Extra Credit Documentary Assignment: Documentary Viewing Questions
You have a choice of watching any two of the nine videos listed on the . You may watch any of them, in any order, but you must answer the questions below for each video you watch. You may list your written answers one question after the next, or answer them all in paragraph form. You may alter questions slightly if you need to, to suit a particular documentary (for example, if one documentary you view does not include a collaborator, you might discuss why this artist chose to work completely alone).
Each documentary assignment should be about a page long.
What is the title?
Who is/are the main artist(s) featured?
Who are the collaborators, if any, and how did they collaborate? For instance, Merce Cunningham collaborated for about fifty years with musician/composer John Cage.
Based on what you see, what do you think are the salient features of this artist’s technique and movement vocabulary?
What are some interesting features of their process? What process(es) do they use? What kinds of questions do they ask? Do they look to subject matter for inspiration? If not, where do they look?
Are there any facts or features of this person(s) life or the historical context in which they are working that you find interesting?
Is there anything you did not understand? Did this work raise any questions for you or inspire you in any way?
How would you rate this video in a 4-star rating? What would your rating be based on?
Please submit ALL of the documentary assignments as ONE document.
- Ballet Russes (Links to an external site.) Wonderful film that follows the lives of the people who were in the original Ballet Russes de Monte Carlo (from the early twentieth century, after they left the company). It also gives a good overview of the original Ballet Russes and its offspring.
- Common Ground (Links to an external site.) Documentary about men and women with varying abilities exploring creative movement through a dance form called contact improvisation.
- Free to Dance Part 1 (Links to an external site.) Free to Dance Part 1 2nd half (Links to an external site.) chronicles the crucial role that African-American dancers and choreographers have played in the development of modern dance as an American art form. (note: both links are part of this documentary)
- Butoh (Links to an external site.): Piercing the Mask: This unique dance form evolved in Japan as a response to the bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. It is also heavily influenced by the Austruckstanz movement in Germany in the early part of the twentieth century.
- Still/Here with Bill T. Jones and Bill Moyer (Links to an external site.): A landmark interview with legendary choreographer Bill T. Jones. Jones did a year-long tour of the country, doing workshops with people who had terminal illnesses. This film documents that work, and also includes an extensive interview with the great interviewer, Bill Moyer. Jones is one of the most eloquent speakers in the dance world.
- German Lineage in Modern Dance: (Links to an external site.) This documentary discusses the dance form that began in Germany before World War I and influenced the development of modern dance in the United States in the late 20th century.
- Been Rich All My Life: (Links to an external site.) A documentary about five tap dancers who performed in 1930’s Harlem at the famed Apollo and Cotton Club, with legendary band leaders like Cab Calloway and Duke Ellington.
- A New for America (Links to an external site.): A New Dance for America is the story of the life and works of Doris Humphrey, a seminal figure in modern dance. Her importance to the development of a uniquely American art form cannot be overstated.
- Dancing Across Borders (Links to an external site.): This film explores the journey of a Cambodian man named Sokvannara “Sy” Sar who started dancing with a with a small troupe in Angkor Wat and became a company member of the Pacific Northwest Ballet.