The cinema, images which dance

‘The intensive questioning of scenography, space, time, movement and, inescapably, the body, which cinema has undertaken, since the first few hours of its invention, extends and goes hand in hand with the reflections carried out in the field of dance’: from the very first page of his work,  Kino-Tanz, L’art chorégraphique du cinema (Kino-Tanz, The choreographic art of cinema), Dick Tomasovic brings to mind the filial link, almost incestuous in that is also a loving one, which ties cinema to dance.

A link which provides this beautiful book with all its relevance, an instructive and thorough work of research which succeeds in the wager of also being fascinating for the layperson. Nonetheless, this pertinence results from too little evidence: "The question of knowing how cinema lives with the other arts is a very active one in its study," Dick Tomasovic, a lecturer at the Communication Arts and Sciences Department at the University of Liège. "But strangely, if we can find a lot of works on its links with the theatre, painting or literature, the question concerning the links between dance and cinema has been little documented. Given that I have a personal interest for the two disciplines, and that dance is certainly the live performance art which has impressed me the most over the last ten years through its inventiveness and its permanent renewal, I logically became interested in this question."

A question which, as has been said, is a product of the very essence of cinema. "There is in my view a misunderstanding at the heart of the history of cinema," picks up the researcher. "Because its devices, the first great personalities, such as Georges Méliès, its fairground commercialisation, its means of projection, grew up within it, it took theatre as a reference point. ‘Staging’ imposed itself. Nonetheless, it is indeed movement which is at the heart of cinema. It is the micro-movements in the image, such as moving leaves, which have fascinated people from the very beginning of its history. Cinema is an art of movement. And in this sense it is indeed dance which has to be its main reference point."

As Dick Tomasovic signals in his work, Jacques Aumont (Le cinéma et la mise en scène, Paris, Armand Colin, 2006) elsewhere puts forward the hypothesis that if cinema had developed not according to the format of its official ‘inventors’, the Lumière brothers (in other words collective viewing in a dark room) but instead on the basis of Thomas Edison ’s  Kinetoscope  (a peep show machine designed for an individual viewing of the film tape), the idea of the stage and the references to theatre would have less naturally imposed themselves.




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