Entry from Acts of Transfer:

MOVEMENTARTS edited video tapes (1979) by Jane Ellison, Peter Ryan, Michael Brodie

Duration: 32 min 45 sec
Format: ¾” Umatic (colour and b/w)

MOVEMENTARTS edited video tapes (1979) excerpts of Jane Ellison

Duration: 4 min 25 sec
Format: ¾” Umatic (b/w)

Jane Ellison has been a critical participant in Western Front’s multidisciplinary experiments merging art and life. As one of Western Front’s early artists, Ellison is also the sole dancer to have contributed to its activities. Over the years, Ellison has collaborated with many artists, musicians, dancers, and choreographers, and continues to teach out of the studio of EDAM Dance which has been located at Western Front since 1982.[1] Ellison began teaching exercise dance classes at the Front as a means to make a small income, as well as process what she was “learning about and interested in” by way of teaching and researching it through the body.[2] The class eventually developed the multifarious monikers “Boing Boing,” “Boing,” or “The Boing” at the suggestion of fellow peer and dancer Margaret Dragu, illustrating Ellison’s love for playful and organic processes.[3] While some may consider Ellison’s class a performance,[4] hers is undoubtedly a praxis that seeks to create conditions for participation, improvisation, collaboration, and emergence using the body and its many abundant expressions as a form and mode of research.[5] The loosely guided, meditative format of the class incorporates the practice of finding presence and freedom within oneself: one that is open to a continual unfolding and processing.

As demonstrated by her presence in Oh Yes, Oh No (1979), Aboutabout (1979), and MOVEMENTARTS (1979) on the Acts of Transfer timeline, Ellison is a frequent contributor and familiar face in Western Front’s archives. All made in the same year, each work uniquely demonstrates Ellison’s range of skills and interests while maintaining choreography as its foundation.

MOVEMENTARTS (1979), is an early example of collaboration between media and dance. MOVEMENTARTS was the name of both a series of dance classes hosted by Western Front and Vancouver Community College from 1977-1982 exploring movement, mime, and contact improvisation, as well as a series of solo dance works by Jane Ellison, Michael Brodie, and Peter Ryan that experimented with the choreography of the camera. The recorded documents play with movement, time, framing and illusion, and signify the convivial and technically experimental atmosphere of the time. An excerpt of Ellison’s MOVEMENTARTS (1979) movement studies can be found here.

1 – EDAM is an acronym for Experimental Dance and Music.
2 – Ultraviolet (Interview with Jane Ellison)—Project Rainbow. Produced by Project Rainbow. Featuring by Jane Ellison. 2013. Accessed April 2018.
3 – Ibid.
4 – Ultraviolet (Interview with Hank Bull about Jane Ellison)—Project Rainbow.
5 – Ellison, Jane. “About Jane.” Jane Ellison Classes. Accessed April 2018.


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Original Archive Entry:

Solo performance works by Michael Brodie, Peter Ryan, Jane Ellison, using film photographs and videotapes, including a tape of Morley Wiseman and his work. Work is edited work tapes created by Movementarts between September and December 1979. It was created as part of a Canada Council for the Arts explorations grant for experimentation with movement and video.