Transitions Dance Company performance archive goes live!

Genny Steccone, Laban archive volunteer, has spent the past three months uploading VHS and DVD recordings of performances by Transitions Dance Company, Trinity Laban’s in-house dance company, on to the video-streaming site available in the Laban library. Here she describes what she has been doing:

I have been involved in a project focused on the digitisation of all the performances of Transitions Dance Company. The Company was founded in 1982 by Bonnie Bird (1914-1995) who was Artistic Director until her death. The principal aim of the Company was, and continues to be, bringing together well known choreographers with skilled young dancers and bridging the gap between training and the profession of being a dancer.

The first part of my commitment was recording all the performances, avoiding any possible future damage to the format, considering that most of them are on VHS and the more recent ones on DVD. Planet eStream is the software which we worked with. It is fast and easy to use, and indeed after recording the content, the results are immediately available on the Trinity Laban website to students and staff who log in on-site. We have one video for each year from 1983 to 2007. Every video consists of about five or six choreographic works recorded during a performance. The programme of the show includes information about the choreographers, dancers, music, costume designers, lighting designers for every choreographic work and the order of appearance of the works for each performance. However the order on the programme has not always been the same as that on the recording. Therefore the first issue has been to recognize each choreographic work, and verify and find the right order. There are different ways to approach this. The musical score has often been the more intuitive resource, so I have just searched for the tune or the artist mentioned in the programme. However sometimes there is no score or it is not recognisable.

Another useful way to gather information has been through the comparison of the recording with the folders of photographs of Transitions Dance Company, held in the archive. The folders contain pictures of different entities: portraits of dancers, snap-shots from workshops, from journeys in foreign countries, and from the performances themselves, so in some cases I was able to identify the performance from the costumes or choreography. Occasionally we have been able to insert audio or video interviews with the choreographer about the creation of their work. It is an inspirational chance to gain an insight into individual artistic patterns for students and for researchers.

The purposes of this project are to make these resources available, accessible and as user-friendly as possible, to encourage other companies to deposit records about their artistic work at the Laban Archive, and to allow the choreographers and the dancers themselves to review their work.

If you would like to see what Genny has been doing, log on to the video-streaming site available at http://video.trinitylaban.ac.uk and search for Transitions. Access to view Transitions performances is only available in the Laban Library and Archive but some of the interviews with guest choreographers can be viewed online by everyone – just click on the Log-in as guest link. If you spot any information that needs correcting or can identify any works which we haven’t been able to, then do get in touch – we would be glad to hear from you! 

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Photograph of Genny Steccone adding Transitions Dance Company performance recordings to the video-streaming site in the Laban Library and Archive, Creekside, London

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The Historical Projects in the Laban Library and Archive

The Laban Library and Archive have put together a display of items that contextualise the Historical Project performances being performed by the second year BA(Hons) Contemporary Dance students on Thursday 13 June and Friday 14 June in the Bonnie Bird Theatre at Laban. Items displayed include photographs of works by Lea Anderson choreographed for Transitions Dance Company, the work of Steve Paxton and fellow experimental choreographers Douglas Dunn and David Gordon, works by Martha Graham from the early 1930s and works by Richard Alston which form the basis of a new work being performed by the students. Alongside the photographs is a compilation video of clips from the last ten years of Historical Project performances at Laban. The display is at the top of the ramp in the Laban Building at Creekside until Monday 17 June. Come and have a look!Image

TO ALL MAC STUDENTS One to one and/or

TO ALL MAC STUDENTS

One to one and/or one to small group (no more than 3/4 people) sessions

In preparation for your dissertation I’m available for one to one or one to small group (no more than 3/4 people) sessions.

It would be very useful if you could e-mail me your topic area in advance so that we can have a look at those databases and/or journals which are relevant to your research. Last year’s MAC students found these session useful as they were tailored to their research needs.

Our sessions will include the following databases:

Providing access to Platform a refereed electronic journal devoted to postgraduates, postdoctoral researchers, and entry-level academics in the fields of theatre and performing arts

A current awareness service enabling you to follow those journals covering your research topic (you will receive an alert every time a new issue is published including a list of contents)

Also via City University you can widen your search to the following disciplines:

  • Art & Art History
  • Education
  • Feminist & Women studies
  • Film Studies
  • Philosophy
  • Psychology
  • Sociology

City university provides access to a wide range of databases including:

An archival database providing access to academic journals

Providing access to title such as Body and Society, Theory Culture and Society and European Journal of Women Studies.

Please e-mail me or ask for me at the desk my working hours are:

MON                          9-2

TUE                             9-8

THU                            9-2

I look forward to hearing from you!