The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Professor’s Rite of Spring documentary to premiere at Dallas VideoFest


For Christopher Dolder, Meadows Assistant Professor of Dance, choreographer Joost Vrouenraets seemed like a handful.

“He’s a pretty wild guy and I was sure he was thinking, ‘who is this guy?’” Dolder said.

But fastforward through a few meetings, a shared love for dance and graphic novels and the friendship was formed. Now, Dolder is working as dramaturge for the famed Vrouenraets, giving advice for the centennial reimagine of The Rite of Spring.

During the four hour rehearsals in the Owen Arts Center, Dodler kept himself busy filming, to keep track of the movement and progress of the dancers.

That film has turned into “Meadows at the Winspear Rite of Spring,” which follows the choreographer, dance faculty and students through three months of rehearsal and final performances, will premiere this Saturday at Dallas VideoFest.

“What everyone gets put of this is the process by which collaborative artists helped envision Joost’s work,” Dolder said.

Mixed with interviews with costume designers, lighting technicians, faculty and student dancers, the film highlights the ephemerality of the 101-year-old piece by Igor Stravinsky.

Dolder began filming his own performances in the mid-1980s while he danced with his own company, Christopher Dolder and Friends, and as a soloist for Martha Graham.

“I started to document my own work and play with it. I was self-taught and editing truthfully with a razorblade and cellophane tape. It was the dark ages of editing,” Dolder said.

Later, while pursuing a graduate degree at Mills College, his hobby became a true passion thanks to access to instruction and advanced equipment. He began creating site specific works, like dances on sandy beaches, which would become one of his first major films, “Shifting Sands.”

With his documentary of the revolutionary modernization of “The Rite of Spring,” Dolder was able to speak through two voices, that of the visual and that of those involved in the production.

Though Dolder filmed and edited the documentary himself, the students involved in the production received plenty of experience from the filming alone.

“I was able to experience the process with them,” Dolder said. “They saw what it took for me to film and how much footage I had to take. It was a revelation of how you get from A to B.”

Dolder will be teaching “Dance And Camera” in the spring for the first time to help students take control of their own performances and realize their potential as a filmmaker.

“Meadows at the Winspear Rite of Spring” is the first of two Dodler documentaries premiering over the next year. His film “The Ecstatic Dance of Burning Man,” four years in the making, explored experiential, conscious dancing at one of the world’s most known festivals.

“As a 52-year-old dance teacher, you’re not supposed to dance, you’re just supposed to teach,” he said. “At Burning Man, I had an epiphany, I can be someplace where I can just experience dance and not be responsible for driving it.”

The film will screen at 8:15 p.m. on October 18, at the Angelika Theater. Tickets are free.

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