The Art of Movement

Jeanine McCain, Associate Professor of Dance

Jeanine McCainFor Jeanine McCain, moving east to the dense, bustling Philadelphia area from the vast and mountainous terrains of Montana and Colorado was a bit of an out-of-body experience.

“I have a sense of my own body in those spaces and a certain aesthetic for dance that comes from being in those places,” she said. “When I came to the east coast, I immediately noticed that I felt different in my body.”

Those experiences have informed her performance research. She explores human connections to physical environments and personal history, blending the physical moving body with digital technology and art installation. She uses portable, hand-held projectors to shine images onto dancers—a way to layer meaning, invite intimacy, and ignite a visceral response in the viewer.

“It reveals the human body as a landscape of its own for embodied moving imagery,” she said.

Recently, she took the concept and turned it into a sculpture, projecting a filmed dance piece onto a tall, windmill-like structure where panels rotate in concert with choreography and music. She collaborated with Brian Hapcic, a professor of lighting and sound design at the University of Northern Colorado, to create this iteration of the project.

“My interest is in using projection technology to invite intimacy,” McCain said. “The projections become part of architecture and part of the environment in a unique way, but they also explore different parts of us as humans.”

McCain’s blend of performance and technology have been presented at the Imagine Festival: Film, Technology and the Body in Action; the International Interdisciplinary Artists Consortium; and the Sans Souci Festival of Dance Cinema, as well as at the Philadelphia Fringe Festival and on the Ursinus stage in Once Removed, performed by Ursinus students.