All about the Serpentine Dance

The Serpentine Dance was one of the first things captured by Edison’s film cameras – but what was the Serpentine Dance?

Who? The serpentine dance emerged during the late nineteenth century. It evolved from the skirt dance, a form of early burlesque in which moving figures were swathed in light fabric and optical shadows to create a fluid sequence of shapes. Pioneered by Loïe Fuller, it was created in reaction to the popular can-can dances of the time, and is one of the early examples of live stage and cinematic performance. By the turn of the century, it had become a globally famous spectacle, which saw dancers perform in cages with lions, on stilts or on horseback. They became celebrities and in turn fashion icons, known for their billowing yards of silk and voluminous costumes.

“I find it fascinating when dress makes the body take second place” — Marketa Uhlirova

What? The serpentine dance is described in Marketa Uhlirova’s new book, Birds of Paradise: Costume as a Cinematic Spectacle. Led by a rich catalogue of images, it studies the mystery and simple magic of the early dance and its consequential effect on fashion. Alongside Loïe Fuller, American dancer Estrella Sylvia is credited with popularising the dance genre in London with her enchanting acrobatic movements and wafting fabric.

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Serpentine Dance

I Need You but Can’t Pay You: 4 Things to Remember When Asking for Free Work

Doing freebies is a part of life in the filmmaking world - Bobby Marko offers 4 tips of how to ask for help when money is scarce.


We’ve all been there! The all too familiar passion projects, short films, documentaries, even feature films. And when we create these projects we know in order to pull them off, we have to invite others to get the vision, to hopefully be as passionate about the project as we are, all in order to utilize their skill for either very low compensation or none at all. So who do you invite, inspire and convince others to join your team when money is scarce or no existent? How do you ask the people you know who are very talented to become part of your project knowing they will most likely not see a dime? Here are four things to remember when asking for free work.

This first point is probably the best point to make because it makes all the other points relevant and easier to follow. It goes without saying, you should be up-front and honest with the people you are asking. If there’s no budget to pay crew for your passion project, tell them right away and be honest. Whether it’s no budget or only $50 a day, let them know up front. Do not promise that they will be paid once you have a successful crowd funding campaign or that a rich relative will most likely come through. Those are not guaranteed statements. It’s ok to let them know you are seeking funding and if there is money left over everything else, then some compensation could be made. But if you do not have the funds ready to spend, it’s best to let them know from the very first conversation that there will be no compensation.

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Oliver Burkeman: The Negative Path to Happiness and Success

“Get motivated!” and “stay positive!” are common bits of self-help advice. But have we gone too far in our penchant for positivity? Leaning on research (including a story about Mount Everest climbers), reporter and author Oliver Burkeman shares the counterintuitive insight of how abandoning goals and allowing some negativity in can actually be helpful.

“Theres a real benefit to find ways to loosen our grip as goal driven people. When you look at successful entrepreneurs…you find they don’t follow this stereotype.” We should instead remain ready to adapt where we are heading and embrace uncertainty.


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