Sara Kathryn Arledge (1911-1998)
Introspection (1946)
1941, 16mm, color, sound, 7 min.
"Disembodied parts of dancers are seen moving freely in black space ... [they] form a moving and rhythmic three dimensional design of semi-abstract shapes." - Lewis Jacobs, "Avant-Garde Production in America," Experiment in the Film, Grey Walls Press, London, 1949

INTROSPECTION was begun in 1941 and was the first abstract dance film made in the United States. Along with Maya Deren's A Study in Choreography for Camera, also made in the mid-'40s, Arledge's film pioneered the genre that came to be known as "cine-dance."

Her psychedelic dance film Introspection (1941-1946) offers a surreal visual experience that abstracts dancers bodies and actions through decidedly low-tech yet ingenious use of costumes, masking, and movement, transforming the human figure into a series of isolated, fragmented limbs in motion. As a filmmaker she created new visual experiences, such as environmental light shows of abstract, hand-painted slide transparencies. Arledge was also a prolific painter, whose psychedelic abstractions feature vivid color and organic shapes, sometimes referencing human, fetal, or animal forms that emphasize the eerie in the mundane and the disorienting passing of time.

"Arledge's loosely-connected technical and aesthetic experiments utilize dance in an effort to portray 'time in art.' The intent was to create a dance that could only be shown on film, a choreography uniquely different from any devised for the stage and one that emerged solely from the film medium." - Terry Cannon