Screen. Dance. Now.


This past Saturday, Oct. 7,  Screen. Dance. Now. was held at the Riverside Arts Center located at 76 North Huron Street in Ypsilanti. The event was scheduled to begin at 1p.m. but the first part was cancelled due to low attendance. The rest of the show was then pushed back to 4 p.m. Each mini-show within the event lasted around an hour and the whole event ended around 10 p.m.

Screen. Dance. Now. was hosted by Joanna McNamara and Marcus White.  McNamara is a professor at Eastern Michigan University and is a choreographer. White is the founder of his performance company, White Werx, which is based in Detroit.  

“It really benefits my students to be involved in a communication outreach program like this,” Joanna McNamara said. “The beauty of dance film is you can work with many ideas and you have the freedom to choose where ever you want to work.”

The 4 p.m. show was a short film titled “LandcakeLock,” choreographed by McNamara and performed by her students. They were given three words to work with: land, cake, lock. The dancers had a mere 48 hours to put together the short film, including choreography, rehearsals, shooting, editing and presenting. In the end it was fun for the students and rewarding as well. It won the Audience Choice Award at Jam Handy Theater in Detroit. 

“I was in the short film. It was very intense,” said Daisa Hood, a sophomore at Eastern and one of McNamara’s dance students. “I loved that people could laugh at our short film. Most shorts have a deeper meaning but ours brings a break to that and gets people to laugh.”

Many of the short interpretive dance films shown at Screen. Dance. Now. were centered around deeper meanings and dealt with controversial topics. Ayanda Brydie, a freshman at Eastern and also a student of McNamara’s said her favorite short was “Confrontation” performed by Molly Meyers. 

Brydie stated it was her favorite “Because it was interesting – a person was representing a painting, while it was observed by another person who only saw the painting for what it was.” Professor McNamara said she chose only 12 short films out of over 100 submissions she received. A few included “All About You” by Muse Productions, “2-28 Fall of a Giant” by Florent Schultz, and “Intrinsic Moral Evil” by Harm Weistra. 

The evening pulled to a close as a documentary was shown titled: “Jitterbugs: Pioneers of the Jit” featuring the McGhee brothers and their struggle living in Detroit and making their way to fame in the Motown era. After the film three dancers from Hardcore Detroit performed the Jit live for the audience and held a Q and A session afterward. Cookies, water and wine were served afterward to close the evening. 

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