This course will introduce you to contemporary films that that capture dance and movement in a variety of ways. Working between histories of dance and histories of cinema, this course examines what becomes possible when bodies, screens, and technologies meet each other.
Since both the bodies and the images that animate our everyday lives—and even our most interior and private fantasies—arise from specific cultural contexts, we will pay close attention to the politics and histories of race, class, gender, and sexuality that shape cinematic representations of dance. This course is designed to make you familiar with the subtle, and at times not-so-subtle, cultural codes that shape how we perceive and learn to differentiate between bodies. Drawing upon scholarship from critical race, feminist, queer, and trans* scholarship we will learn how to discern—and talk about—the cultural values encoded into images of moving bodies from the club, the stage, the street, and even the mind’s eye. No previous knowledge of dance or cinema required.
Possible films include: Saturday Night Fever (1977), Fox's So You Think You Can Dance (2005-Present), Only Lovers Left Alive (2014), Beyoncé’s Lemonade (2016), The Fits (2016), FX's Pose (2018), Black To Techno (2019), Hustlers (2019), and multimedia installations by Juliana Huxtable and Wu Tsang.