and color, location and backgrounds, sound, choreography, and camerawork. Whose decisions did you find most effective? Most interesting?  

Warning: Be aware that this project is ongoing, and films will continue to be added. 


Dance in Quarantine: Responses and Resources

Dance in Quarantine: Responses and Resources

Education Frame | Work Links We Like News & Updates

I don’t need to tell you that we as a society have gone through massive and abrupt changes in recent months. I would like to take this opportunity to notice and celebrate the ways that dancers and choreographers – always nimble, always flexible – have created, discovered, expanded, adapted, worked and reworked formats for creating and sharing dance in this time of uncertainty. In the role of artist, dancers and choreographers both lead and reflect our responses to events and our shifting perspectives. The art of dance has held an important place in quarantine culture since it began, becoming uniquely popular as we stay home to stay safe. 


By the end of March, publications like the LA Times and Vanity Fair were reporting on online dance classes and dance parties, while industry journals like Dance Enthusiast had designated space for social distance dance content. Dance companies responded with choreography and editing that allowed dancers to dance alone together. On March 29, the Martha Graham Dance Company posted “Sharing the Light,” excerpts from Graham’s dance Acts of Light performed by company members in domestic and outdoor spaces. In format, “Sharing the Light” is reminiscent of the gorgeous dance films of Mitchell Rose, specifically 2016’s “Exquisite Corps” and 2019’s “And So Say All of Us,” where dancer-choreographers are connected by movement, music, and editing while dancing worlds apart. It is an adaptable format. For example, it is used adorably and with feeling by YouTubers Dylan Arredando in a series of Quarantine Movement Chain Letters, and Prischepov TV to present the Quarantango.


Dance educators were quick to adapt to virtual dance. Within days of cities declaring lockdown, studios big and small moved their classes online, and we all found the most Zoom-able corner of our house and turned it into a dance studio. Suddenly, anyone with an internet connection could study dance with the schools of Alvin Ailey, Merce Cunningham, Gibney Dance, and the aforementioned Martha Graham. Smaller local and regional studios without the resources of these legends have not had to navigate digital dance instruction alone. The wonderful people at the National Dance Education Organization began sharing resources for on-line dance education on March 24 and, as of today, have produced and shared fifteen free webinars on the subject. Luna Dance Institute in Berkeley, CA, hosts weekly practitioner exchanges that gather dance leadership from around the country to discuss concerns and solutions in virtual dance education. 


Our dance community has not missed a step (pun intended!) in it’s goal to provide quality dance training, and has even found exciting new possibilities in the online format. Student dancers are having a crash course in dance-for-camera as they consider framing, space, and editing as part of their “digital studio” skills. Pre-recorded classes give dancers a chance to look carefully, to slow down the movement, and to revisit it at will. Holding classes in the home allows the entire family to participate in dance education, and interacting with studios via social media provides a different, sometimes broader, sometimes deeper relationship between a dancer’s family and their instructors. The domestic/public spheres are being broken down and renegotiated, as are so many parts of the larger culture, offering new possibilities as old practices are eliminated or put on hold. We are learning together, and together we are remaking our world. That’s not hyperbole. That’s bodies, in motion, making choices.

Please share online dance resources – instructional and/or just fun to watch – in the comments. Show us part of your world!

Getting to Know Dance on Film: Recommendations for #FramerNation

Getting to Know Dance on Film: Recommendations for #FramerNation

Frame | Work Links We Like

Houston is a dance town; readers of Frame Work know that. But do you know about the massive territory being explored at the intersection of dance and film? And are you aware that now, with the opening of the second annual Frame x Frame Film Fest on October 4-6, Houston is becoming a locus for the particular art of dance on film (also known as dance for film, dance film, and dance for camera)? #FramerNation, this is a new and exciting way to be involved with dance, and we encourage you to jump in as artists and audiences. To provide a head start on your education in this field, and/or to satisfy your deeper dive after viewing the films on offer, we have assembled recommendations from our FxFFF jurors and dance on film luminaries, Rosie Trump, Laura Gutierrez, and Lydia Hance. 


Frame Work: Film-making and film-viewing friends, can you tell me some of the dance films – outside of the ones in our festival – that you find really exciting?


Rosie Trump: My favorite feature length dance on film is Blush by Wim Vandekeybus.  I saw it screen at Dance Camera West in 2006 and it blew my mind.  I also love Rosas danst Rosas choreographed by Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker and directed by Thierry de Mey.


Laura Gutierrez: Dance Documentaries really excite me. Most recent ones are Restless Creature by Wendy Whelan, and Bobbi Jene and a non documentary is Girl (2018) by Lukas Dhont


Lydia Hance: Right now I am really excited about ANIMA, directed by Paul Thomas Anderson and can be found on Netflix! I’ve always loved Pina. Feelings are Facts is a fantastic documentary about Yvonne Rainer, co-founder of the Judson Dance Theater who is a dancer and choreographer turned filmmaker.


FW: Can you recommend any books about dance or dance on film to help our readers explore the genre?


RT: I read a lot of books about dance history. Brenda Dixon Gottschild and Susan Foster are two dance theorists that completely changed how I think about dance. Misty Copeland’s biography is on the top of my reading list.


LG: Deborah Hay, My Body, The Buddhist is my favorite book about dance.


LH: I love books about community creativity and finding ways to engage people with dance in authentic and meaningful ways that validate all humans as artists. I love Liz Lerman’s book Hiking the Horizontal. Right now I’m reading Anna Halprin’s book Making Dances that Matter with the MultiGen Framers.


FW: Any other recommendations? Inspirations?


RT: The OA and Russian Doll.  These are not films, but the best small screen cinema I have seen in a while. I am currently reading Lucia Berlin‘s Evening in Paradise.  My last dance film was inspired by an essay in Kim Gordon’s Is it My Body? Selected Texts.


LG: seeing is forgetting the name of the thing one sees, a book by Robert Irwin.


LH: I’ve recently (finally) seen Junebug directed by Phil Morrison and i thought it was fantastic. I would recommend The Goldfinch (not a short read) for something fun and captivating, and I have been a fan of Virginia Woolf for many years. 


FW: Thank you, dance-on-film gurus, and we’ll see you in the theater!


Rosie Trump is a dance choreographer, filmmaker, and educator.  Her work is nostalgic in style, feminist, and deliberately understated.  Trump’s dance films have recently screened at ADFs Movies for Movers, San Souci Dance Film Festival, Extremely Short Shorts at the Aurora Picture Show, the Utah Dance Film Festival, the Philadelphia Dance Film Festival, RADfest, andDance Film Association’s Long Legs Short Films.  She is the founder and chief curator of the Third Coast Dance Film Festival. Trump is an Associate Professor of Dance at the University of Nevada, Reno. Rosie finds inspiration in pop culture, politics, and visual art.

Laura Gutierrez is a performing artist and choreographer and has been named one of Dance Magazine’s “25 to Watch”. Her most recent work “Center Aisle Blues” was named Best Placemaking of 2018 by Dance Magazine. She is a graduate of UNCSA and was on adjunct faculty at the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts from 2011-2019 where she is also an Alum. Since 2014, she has toured with Jonah Bokaer Choreography. Laura’s inspiration comes from her family, politics, history, nature, traveling, architecture and art. 

Lydia Hance is the Founder Artistic Director of Frame Dance. She has been named an Emerging Leader by Dance/USA and has led Frame Dance in performances from the Galveston pier onto the METRO light rail, in the backs of U Haul trucks, downtown tunnels, and into museums, stages, and warehouses for the past ten years. A champion of new music composers, her work deepens interdisciplinary and multigenerational collaborations, and investigates the placement of dance in our lives. She is a choreographer, curator, filmmaker, educator, and dance writer. Her. She holds degrees in Dance Performance and English Literature from SMU and trained at the Taylor School, Graham School, Tisch School of the Arts, Limon Institute and SMU. Lydia is inspired by people’s stories, vulnerability, textures, the dessert, behavioral science, and new music.


Invitation to Indulge

Invitation to Indulge

Frame | Work Houston Hot Spots Links We Like News & Updates

Wow. What a feast of dance we have here in Houston in March! The remainder of this month-of-plenty is framed (ahem) at either end by Frame Dance Productions’ generous and varied portions of artistry and fun. Join us, and be nourished, satiated, fulfilled.


WHAT: Candlelight Improvisation Workshop presented by Frame Dance

When: Sunday, March 10, 6:45-8 PM

Where: River Oaks School of Dancing

2621 Shepherd, 77089, 2nd floor

WHAT: As the Shadows Grow Longer by Core Dance, a work by D. Patton White

When: Thursday, March 14, 8 PM, pre-show 7:30 PM

Friday, March 15, 8 PM, pre-show 7:30 PM

Saturday, March 16, 8 PM, pre-show 7:30 PM

Where: MATCH

3400 Main Street 77002

WHAT: Panopticon by Open Dance Project

When: Friday, March 15, 7 PM and 9 PM

Saturday, March 16, 7 PM and 9 PM

Friday, March 22, 7 PM and 9 PM

Saturday, March 23, 7 PM and 9 PM

Where: MATCH

3400 Main Street 77002

WHAT: Cultured Cocktails benefitting Frame Dance

When: Thursday, March 21, 5-8 PM

Where: Bar Boheme

307 Fairview 77006

WHAT: Moving Mountains Through the Clouds with Transitory Sound and Movement

When: Friday, March 22, 8-10 PM

Where: Asia Society Texas

1370 Southmore 77004

WHAT: ‘s (a tale of possession) by Hope Stone Dance

When: Thursday, March 28, 7:30 PM

Friday, March 29, 7:30 PM

Where: MATCH

3400 Main Street 77002

WHAT: Metro Dances featuring Frame Dance

When: Saturday, March 30, 5-6:30 PM

Where: Metro Red Line from Bell Station to Hermann Park/Rice U Station


What: Sor Juana and the Chambered Nautilus

When: Friday, March 15, 8 PM

Saturday, March 16, 8 PM

Sunday, March 17, 2:30 PM

Where: MECA

1900 Kane St 77007

What: Round 49: penumbras: sacred geometries Opening, Artists’ Talks and Market

When: Saturday, March 16, 2:30-7:00 PM

Where: Project Row Houses

2521 Holman 77004


Wednesday, April 17, 7 PM

Dance Salad Festival Choreographer’s Forum

Brown Auditorium, MFAH

Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, April 18, 19, and 20, 7:30 PM

Dance Salad Performances

Wortham Center, Cullen Theater

501 Texas Ave, 77002

I love you

Frame | Work Houston Hot Spots Links We Like

You’re my breathing castle

Gentle so gentle

We’ll live forever

Happy Mid-February, Framers! And happy love-celebration from myself and Richard Brautigan, whose poetry I’ve used to put you all in an endorphin-flooded brain state.* The images are mine, and they are potent reminders of the sweetness in my life (but, yes, I will have an overpriced truffle. Thank you so much). I invite you all to look for examples of couples of all kinds with strong connections – breathing, gentle, eternal, castle-building connections. It is a special kind of satisfying, and a reminder of the power of couples, duets, dyads. To slightly misquote an episode of Northern Exposure, one person can have a profound effect, but two people can change the world.

Find a second person. Do something together. Change the world.

Here are some suggestions for doing stuff in twos, threes, two twos, three twos and a one, you get it:

Tuesday February 12, 6:00 PM

Brazos Bookstore

Bullet Journal Workshop and Notebook Exchange

Tuesday February 12, 7:00-10:00 PM

Cafe Brasil – 2604 Dunlavy

Frida + Flowers: Galentines Craft and Movie Party

Wednesday February 13, 7:30-9:30 PM

Cafe Brasil – 2604 Dunlavy

BAD LOVE: A Dark Valentine’s Eve Reading and Open Mic

Hosted by Fuente Collective

Thursday February 14, 6:30-7:30 PM

Transitory Sound and Movement Collective presents

Abstraction in the Key of Yellow

Contemporary Arts Museum of Houston – 5216 Montrose

With choreography by Jen Mabus, TSMC member and Frame Dance Educator, this show features improvised music and choreography in the setting of feminist artist Cheryl Donegan’s printed and painted works currently on display the CAMH

Thursday February 14, 7:00-11:00 PM

Axelrad Beergarden – 1517 Alabama

Makeup to Breakup – Axelrad Valentine’s Party

First 50 single souls get Free Bubbly! (Hot Tip: my husband and I hooked up began our courtship at an Ain’t-Got-No-Valentine Valentine’s Day Party. You should go.)

Saturday February 16, 8:00 PM

Kaplan Theater, Evelyn Rubenstein JCC Houston – 5601 S Braeswood

Houston Choreographers X6 with Special Guest Uptown Dance Company

Featuring choreography by Frame Dance Educator Jen Mabus

Sunday February 17, 9:15-10:30 AM

Flatland Gallery – 1709 Westheimer

Yoga & Mimosas

First the yoga. Then the mimosas. You’ve earned it.

Friday February 22, 7:30 PM

Aurora Picture Show – 2422 Bartlett

Screening of Lynn Sach’s Film Tip of My Tongue

Filmmaker in attendance. Part of the Powerful Vulnerable Series.

Saturday, February 23, 7-10 PM

Cafe Brasil – 2604 Dunlavy

VIP Slam and Workshop

*This quote, while loverly, is from “Once Upon a Valley,” which is not a very romantic poem. For something with legit passion, try “Gee, You’re So Beautiful That It’s Starting to Rain.”

‘Tis the Seasons: Last Minute Shopping!

Frame | Work Houston Hot Spots Links We Like

Hurry! Run! They’re about to close!

  1. Space Montrose – Best gifts and cards in Houston all year round, and a smorgasbord of regional artisans. You’re guaranteed to find a new favorite.
  2. British Isles – Do you have your Christmas crackers? Last chance! Also, all of your teapot needs met and then some.
  3. Cheeky Vintage – You can always feel good about buying second hand, you sustainable shopper, you. And vintage clothes get the most compliments. It’s a fact.
  4. Blue Willow Books – Independent bookstores are a sign and source of a thoughtful community. This one is one of the best. (Specializes in kids books, but if you aren’t reading YA, you are out of the zeitgeist.)