MAYA DEREN: DANCE FILMS

Maya Deren (1917-1961) developed an interest in dance during her first years living in New York City.  According to scholar P. Adams Sitney, “In the early forties she conceived the idea of writings a theoretical book on modern dance and looked for a professional dancer to work with her. She interested Katherine Dunham in her project and traveled with her on her tour of 1940-1941. The book never materialized…” Several years thereafter, Deren integrated her interest in modern dance into her filmmaking practice, and in the 1950’s did fieldwork in Haiti on rituals, dances, and voodoo.  She also collaborated with choreographer Anthony Tudor and students of the Metropolitan Opera Ballet School in the making of THE VERY EYE OF NIGHT (1952-55).

Deren’s first dance film, A STUDY IN CHOREOGRAPHY FOR THE CAMERA (1945) was subtitled “Pas de Deux”, referring to the co-equal role of the camera and the on-screen dancer in terms of the interplay between movement, space, and time.

 
Dancer Talley Beatty in A STUDY IN CHOREOGRAPHY FOR THE CAMERA

Dancer Talley Beatty in A STUDY IN CHOREOGRAPHY FOR THE CAMERA

"In this film, I have attempted to place a dancer in a limitless, cinematographic space. Moreover, he shares, with the camera, a collaborative responsibility for the movements themselves. This is, in other words, a dance which can exist only on films The movement of the dancer creates a geography that never was. With a turn of the foot, he makes neighbors of distant places. Being a film ritual, it is achieved not in spatial terms alone, but in terms of a time created by the camera."

- Maya Deren on A STUDY IN CHOREOGRAPHY FOR THE CAMERA (1945)

 
Dancer Ch’ao Li Chi in MEDITATION ON VIOLENCE

Dancer Ch’ao Li Chi in MEDITATION ON VIOLENCE

Dancers from the Metropolitan Opera Ballet School in THE VERY EYE OF NIGHT 

Dancers from the Metropolitan Opera Ballet School in THE VERY EYE OF NIGHT 

 
 
 

  Contents

Format: DVD-PAL / Region 0
(No Regional Code)

     ----------------------------------------------------------

A STUDY IN CHOREOGRAPHY FOR THE CAMERA
(US, 1945)

Director: Maya Deren
Choreography and dance: Talley Beatty

• 2:30 minutes
• 16mm
• B&W
• Silent

     _________________________________________

RITUAL IN TRANSFIGURED TIME
(US, 1945–1946)

Director: Maya Deren
With: Maya Deren, Rita Christiani, Frank Westbrook & Anaïs Nin

• 16 minutes
• 16mm
• B&W
• Silent

     _________________________________________

MEDITATION ON VIOLENCE
(US, 1948)

Director: Maya Deren
With: Ch'ao Li Chi
Chinese flute and Haitian drum arr.: Maya Deren

• 13 minutes
• 16mm
• B&W
• Sound

     _________________________________________

THE VERY EYE OF NIGHT
(US, 1952–1955)

Director: Maya Deren
Choreography: Anthony Tudor
Music: Teiji Ito
With: Students of Metropolitan Opera Ballet School

• 15 minutes
• 16mm
• B&W
• Sound

     _________________________________________
     _________________________________________

Total Running Time: 00:46:30

Published By: Re:Voir Video

Institutional Price: $250 (plus shipping)

To order call: 212.280.8654 or click here for information on ordering by fax, e-mail or post.