Education - What?: A Choreographic Evolution
What? Interactive Introduction

What Menu

Here is to life and generations dancing!
Martha Graham

This project was a huge undertaking of trying to update old tapes and photographs so that they could be published. We started with old videos on Beta tape that were recorded almost twenty years ago. We had to find a Beta deck on E-Bay. The recordings were dark and grainy and I discovered they were loosing magnetic pieces off the tape. They were rescued just in the nick of time.

The process of dubbing the old Beta and VHS tapes onto DVCPRO tape, a digital format, started in 1999. During 2000-2001 I learned how to use digital editing programs and graphics programs such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator as well as trained in Spruce Technologies' DVD Maestro.

In the midst of all this Jimmy and I took a yearlong break to work on another video project called Creative Passings. I started working on the old photographs in 2000. These photos needed a lot of work because the chemical processes were starting to fail. I took some of the photographs and worked on creating some digital image designs. This process took between 2000-2002.

Beginning in June of 2002 I began capturing the dance clips into Final Cut Pro 2.0. As I began the editing process it became apparent that most of the clips were too dark. I learned how to apply video filters to help enhance most of the recordings. Applying filters requires hours of rendering time and used a total of 27 gigabytes of space on my media drive. By the end of the project I had only 4 gigabytes of space left. Which left no room to write out the movie into quicktime or real media until I got a larger disk. Even with my best efforts there are various sound and visual problems.

Many thanks to Jimmy for all his technical input and help when I got stuck. His expertise has been a valuable resource and I would not have been able to complete this project without his help. Also, special thanks to the Center for High Performance Computing at the University of Utah for donating the use of valuable equipment.

This project has been a journey of history. My history, about a work that had choreography that I care deeply about and that I loved to perform. It was physically demanding and cathartic. When I was performing the work I always wondered if I was going to make to through to the end of the dance. I remember setting the movement on Esther Burchinal and Susie McGee-Lowdermilk as if it were yesterday. They were incredible dancers who at that moment in time went with me on a journey to create this most unusual piece of choreography.

Documentation of artistic work is so important, because it helps us to look back and see what was happening at a particular point time. Documentation, also, helps us realize how far we have improved technically from those early days. I'm glad we took steps to record rehearsals and performances. Watching the tapes brings back so many memories, from each dancer I worked with to each performance.

The purpose of What? Interactive is to have a resource for the analysis of the progress of a dance, as well as, the analysis of choreography and dancers during a particular point in time. I hope that this project is a valuable resource for today's dance teachers and students of dance.

Beth Ann Miklavcic