Beach Party Animal: a screen dance film

Liz Aggiss

Research output: Non-textual outputDigital or Visual Products


Beach Party Animal is a screen dance film produced in 2010 with a commission by South East Dance (£13,000), (supported by Esmee Fairbairn and Jerwood), with additional production funding from Arts Council (£4,970K) and research funding from the University of Brighton’s Faculty Research Support Fund (£4,125). Beach Party Animal, shot on location on Brighton seafront, is an anthropological investigation of human behaviour animated through the interdisciplinary practice of screen dance that considers the zoomorphic qualities innate in human movement and repositions the documentary in relationship to screen dance film-making as a means to develop new pathways for creating original screen materials. In keeping with current conceptual and research concerns both in live and screen based practice, this project moved to: find the spectacular in realism, the extraordinariness of the everyday gesture and the happy accident, visibility in the invisible, explored ways to discriminate the real between the un-real, the true between the un-true, and to distinguish fiction from non-fiction. The variations in current conceptual frameworks that inform live dance and interdisciplinary research practices, challenge the conventions and support the development of dance by creating mobile borders and contexts to reinvigorate the art form, to interrogate ‘truth’ and widen understanding of what dance can be. As a result this research significantly adopted new methodologies which challenged former strategies and processes including; ‘chaotic’ choreographic time and space that avoided studio research, development and rehearsal: the exploitation of chance and improvisation, choreography by accumulation, guerrilla filming and choreographic ‘plants’: the replacement of complex rehearsed material with a rigour of fast tasking and decision-making: the creation of swiftness and ‘lightness of touch’ and zero crew: the reappraisal of the video production apparatus in favour of the ‘ silent and still’ camera: the re-location to an exterior space informing art direction and visuality: constructing choreographic form in post production: challenging the exploitation of the power of the camera and edit to create a physical spectacle, a ‘spectacular’ body and screen dance subject. Exploiting the documentary concepts within a screen dance film, Beach Party Animal aims to challenge passive spectatorship and the implied authority of appropriated dance material. It proposes an alternative that dresses ‘lies and deceit’ (a fiction) in an ‘authentic’ framework (the documentary), in order to pioneer innovative, conceptual dance practice that challenges the audiences to actively and critically engage. Dissemination of this project will commence in December 2010 and will focus on international screen dance and short film festivals, academic conferences and written publication, and will be included within educational programmes of master class presentations, performance lectures and practice based colloquia.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherLiz Aggiss/South East Dance
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2010


  • Screendance
  • dance
  • film
  • dance film
  • choreography
  • inter-disciplinarity


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