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Columbus Makes Art Presents Ohio State Dance Professor Mitchell Rose Bringing Dance-Films to the Wexner Center

Damian Bowerman Damian Bowerman Columbus Makes Art Presents Ohio State Dance Professor Mitchell Rose Bringing Dance-Films to the Wexner CenterA still from “Hold On” directed by Pip Cowley. Photo by Pip Cowley.
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Mitchell Rose is an associate professor of dance-filmmaking in the Department of Dance at The Ohio State University. Mitchell created [email protected], a festival of dance-films from around the world presented by the Ohio State Department of Dance and the Wexner Center for the Arts. This year the festival will be streaming virtually from Feb. 12 to March 12. Damian Bowerman, communications specialist for OSU Dance, chatted with Prof. Rose about his career and the format of dance-films.

Damian: Prior to becoming a filmmaker, you were a choreographer specializing in comedic work. What led you to making dance-films
Mitchell: I had a New York-based dance company that toured for 15 years and you get tired of the flights and hotels and chiropractors after a while. I was ready to do something new and so I moved to Hollywood and was invited into the American Film Institute’s directing program. I did the Hollywood hustle for 10 years and then had an opportunity to make a dance-film and I thought it would be fantastic to now go back and bring together my two loves of dance and film. I didn’t mean for it to become a career path but one thing always leads to another… and here I am.

Most dance-films take place out in the world the way films do. And anything is possible – they’re fun and high energy. That first dance-film I made was of a guy dancing with a 22-ton John Deere excavator. You won’t see that happening on stage. You could say these are like music videos but more about the energy of motion than illustrating the music.

Mitchell Rose on the set.
Mitchell Rose on the set.

Damian: Who are some of your favorite filmmakers and dance filmmakers?
Mitchell: I love film and can’t get enough of it. Some of my favorites are Kubrick, the Coen brothers, Hitchcock, Spielberg, Alejandro Iñárritu. Dance-filmmakers? Marlene Millar and Philip Szporer, Lloyd Newson, Katrina McPherson, um… ME!

Damian: What is [email protected] and what can audiences look forward to this year?
Mitchell: When I got to Ohio State nine years ago, I began producing [email protected] It’s a festival of award-winning dance-films from around the world, co-produced by the Ohio State Department of Dance and the Wexner Center for the Arts. Because Wexner won’t be having live events yet in February, the festival streams on their website this year. It’ll be up for a month starting Feb. 12 and is free. We have 12 fantastic films ranging from two to 12 minutes. And each film is introduced by the filmmaker. I hope people will check it out—they’ll really find something new and fun and exciting. And did I mention it’s free?

Damian: What’s the best thing about the Columbus art scene right now?Mitchell: What I love about the art scene in Columbus is that at the same time that there’s a lot of cutting-edge work being done, it’s also intimate. The art scene here has a terrific scale. You can discover wonderful new artists, but also become deeply familiar with the regulars. We’ve got a vast range from international artists at the Wexner Center to emerging artists at new galleries. It feels very alive, here in our livable city.

[email protected] is co-produced by the Ohio State Department of Dance and the Wexner Center for the Arts. The festival is free and streams virtually from Feb. 12 to March 12. For more information visit dance.osu.edu or wexarts.org.

Columbus Makes Art Presents is a bi-weekly column brought to you by the Greater Columbus Arts Council – supporting and advancing the arts and cultural fabric of Columbus. The column is a project of the Art Makes Columbus campaign, telling the inspiring stories of the people and organizations who create Columbus art. Learn more about local artists, organizations, public art and events at ColumbusMakesArt.com.

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