A Rose By Any Other Name…: The hows and whys of Web Dances

Lord, Richard

* : I started developing world-wide-web sites in 1995 to supplement my income (or lack of it) as a choreographer. While programming web sites was easy for me (I used to program computers before Terpsichore reformed me) I found designing web sites challenging. So in 1996 I started to experiment with transferring my choreography skills into this new medium, as a way to boost the quality of my design work. The result, as well as some better designed web sites, is the Web Dances [www.webdances.com]– a web site currently containing four personal works created for the web. My intention is that these works should be interesting, varied, experimental, and above all informed by my sensibilities as a choreographer. I call the work Web Dances because it seems an appropriate name - these works use many techniques and forms that I use when creating live dance. It is assumed by many that I am asserting that the works related are dance. Perhaps they are and perhaps they’re not (I’ll deal with this later), but the name is intended as the title of a body of work, not a name for a genre of art. Unfortunately, the name has now been adopted to denote any dances created for the web. Being stubborn, I haven’t changed the title of my work, so you’ll have to accept the confusion. In this article, “Web Dances”, capitalised and in italics, will always refer to my work, while “web dances”, in plain text and not capitalised, will indicate the questionable genre of dance work created for the web. Questionable because many respected dance artists consider that such work is impossible. So before continuing, I’ll address the question of what I think a web dance is.