About Us

Dance on camera – a brief definition 

The earliest film directors recognized the immediacy and emotional power of dance. The two arts, dance and film, have enjoyed a passionate, sometimes stormy marriage ever since. Today the genre of dance film/video continues to evolve as choreographers collaborate with writers and directors around the world to create innovative shorts, narratives, features, documentaries, and screen adaptations of choreography originally made for the stage. Dance on camera, alternately known as dance for the camera, dance video, videodance, filmdance, cine-dance, screendance, kinodance, is the art of choreographing cinema that is burgeoning around the world.

Dance Films Association, Inc.

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 festivals, screenings, publications, grants, and workshops. Its many partners help to bring its touring programs to a wide public.

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 to share ideas. Entrants (generally about 250 from 22 countries) regularly attend the festival. The winner of the festival receives a cash award. 

Starting in 1999, Dance On Camera Festival started to tour nationally and internationally. All entries with classical scores are also welcomed for screening (3 minute excerpt) on Classic Art Showcase, and other PBS programs. For the screenings in the tour outside of New York, the filmmakers receive a honorarium.

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.

DFA is a founding member of MAD, Media and Dance network of dance film festivals around the world.

To commemorate DFA’s fiftieth anniversary, DFA is beginning a new initiative to encourage and support America’s finest choreographers and filmmakers to create works specifically for the camera.

Dance Films Association, Inc.
48 West 21st Street, #907
New York, NY 10010, USA

Artistic Director

Deirdre Towers

Education Director

Latika Young

Special Projects

Kelly Hargraves

Festival Co-producer

Joanna Ney, Film Society of Lincoln Center

Dance on Camera Team

DFA is a member organization, connecting artists, distributors, curators, arts patrons, students, libraries. DFA is its members!

Please contact DFA if you need a videographer, distributor, choreographer, writer or curator.

Board of Directors
  • Betty Jenkins, President
  • Louise Spain, Treasurer
  • Amy Meharg, Secretary
  • Shahla Kayoud
  • Virginia Brooks
  • Elizabeth McMahon
  • Jerry Pantzer
  • Penny Ward
Board of Advisors
  • Larry Billman, Dance Film Academy
  • Ellen Bromberg, University of Utah
  • Dennis Hedlund, Kultur
  • Celia Ipiotis, Eye on Dance
  • Allegra Fuller Snyder, UCLA
  • Robert Johnson, Newark Star Ledger
  • Tanja Meding, Albert Maysles Productions
  • Joanna Ney, Film Society of Lincoln Center
  • Mel Spain, Trustee
  • Louis Venosta, Scriptwriter