Perhaps the trippiest thing I’ve seen in the arts recently is a performance piece called “Pixel” by the French dance company Adrien M / Claire B., in which dancers interact with digital imagery.
The choreography is a blend between modern dance, ballet and hip hop, and by itself serves as an effective mind-bleep. Check out what happens at the beginning of a number titled “Cinematique.” Two dancers create some serious optical illusions with nothing but their hands, a small glass sphere and extremely innovative choreography.
If they can do that with the bare basics, imagine what happens when they throw computer-generated interactive art into the mix. Apparently, anything at all can happen.
The results appear to defy nature. Dancers hold umbrellas to shield themselves from virtual rainstorms, leap between virtual peaks and valleys, swim through virtual water and back away from a virtual floor collapsing in front of them.
Even without this new technology twist, modern dance can be exciting and limitless in possibility when it’s done well, for example by the likes of renowned Alvin Ailey American Dance Company or Nederlands Dans Theater. Adrien M / Claire B. ups the game by adding the extra element that has you wondering how the dancers stay on their feet at times, with swirling, three-dimensional cyberscapes almost gobbling them up and hurtling around them.
According to Wired, the company uses technology called eMotion that “lets them easily craft virtual scenes that behave with realistic physics.” All good, except it wouldn’t work if the dancers weren’t so skilled and the choreography spot-on.
Unfortunately, if you want to see them live and don’t live in France, there aren’t many upcoming opportunities. Here is their performance schedule (it’s in French, but they’ve got upcoming shows in San Diego and Brooklyn). In the meantime, check out their work on Vimeo and prepare to be dazzled.