Sans Souci Festival of Dance Cinema,

About Us

Beginnings  Vision  Mission  History  Directors  Founders

With an expansive definition of dance and an appreciation for highly experimental and interdisciplinary forms, this unique festival exposes diverse audiences to a variety of film, video, and performance possibilities.


Sans Souci (meaning "without concern") was conceived one fine spring day in 2003 when Michelle Ellsworth and Brandi Mathis sat on the porch of a 1967 Marlette Mobile home in the Sans Souci Trailer Park in Boulder Colorado musing about the pleasures of viewing and creating dances for the screen. Quickly Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art (BMoCA) and the Our daisy-eating iconUniversity of Colorado at Boulder Department of Theatre and Dance, as well as artists Ana Baer and Hamel Bloom, added their support to transform mere musing into an Festival of Dance Cinema.

What was first envisioned as an informal gathering of local dance video artists screening their works on a white wall in a trailer is now an international festival with submissions from all over the world.


We envision a world where many people are aware of dance cinema and many of them appreciate and enjoy the form. And a world where artists everywhere can get paid for their work, especially the dancers.


Our mission is two-fold.

  1. Attract, educate, and entertain an audience for this form.
  2. Support the artists creating works in this form by providing audiences for their work.

We seek to fulfill our mission in these ways:

  • Support new work that integrates dance with cinematic elements, both experimental and traditional.
  • Encourage an expansive definition of dance and encourage an appreciation for highly experimental and interdisciplinary forms, including mixed-media works that incorporate live performance.
  • Strive to slowly grow the festival each year with higher quality films and a larger, more satisfied audience.
  • Provide a forum for the evolving conversation between dance and cinema - celebrating both and their potential to cross-pollinate.
  • Show work in a professional and stress-free environment.
  • Bring the work of international artists to Boulder, Colorado.
  • Take the work of local artists to an international audience via the Sans Souci Tour.
  • Develop an appreciation and appetite in our audiences for dance-for-camera.
  • Provide support and feedback to our applicants.
  • Snacks – always free snacks at all of our screenings.

History in a Nutshell

With ten years of annual festivals behind us, Sans Souci has exhibited 317 works submitted by about 200 artists from countries all over the world, including: Armenia, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Scotland, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, UK, and USA. Our international tours have brought works to Mexico (2004, 2006 & 2012), Germany (2007 & 2009), Spain (2010), and Trinidad & Tobago (2004).

Highlights & Milestones:

  • 2004 - 1st annual festival at BMoCA. Tour in Mexico.
  • 2005 - 2nd annual festival at BMoCA.
  • 2006 - Fleshed out web site. Tour in Mexico.
  • 2007 - Added online entry & automated assistance for curation. Tour in Germany.
  • 2008 - Tour events in Los Angeles and Texas.
  • 2009 - Brought multimedia performance-artist/dancer from Finland.
  • 2010 - Presented a Scholarly Panel of dance-film artists. Tour in Spain.
  • 2011 - Held multiple screenings at two distinct venues.
  • 2012 - Survived without financial support.
  • 2013 - Screened 5 distinct programs at 3 venues.
  • 2014 - Tour at the Roxy in Missoula MT.
Chart showing number of works submitted and accepted by year


Ana Baer, Artistic Director
Michelle Bernier, Executive Director
Hamel Bloom, Executive Director Emeritus


Michelle Ellsworth, performer extraordinaire, Professor of Dance
Brandi Mathis, curator extraordinaire

We do not discriminate.

Sans Souci Festival of Dance Cinema does not and shall not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation, or military status in any of its activities or operations.