Sans Souci Festival of Dance Cinema,

About Us

Beginnings  Vision  Mission  History  Directors  Founders

Sans Souci Festival of Dance Cinema is a dance film festival based in Boulder, Colorado (USA).

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 a festival of dance cinema.

What was first imagined 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 most people are aware of dance cinema and many of them appreciate and enjoy the form. A world where artists everywhere can get their work screened, watched, loved, and hopefully paid for, especially the dancers.


Image by J. Akiyama, live multi-media performance "Wild-er-ness" by WeCreate Productions, featuring Michelle Nance.


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 our contributing artists, including local artists, to a wider national and international audience via the Sans Souci Screening Partners.
  • Develop an appreciation and appetite in our audiences for dance-for-camera.
  • Provide support and feedback to our applicants.
  • Snacks – always free red vines at all of our screenings.

History in a Nutshell

With fifteen 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.
  • 2006 - Launched official web site. First live multi-media performance. Tour in Mexico.
  • 2007 - Began online entries. Tour in Germany.
  • 2008 - Tour events in Los Angeles, CA and Texas.
  • 2009 - Added local venue, Dairy Arts Center. Tour in Germany.
  • 2010 - Premiere at ATLAS Black Box. Featured scholarly panel of dance-filmmakers. Tour in Spain.
  • 2011 - Added local venue, Canyon Theater. Tour in Austin,TX.
  • 2012 - Tour in Mexico.
  • 2013 - Screened 5 distinct programs at 3 venues. Added local venue, Boedecker Cinema.
  • 2014 - Added Screening Partners in Missoula, MT; Austin, TX; and Collegeville, PA. Tour in Guatemala.
  • 2015 - Added Screening Partners in Champaign, IL and Jackson Hole, WY. Tour in Middlesbrough, U.K.
  • 2016 - Tour in United Kingdom and Trinidad & Tobago. Added Screening Partners in Urbana, IL. Added local venues Lousiville Arts Center and Lafayette Public Library.
  • 2017 - Premiere event merged with [UN]W.R.A.P. at University of Colorado at Boulder, featuring live performances by WeCreate Productions and Joy French. Added Screening Partner in San Marcos, TX. Tour in Middlesbrough, U.K.
  • 2018 - 15th Anniversary!! Tour in Roehampton, U.K. Added Screening Partners in San Antonio, TX and Madison, WI. Featured in two regional ACDA conferences. Added local venue Firehouse Arts Center, first to feature touring live performance (Life/Art Dance Ensemble).
  • 2018 - Coming soon... Sans Souci: Brazilian Edition!


Ana Baer, Artistic Director, Vice Chair of Board of Directors
Michelle Bernier, Executive Director, Chair of Board of Directors
Michelle Nance, Member of Board of Directors
Heike Salzer, Secretary of Board of Directors


Michelle Ellsworth, Founder
Brandi Mathis, Founding Curator
David Leserman, a.k.a. "Hamel Bloom", Executive Director Emeritus


Sans Souci staff and friends at Festival Premiere 2018.

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.