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Dec 13, 2019 at 10:00 am – Dec 15, 2019 at 5:30 pm

On the Choreographic: Dance and Movement in Hybrid Film Practices Workshop

Dance Films Association Presents a Dance Film Lab

Led by Sarah Friedland

This workshop is SOLD OUT.

Please sign up for the waitlist below to receive updates regarding any openings or similar future opportunities.

This workshop will explore and develop methods for incorporating choreographic languages into hybrid and non-fiction filmmaking practices. Reflecting on the relationship between moving images and moving bodies, the workshop will consider how these processes are already embedded in one another and how hybrid film and performance practices are bringing into contact the work of the choreographer with the work of the filmmaker. Rather than making a sharp distinction between “dance film” and other filmic forms that incorporate movement, this workshop will investigate a variety of strategies for incorporating movement and dance into these hybrid and interdisciplinary film forms. Including participatory and embodied exercises, and exposure to practitioners approaching these forms from a variety of angles, this weekend will unpack the relationship between choreography, movement, performance, and documentary. 

This three-day workshop will be led by filmmaker Sarah Friedland(Home Exercises), and feature a bevy of guest artists that include filmmakers, choreographers, performers, animators, and cinematographers: Naiti Gámez (Cinematographer, Kiki), Brighid Greene (Producer, La Medea),  Alexa Lim Haas (Animator, Random Acts of Flyness), Raja Feather Kelly (Artistic Director of the New Brooklyn Theatre), and Yara Travieso (Director, La Medea).

We will lead participants through exercises, discussions, and works that look at the role movement plays within their practice, and the ways in which nonfiction can be choreographed. Some questions addressed by this workshop include: How can we think of gesture study as a practice that spans filmic forms? What role do performance and reenactment play in the use of movement in nonfiction filmmaking? In what ways can nonfiction be choreographed? How do you choreograph a character? How does a camera operator perform? 

No dance or choreographic experience is required. Movement exercises led by Sarah Friedland will initiate and conclude each day’s sessions, emphasizing the relationship between the operator’s body, the camera body, and the dancer’s body, opening up ways for participants to approach the process of filming moving bodies as choreographers and introducing participants to the basics of movement and choreographic vocabulary.


Open to everyone, though the workshop setting is best suited for filmmakers, film producers, choreographers, dancers, performance and media artists looking to develop the cinematic languages with which they can represent and incorporate movement.

Give us an idea of who you are and why you are coming. When you register you will be sent a short statement of interest that should briefly describe your experience and a film project (it would be great if you have a project in progress that you would present to the group during the work-in-progress critique sessions, but not necessary), plus a bio. There’s a spot for a link to a work sample.


$295 early bird registration by December 2, 2019 at 5PM.

$350 regular registration.

The deposit is non-refundable. Should you need to cancel, you’ll receive half of your registration fee back until December 2nd. After December 2nd, the fee is non-refundable.

In order to keep costs down, this workshop is a BYOL, i.e. bring your own laptop. Students must be fully proficient using and operating their computers.

To register for a workshop, students must pay in full via card, check, or cash . After the early bird registration deadline of December 2nd, course fees are not refundable or transferable and any withdrawals or deadlines will result in the full cost of the class being forfeit. There will be no exceptions. To withdraw from a course please email info-at-uniondocs.org.

In the event that a workshop does not receive sufficient enrollment, it may be canceled. Students will be notified at least 48 hours prior to the start of a cancelled workshop and will be refunded within 5 business days. If we reschedule a workshop to another date, students are also entitled to a full refund. UnionDocs reserves the right to change instructors without prior notification, and to change class location and meeting times by up to an hour with 48 hours prior notice.

Please note: Participants are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis.


Friday, Dec 13, – 10:00a - 5:30p

Intro & Welcome

AM:  Sarah Friedland (Home Exercises) 

PM: Alexa Lim Haas (Agua Viva)

Saturday, Dec 14 – 10:00a - 5:30p

AM: Yara Travieso & Brighid Greene (La Medea)

PM:  Raja Feather Kelly (UGLY (Black Queer Zoo)

Sunday, Dec 15 – 10:00a - 5:30p

AM: Naiti Gámez (Kiki)

PM: Participant Works-In-Progress

Each day follows this general structure, with some minor variations and substitutions:


Warm up, inspiring references, case study, eye training.


Presentation by guest speaker + individual work-in-progress critique




Share / Discussion / Exercise


Lunch (on your own)


Presentation by guest speaker + individual work-in-progress critique




Workshop Exercise + Critique


Wrap Up


Sarah Friedland is a filmmaker and choreographer working at the intersection of moving images and moving bodies. Her work has screened and been presented in numerous festivals and film spaces including New Directors/New Films, Ann Arbor Film Festival, New Orleans Film Festival, Cucalorus Festival, BAMcinématek, and Anthology Film Archives, in art spaces such as MoMA, Sharjah Art Foundation, MAM Rio, Nasher Museum, Wassaic Project, and Manifattura delle Arti (Bologna), and in dance spaces including the American Dance Festival and Dixon Place, among others. Her work has been supported by the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, Film Society of Lincoln Center, Dance Films Association, Art Factory International, NYSCA/Wave Farm, Rhode Island State Council of the Arts/NEA, and Berlinale Talents where she was one of 10 selected screenwriter/directors for the 2017 Script Station/Project Lab. Sarah graduated from Brown University’s department of Modern Culture and Media and started her career assisting filmmakers including Steve McQueen, Mike S. Ryan, and Kelly Reichardt. Sarah has worked on collaborative research and writing projects with media theorists Wendy Chun, on slut-shaming and new media leaks, and Erin Brannigan, on the dancing body on film. CROWDS, her 3-channel dance film installation, will be installed at La MaMa Galleria from 11.7 until 12.1 as part of the Performa 19 Biennial.

Naiti Gámez is a NYC-based filmmaker from Miami/Cuba. Naiti has worked as a cinematographer and director on award-winning films and television series. Her film, Love, Sadie premiered at the Festival de Cannes Short Film Corner. As a cinematographer, her film credits have screened at festivals worldwide including Festival de Cannes, Sundance Film Festival, Berlinale, Camerimage, Tribeca Film Festival, SXSW, Festival du Cinema de Paris, Festival de Cine Internacional de Barcelona, among them. Her TV credits include HBO, Showtime, PBS, ESPN, MTV, Discovery Channel, Nova, and Animal Planet. Naiti has also worked are non-profit organizations in the U.S. and abroad. As a youth-media educator, she’s collaborated with young people to produce videos about social, cultural, and political issues that affect them. She holds a B.A. in Latin American Studies from Smith College, and an M.F.A. in Film Production (Cinematography concentration) from the University of Texas at Austin.

Brighid Greene is a film, theater, and dance artist. She produced Yara Travieso’s La Medea, an immersive musical and feature film that re-imagines Euripides’ myth into a Latin-disco-pop-feminist variety show; and CROWDS by Sarah Friedland, a dance film installation that meditates on the slippage between crowd typologies. She spends a handful of months in Wilmington, NC working for the Cucalorus Festival, teaches Super 8 with Mono No Aware, and was a longtime performer in Then She Fell by Third Rail Projects. She choreographed for Josephine Decker’s Madeline’s Madeline, which premiered at Sundance. Her own work, recently included in the Tiger Strikes Asteroid baseball show, reflects the curvatures of reality and their intersection with our inner worlds. Brighid lives in Brooklyn, and is from California.

Alexa Lim Haas is an artist and filmmaker from New York City. She was selected by Filmmaker Magazine as one of the “25 New Faces of Independent Film” in 2017. Her animated shorts, Glove (2016) co-directed with Bernardo Britto, and her first solo short Agua Viva (2018) both premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and were awarded with Grand Jury Prizes at SXSW. In addition to screening at film festivals worldwide she has exhibited work at MoMA, BAM, The Brooklyn Museum, The Norton Museum of Art, and in collaboration with Planned Parenthood and the HBO show Random Acts of Flyness. She received her BFA from NYU Tisch School of the Arts.

Raja Feather Kelly is the artistic director of New Brooklyn Theatre. In 2009, he founded the dance-theatre-media company the feath3r theory. The two companies merged in 2018. Raja has been awarded a Creative Capital Award (2019), a National Dance Project Production Grant (2019), a Breakout Award from the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation (2018), Dance Magazine’s inaugural Harkness Promise Award (2018), the Solange MacArthur Award for New Choreography (2016), and is a three-time Princess Grace Award winner (2017, 2018, 2019). He was born in Fort Hood, Texas and holds a B.A. in Dance and English from Connecticut College.

 Over the past decade he has created fifteen evening-length works with his company the feath3r theory to critical acclaim. Most recently, UGLY (Black Queer Zoo) at The Bushwick Starr, and We May Never Dance Again® at The Invisible Dog in Brooklyn.  Professionally, Raja has performed with Reggie Wilson/Fist and Heel Performance Group, David Dorfman Dance, Kyle Abraham|Abraham.In.Motion, and zoe | juniper. He has also managed a number of dance companies: Race Dance, Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion, zoe | juniper, and Reggie Wilson/Fist and Heel Performance Group.

Since 2016, Raja has choreographed extensively for Off-Broadway theatre in New York City, most notably for Signature Theatre, Soho Rep, and New York Theatre Workshop and Playwrights Horizons. Frequent collaborators include: Lileana Blain-Cruz, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Sarah Benson, and Lila Neugebauer. Other theatre credits include choreography for Skittles Commercial: The Musical (Town Hall), The Chronicles of Cardigan and Khente (SohoRep), Everyday Afroplay (JACK), GURLS (Princeton University, Yale Repertory Theatre), Electric Lucifer (The Kitchen), Lempicka (Williamstown Theatre Festival), The House That Will Not Stand (New York Theatre Workshop), Fireflies (Atlantic Theatre Company), If Pretty Hurts Ugly Must Be a Muhfucka (Playwrights Horizons, nominated for the 2019 Lucille Lortel Award and the 2019 Chita Rivera Award for Outstanding Choreography), The Good Swimmer (BAM), and Faust (Opera Omaha). Most recent work: A Strange Loop (Playwrights Horizons), Fairview (Soho Rep, Berkeley Rep, TFANA and winner of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Drama).

Yara Travieso is a Brooklyn based director, filmmaker, writer, and choreographer. She received a BFA from The Juilliard School in 2009. She is a 2019 Arison United States Artist Fellow, a Creative Capital recipient, and a winner of The National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures Grant via The Ford Foundation and The Surdna Foundation. Following the Latin American tradition of her mother and grandmothers, Travieso brings to light invisible worlds through her own experiential female centric stories. Her original productions have been featured in NYC’s Park Avenue Armory’s Drill Hall, Lincoln Center, EMPAC, BRIC Arts Media, Performance Space NY, Joe’s Pub, The High Line, and Vizcaya Museum amongst others. Her film works have been featured at Film Society of Lincoln Center, SXSW, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Miami Film Festival, Museum of The Moving Image and commissioned by Hermes of Paris, GQ, Glamour, I Am An Immigrant among others. VICE describes La Medea, Travieso’s immersive live musical film as “A modern-day Medea is mythology’s ‘Nasty Woman’.” Her 2018 production, El Ciclón, took over the YoungArts campus, transforming a Miami City block into a swamp horror feminist film set. From 2005-2010 Travieso co-founded and ran Miami’s Borscht Film Festival, named “the weirdest film festival on the planet” by IndieWire. She is the recipient of a number of residencies such as, PS122 RAMP (2016), Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (2015), BRICLab (2014), STREB Lab (2014), Tribeca Performing Arts Center (2013), and Bessie Shonberg (2010). Travieso is also an educator, currently a teaching artist at The Juilliard School.

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Dance Films Association serves the global dance film community by providing membership opportunities, connecting artists and organizations, fostering new works for new audiences, and sharing essential resources. Its constituency includes dance and film artists, academics and critics, as well as students and established professionals. dancefilms.org @dancefilms

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Dec 13, 2019 at 10:00 am
Dec 15, 2019 at 5:30 pm
$335.00 – $350.00


352 Onderdonk Avenue
Ridgewood, NY 11385 United States
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