Choreographer, Dancer & Educator
a movement artist, my primary interest is dance. However, in recent
years I have chosen to expand my inquiry into the creative applications
of technology within the field of dance. As a dance technologist, I
constantly remind myself that the moving body must remain at the core
of my research in technology applications. While melding technological
components into my work I have expanded my choreographic sensibilities
into new realms, yet consistently engaged in a process of creating that
depends heavily on the choreographer's palette. My background in performance
and choreography supports and shapes this creative process, whether
developing a work for the stage, the screen, or designing interactive
media. Whatever the canvas, choreographic principles such as the use
of space, time, and energy are ever present.
My area of research, dance technology, is unique at Florida State
University (FSU), and is a newly emerging field in the nation's universities.
In general terms, dance technology involves a creative and technical
blending of art and science through which dance is created, shared through
emerging media, and documented for study by historians, critics, artists,
and choreographers. My work supports fluidity between the living art
of dance and its scholarly investigation.
Inspired by the works of multimedia dance pioneer Alwin Nikolais, I
have actively engaged in the development of multimedia theater works
since 1995. Like Nikolais, I am interested in the creation of "total
theater" works, cohesively incorporating music, dance, set design,
costumes, props, and technology to create a unified work of art. I enjoy
participating in the development of all elements of my work, and thus
have a complete collection of power tools, sewing machines, synthesizers,
computers, projectors, and more. It is in this area of creative activity
that I find the most pleasure and feel that I have created some of my
best and most noted works.
Two large, in-depth projects in this area are Whistling Doves: An
Evening of Multimedia Dance Theater (1999) [link to www.whisltingdoves.com]
and Aqueous Myth: Tales of a Water Planet (2005) [link to www.aqueousmyth.com].
Both works involved extensive research periods (seven and four years
respectively) and included primary research at international site-specific
locations. Aqueous Myth: Tales of a Water Planet, funded in part by
Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography at FSU, was a project
of extensive scale that provided numerous opportunities for technology
testing on campus and abroad as the performances were broadcast live
on Internet2. Three years of pre-production were followed by a one-year
period during which students, faculty, alumni, and guest performers
engaged in artistic development with a variety of choreographers, composers,
and designers. This project was designed to promote the educational
experience of dancers, involving nearly 50 of our student dancers, through
exposure to high-tech production development and ongoing opportunities
to develop performance and production skills through interaction in
the creative process. Links to these multimedia dance theater projects
may be found at http://www.timglenn.us.
Concert Dance Documentation
My in-depth investigation into the development of new techniques for
concert dance documentation began in the summer of 2002, following receipt
of the FSU First Year Assistant Professor Award. Since that time I have
worked with many internationally renowned choreographers and professional
companies to accurately record dance and the choreographic process,
so that they may be preserved and accurately shared now and in the future.
My research in documentation techniques addresses the urgent need
in the dance field for documenting and preserving cultural expression
as displayed in the form of concert dance. Experimental work, to date,
has involved field-testing of documentation components including: stage
grids, synchronized multi-camera shoots, camera geometry, spatial imaging,
verbal cueing by the choreographer, and costuming for documentation.
I explore dance-specific considerations as to how documentation may
result in quality contributions to our global dance archive by specifically
capturing the detailed intent of choreographers and identifying effective
applications of today's technological tools. National and international
projects have resulted in the collection of a detailed archive of information
on the choreography and training of contemporary dance master Dan Wagoner,
numerous performances of the repertory of Alwin Nikolais (shot in Florida,
New York, Utah, and Edinburgh, Scotland), a number of masterworks by
Paul Taylor, and other documentation projects at FSU. My continued partnership
as primary videographer for the Paul Taylor Dance Company's Repertory
Preservation Project has led to the development of new models for concert
dance documentation, shaping the techniques and procedures for documenting
dance in the video medium.
This research has been presented at the Hawaii International Conference
on Arts and Humanities and at other national venues, and was recently
noted in the Dance Heritage Coalition's publication, Documenting Dance:
A Practical Guide. DHC is the nation's leading resource for dance documentation
and preservation. I developed a web site (http://www.dancedocumentation.com)
containing writings and media illustrations from this area of my research.
This site was recognized by Dance Films Association in New York as "a
site to visit."
Creative and educational applications of Internet technologies, more
specifically Internet2, represent another area of my research within
the field of dance. Telematics, distant communication using Internet
technology, may be referred to as "performance conferencing."
This unique application of technology within the arts necessitates collaborative
work and has resulted in new knowledge used to further the field of
dance. As a charter member of the Association for Dance and Performance
Telematics (ADaPT), [link to http://dance.asu.edu/adapt] I have been
active in a number of national events linking university dance departments
via Internet2 since 2001. I currently serve as FSU's Arts and Humanities
Representative for Internet2.
Exploring the use of this technology opens doors to completely new
ways of thinking about dance education and performance design. Internet2
initiatives include: modern dance technique masterclasses involving
Ohio State, Wayne State, and FSU; choreography coaching sessions involving
Wayne State and FSU; real-time dance improvisation with live music and
video projections involving University of Utah and FSU. Many of these
collaborative research activities with other major university dance
programs have been featured on the Internet2 Arts and Humanities web
site. I also have used telematics as a means to access long-distance
guest speakers for my dance technology classes.
Media Design and Production
The design and production of media products for dance, whether CD-ROM,
DVD-ROM, DVD-Video, or web site, allows dance content to be packaged
in a manner that can be easily accessed, allowing the user to benefit
from the efficiency afforded by advancing technologies. Such media products
take the form of educational materials, edited documentation, promotion,
or stand-alone creative works. My recent publications in this area include:
Nikolais' Pond DVD and the Alwin Nikolais - Sharing the Legacy 3-DVD
set. I also am engaged in ongoing activities in interactive media, web
design and digital audio composition for dance, including 17 sections
of original music for the soundtrack to Aqueous Myth: Tales of a Water
A recent collaboration, funded by an Innovative Instruction Grant
from FSU, resulted in a new web site for the dance field. ChoreoVideo.com
[link to www.choreovideo.com] is a web-based media resource designed
to promote innovative instruction in the area of dance technology, specifically
the relatively young genre - choreographic works for the screen. Merging
the theoretical and aesthetic components of two motion arts-dance and
video-these new teaching tools utilize interactive web technologies
to educate artists in a specialized area of study that deals with the
kinetics of camera motion, the moving body, and video editing as an
extension of the choreographic process. ChoreoVideo, produced by dancers
for dancers, emphasizes parallels in the choreographic process that
exist between designing for the proscenium stage and for the video screen.
The site has been created specifically to provide technical, aesthetic,
and theoretical support for the study and production of dance for the
As a modern dance choreographer for almost 20 years, my creative process
working with movement has been directly influenced by a great number
of artists in the field. This list of mentors includes Alwin Nikolais,
Murray Louis, Daniel Shapiro, Joanie Smith, Claudia Melrose, Vera Blaine,
and many other dance professionals. Prior to joining the faculty at
FSU, I was commissioned by the Amsterdam School of the Arts in the Netherlands
to create the work Kussens; received the Gene Kelly Award for the Performing
Arts from the National Alliance for Excellence for previous work in
the field; received a Leo Award at the Jazz Dance World Congress for
a performance of my choreography at the Kennedy Center; and have been
recognized in numerous regional and local publications.
My engagement in the development of new and original dance repertory,
and in restaging previously choreographed works, provides a laboratory
for choreographers and dancers to embody and address issues of dance-making
and performance training. Thus, my work in this area of creative activity
is closely aligned with my studio-related teachings. The use of inventive
movement vocabulary in my work provides a vehicle for student dancers
to develop their abilities as virtuosic performers. My choreographic
process relies on a dynamic and sensory base and offers an alternative
to emotionally motivated performance. Every dance requires a new vocabulary,
custom-designed to convey the essence of the work. Choreography is both
visual and kinetic and must be selectively crafted. I am intrigued by
the process of communication that must occur to produce clear, articulate,
and convincing performance - the way in which an idea must travel from
the mind of the choreographer, through their body and voice, into the
mind and body of the performer, and ultimately across the proscenium
to a viewing audience.
My choreographic process is supported by an extensive career as performer,
including membership in the Nikolais and Murray Louis Dance Company
of New York (1991-1992). As a company member I performed over 20 works
by Alwin Nikolais and Murray Louis within 48 performances in seven countries.
Following this professional performance career in New York, I became
the artistic director of Performance Tech - Tim Glenn and Company, a
dance troupe based in Madison, WI, which developed critical regional
acclaim. For the past eight years I have been invited to teach repertory
and create new choreographic works at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Click to enlarge hemage
Do you have an artist to recommend for a future ArtSpotlight? If
you do, contact ArtSpotlight@theArtsweb.com.
You can even recommend yourself!