Mission and History

Dance Films Association, Inc. (DFA), a non-profit, tax-exempt, member-supported service organization, promotes excellence in dance on camera and public awareness of the artform through screenings, publications, grants, and workshops. Its many partners help to bring its touring programs to a wide public. Dance on camera is a collaborative art, one that fuses the ageless art of dance and the century old art of film. DFA aims to impart that spirit of collaboration to the world and to encourage a keen awareness of the magical ways to interpret time, space, and energy.

Dance on Camera not only informs us about all kinds of dance, it provides another lens that enables us to appreciate rhythms in nature and all walks of life.

Susan Braun founded the organization in 1956 after a futile search for films on her favorite dancer, Isadora Duncan. A tireless pioneer, Ms. Braun devoted her life to finding, showcasing, preserving and championing dance films and videos until her death in 1995. Ted Shawn, the founder of Jacob’s Pillow, was DFA’s charter member; modern dance pioneer Jose Limon and ballerina Alicia Markova served on its first Board of Directors.

Initiated in 1971 to foster creativity and encourage collaborations between dancers and film makers, DFA’s annual Dance On Camera Festival provides an overview of the field and a meeting ground for artists, curators, and scholars to share ideas. The Film Society of Lincoln Center joined as its co-producer in 1997. Starting in 1999, Dance On Camera Festival started to tour nationally and, in 2000, internationally.

In 1998, DFA started offering post-production grants and expanded its fiscal sponsorship program. It has a database of distributors and their various dance film/video titles that has been updated and published seven times over the decades. In 2007, DFA initiated the Susan Braun Award; The Young Choreographers Initiative to encourage young dance filmmakers, beginning with a competition for 16-28 year old artists in New York City. DFA is a founding member of MAD, Media and Dance network of over thirty dance film festivals around the world.