Jody Sperling and Loie Fuller

Back in the 1800’s the technology to create a moving picture was still in the primitive form. The frame rate was slow and there was no color. To counter this, certain people would take footage and literally hand paint each frame to give color. Apparently, the Lumière Brothers were one of the groups who did this. And of course they would only take important motion pictures to work on. Supposedly one of the colorings that they did was of Loie Fuller in 1896.

However some historians have doubts about the true identities of the dancers. Jody Sperling is one of these historians who has an extensive knowledge on dances like these. Sperling is also a choreographer and a dancer; she is passionate about her work on stage and off. She formed her own dance company aptly named “Time Lapse Dance” due to the heavy influence from past dancers and magnificent styles. Here is a link to their website It is a non-profit organization so one can imagine how tough it is to maintain. Much of money that keeps the company running is from donations. Donations can be hard to come by in this day in age, so a certain strategy is used by Sperling and fellow members of the company is to use a network. Sperling asks people she knows for donations, and then those people ask more people… so on and so forth. Using a network like this is savvy and practical, which is one of the reasons she has managed to maintain and operate her entity.

Now, onto the art of the dance.

By: Cliff

Loie Fuller is famous for the dance called the ‘Serpentine Dance.’ Fuller developed this type of art due to the receptiveness of the audience. She uses copious amounts of fabric to spin around. After more development in the art, she used colored lights to point at herself to give awesome illusions of movement and stillness as Jody Sperling described. She is very knowledgeable about the art because she performs it herself. She was even asked to perform at the Library of Congress, which is a huge accomplishment.

Sperling uses certain props and a number of dancers in her version of the art. She showed us a certain video in which the dancers used mirrors and spectacular lights to portray an amazing sense of movement and the flow of choreography and ribboning fabric. Fuller developed a system of lighting that, while effective, was still primitive technology. Sperling has the advantage of using 21st century technology in her art, which elevates it to a new level.

The appreciation for real art is lacking in the world today. So much of the world today is caught up in the mundane reality of the Internet and mindless behaviors. The youth of today is staying in and wasting away on the Internet and other technologies of our age rather than going out and experiencing the world that surrounds them. Hopefully the inspiration that Jody Sperling found with the art of Loie Fuller can be shared with the youth of today to keep art alive in America. Even if people do not particularly get involved in the art of the ‘Serpentine Dance,’ just learning about it can spark an idea. And all Loie Fuller started out with was an idea; and now, she’s a legend.

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