Monica Thomas is an interdisciplinary artist working in movement and video: a director and choreographer. Her dance for camera work has shown in festivals nationally and internationally, recently at Dance Camera West, Barcelona Independent Film Festival, Aesthetica Short Film Festival, Brooklyn Film Festival, and American Dance Festival's Movies by Movers. In 2017 she presented a site-specific live performance and created a dance for camera series as a Performance Lab artist at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.  

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As a dance filmmaker, I interweave cinema and choreography. Film and dance share two important fundamentals: Space and Time. In my work, I search for the natural overlap of the two art forms. I believe that through their thoughtful combination, each medium can be pushed into new territory.  

As a choreographer first, I have a fresh perspective for dance film. I draw on my dance background to experiment with filmmaking conventions. I look for novel ways to depict the moving body in film that would not be possible in live dance performance. I push beyond typical filmmaking approaches to create dance film that is more than mere documentary. 

Choreographically, I create contemporary dance that follows a postmodern tradition. I enjoy contrasting pedestrian gestures with expansive movement exploring the weighted body. With dance film, I am able to choreograph both the movement of the dancers and the movement of the camera. Based on the goals of the piece, I experiment with the angle, framing, and point of view of the camera to heighten the piece’s themes. 

My work in more than merely recording dance on film. My ultimate objective is to create striking, evocative imagery with layered meanings. For each film, no matter its individual theme, I strive to make work that is potent and affecting, posing multiple questions rather than providing a single answer.

—Monica Thomas, Artist Statement


Her new project Brought to You By is a series of satirical dance films presented as commercials. Each film will critique representations of gender and race in commercial media by examining the commercial performing body with humor and heightened imagery. 

Mentor: Steve Delahoyde
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Photos: Matthew Gregory Hollis | Tyler Core | Matthew Gregory Hollis 

Video: Wills Glasspiegel