WGBH Openvault

Frames of Reference; Dancing on the Edge

License Clip

More material is available from this program at the WGBH Archive. If you are a researcher interested in accessing the collection at WGBH, please email archive_requests@wgbh.org.

Undigitized item: Request Digitization

Untranscribed item: Request Transcription

Frames of Reference
Dancing on the Edge
Series Description

“Frames of Reference” was a series that began circa 1978. Half-hour shows were produced to showcase commissioned and already created works. It was around this time that the focus of the Workshop shifted, to concentrate more heavily on creating works for broadcast. During its time, “Frames of Reference” was the focus of the Workshop’s national arts programming effort. In an attempt to raise funds and foster collaboration, Workshop personnel approached and visited several public television stations nationwide. The major collaborative relationship was with WGBH’s “sister station,” WGBY (Springfield, Mass.). Among the featured artists were Meredith Monk, Remy Charlip, Trisha Brown, and Peter Campus. In 1981, “Frames of Reference” was packaged and offered to PBS, during what is known as “flex time” and was broadcast by WGBH, WNET (New York), and WGBY (Springfield, Mass.). “Frames of Reference” ended as a series ca. 1983, because of a lack of funding. Series release date: 1978

Program Description

A collection of dances created specifically for the medium of video by choreographer Trisha Brown. Video artist Peter Campus served as visual consultant, and a team of WGBH producers (Susan Dowling, Nancy Mason, and Fred Barzyk) collaborated with individuals from WGBY and Bennington College, where most of “Dancing on the Edge” was filmed. The works included are “Opal Loop," “Watermotor for Dancer and Camera," and “Locus/Altered.” “Opal Loop” and “Locus/Altered” are introduced by images of Trisha Brown and company members in a lecture/demonstration at Bennington. All of the works feature repetition of movement and unusual camera and editing techniques.

“Opal Loop": A group work performed by four dancers (Brown, Stephen Petronio, and two women) in diverse, colorful costumes.

“Watermotor for Dancer and Camera”: Peter Campus did the camera work for this work. In the editing, two takes -- one from the front and one from the side -- were slow-motioned and superimposed. The superimposition was done “on the fly,” bringing one or the other take to more prominence as it went along.

“Locus/Altered”: features Brown and three female dancers, dressed in unassuming white costumes, performing this geometry-influenced work, which is shot from unusual vantage points.



Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type


Film and Television
Chicago: “Frames of Reference; Dancing on the Edge,” WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed April 21, 2019, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_13EE3DA408D441DAA46DF39961A5DB9B.
MLA: “Frames of Reference; Dancing on the Edge.” WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. April 21, 2019. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_13EE3DA408D441DAA46DF39961A5DB9B>.
APA: Frames of Reference; Dancing on the Edge. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_13EE3DA408D441DAA46DF39961A5DB9B
If you have more information about this item, we want to know! Please contact us, including the URL.