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date: 04 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

In the 1920s Soviet avant-garde film was developing alongside modern dance, and the two arts often drew on each other’s stylistic and conceptual achievements. This chapter considers approaches to the cinematic mediation of dance and expressive movement, as they were articulated by the Choreological Laboratory of the Russian State Academy of Artistic Sciences (RAKhN) and two pioneers of montage, Lev Kuleshov and Dziga Vertov. In a historicization of the techniques and instruments used for staging and representing movement, Moscow’s Central Institute of Labor (CIT) promoted chronophotographic studies of labor efficiency and biomechanics. It then disseminated its methods in avant-garde circles; thus studies of movement inherited from science formed a conceptual amalgam with modern choreographic and theater discourses. Meanwhile, Russian thinkers theorized the capabilities of cinema to convey the character and duration of movement, and how film viewing differed from real-time observation in the theater, further enriching the future of dance’s potential on the screen.

Keywords: Soviet avant-garde, modern dance, montage, chronophotographic, choreographic, Choreological Laboratory, RAKhN, Kuleshov, Vertov

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